Stream on Riverside Albert Property (Photo by NCC)
Located in the southeast corner of New Brunswick, between the village of Riverside-Albert and the Caledonia Gorge Provincial Protected Natural Area, is a spectacular old forest protected by the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC). This 326-acre (132-hectare) nature reserve is an excellent example of a diverse Acadian forest. It includes mature red spruce, sugar maple, red maple and yellow birch. The majority of the trees on the NCC nature reserve are more than 80 years old.
NCC prioritized this forest for conservation because it’s so rare. Less than five per cent of mature Acadian forest, the original forest type of the Maritimes, remains intact due to centuries of settlement and harvesting. Old forest in this part of the province provides a haven for wildlife, including two birds listed under the Species at Risk Act: chimney swift (threatened) and eastern wood-pewee (special concern). Provincially rare plants, such as the lesser purple-fringed orchid and Braun’s holly fern, are found on the property. Braun’s holly is one of rich diversity of plant species on the NCC nature reserve.
This conservation project is the result of a remarkable collaboration between NCC and the Village of Riverside-Albert. While searching for old forest to protect, NCC staff discovered water reservoirs on the privately owned property. These reservoirs were providing the water supply for Riverside-Albert’s 300 residents under a 100-year “water lease” that was about to expire. NCC staff met with the landowner, then the village, to work out an arrangement that would benefit everyone. With the help of multiple partners, the land was secured for conservation of both the forest habitat and the Village’s water supply. It was a win-win-win for NCC, the community and nature.
NCC now conserves and cares for the forest. The ownership of the 22 acres (nine hectares) immediately surrounding the reservoirs will be transferred to the Village of Riverside-Albert for conservation and management of the water supply.
Partners in conservation
Conservation of this property was made possible with funding from the Government of Canada, under the Natural Areas Conservation Program (NACP). The New Brunswick Regional Development Corporation, the New Brunswick Wildlife Trust Fund, Crabtree Foundation, McCain Foundation, Chipoudy Communities Revitalization Committee, Shepody Fish & Game, EXP Services, Natural Forces Technologies Inc, Larry and Margo Sheppard, Darrell and Kathy Weir, the Lockhart Foundation and many other private donors also contributed to the success of this conservation project. NCC also gratefully acknowledges a significant donation from an anonymous New Brunswick donor, which helped complete this project.