NCC Protects Tenth Sandy Point Property in Newfoundland
The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) today announced it has successfully conserved 13 acres (5.26 hectares) of ecologically significant land on Sandy Point Island in St. George’s Bay, Newfoundland.
This private land purchase marks NCC’s tenth land acquisition on Sandy Point, bringing the total of conserved land in the area to over 80 acres since 2004.
Sandy Point is located in south western Newfoundland and is the largest barrier beach in the province. The Island contains much history. Once the largest human settlement on the west coast of Newfoundland, Sandy Point has been abandoned since the 1960’s. With accessibility only by boat from the nearby town of St. George’s, Sandy Point receives visitors each summer.
“Sandy Point Beach is rich with natural beauty and ecological value,” said Nature Conservancy of Canada’s Newfoundland and Labrador Program Manager Lanna Campbell. “With key natural features such as ponds used by a variety of waterfowl and 200 metres of sandy beach, this property is a priority for protection.”
Sandy beaches, which occur on less than five percent of the Newfoundland coastline, provide critical habitat for endangered piping plovers. Census data reveals there are just approximately 6,000 remaining in the world. 2011 was the last international breeding census for piping plovers, which happens every five years. The numbers for the Eastern Canada population, 442 adults, were the lowest since the survey started in 1991, and a decrease of 12% since 2006.
Although this new property has yet to host the endangered shorebird, nearby areas on the island are known to each year. The piping plover, is a small shorebird that uses coastal sand and gravel beaches for nesting and feeding habitat. The property also contains several of the 11 rare plants found on Sandy Point.
“We hope to continue conserving land in the area for years to come,” added Campbell. “Additional acquisitions will depend on landowner willingness and, more importantly, clear title.”
The Nature Conservancy of Canada wishes to acknowledge the United States Fish and Wildlife Service through the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA), for their financial support of this project.
- Situated 35 kilometres south of Stephenville, Sandy Point is uninhabited and renowned for its tidal flats and pristine beaches. It provides an important undisturbed breeding habitat for migratory birds.
- sanctuary for over 100 species of shorebirds and waterfowl, including endangered piping plover;
- home to semipalmated plovers, both Arctic and common terns and the willets;
- supports some of the highest numbers of migrating shorebirds ever recorded in Newfoundland and Labrador;
- features a rare and unusual habitat, including the largest Spartina salt marsh and one of the largest eel-grass beds in the province
- home to 11 rare plant species including seabeach sedge, saltmarsh rush, seaside lavender and saltwater cordgrass.
The Nature Conservancy of Canada is the nation’s leading land conservation organization, working to protect our most important natural areas and the species they sustain. Since 1962 NCC and its partners have helped to protect more than 2.6 million acres (over 1 million hectares), coast to coast. The Nature Conservancy of Canada has conserved 12,263 acres (4,963 hectares) in Newfoundland and Labrador. For further information visit: www.NatureConservancy.ca/NL.
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