Salmonier River, Avalon Peninsula, NL (Photo by Mike Dembeck)

Salmonier River, Avalon Peninsula, NL (Photo by Mike Dembeck)

Salmonier River site protected to help wild Atlantic salmon, rare lichen

June 23, 2015
St. John's, NL


Nature Conservancy of Canada finalizes purchase on the Avalon Peninsula

Key habitat that supports wild Atlantic salmon and unique forest lichen has been acquired for protection by the Nature Conservancy of Canada.

The not-for-profit land conservation organization has purchased 158 acres (64 hectares) along the Salmonier River on the Avalon Peninsula in Newfoundland and Labrador.

The property is located near the community of Mount Carmel-Mitchells Brook-St. Catherines. Key natural features include intact boreal forest and freshwater habitat.

The Salmonier River is a provincially designated salmon river, supporting the threatened South Newfoundland population of Atlantic salmon.  It is one of the few remaining locations with untouched forest on the Avalon Peninsula, providing a buffer for both the Salmonier River and important woodland caribou grounds.

The site also has both rare boreal and blue felt lichen and plants. 

The announcement was made today at a media conference involving Nature Conservancy of Canada staff and volunteers, along with funding partners representing TD Forests and Bishops College, which has made a legacy donation from students as the school closes. 

The Nature Conservancy of Canada wishes to recognize the Government of Canada’s Natural Areas Conservation Program for its contribution to this important project in the Salmonier River area.


“In addition to protecting wild Atlantic salmon, some of the lichens found on this property are rare or critically imperiled on a global scale,” said Megan Lafferty, Nature Conservancy of Canada Program Director for Newfoundland and Labrador. “Thanks to our funding partners for supporting this milestone project. It has proven to be a catalyst as we now have two additional sites we are working to purchase, helping protect a unique natural landscape in this region.”

“Our Government is committed to preserving Canada's long-term prosperity by conserving and restoring our lands and waters, and connecting Canadians to our natural and unique spaces,” said Senator David Wells. “This important investment highlights our commitments announced in the National Conservation Plan.”

“Forests form the backdrop of our communities, where we live, work and play – and they perform an essential role in cleaning the air and moderating temperatures,” said Karen Clarke-Whistler, Chief Environment Officer, TD. "Since 2012, TD Forests has worked with the Nature Conservancy of Canada to help protect nearly 33,000 acres of critical North American forest – from Douglas-fir forest in BC to this key site in eastern Newfoundland and Labrador along the Salmonier River, which we're celebrating today."

"Bishops College students, staff and school community feel that as we close the door in June 2015 - with 56 years behind us as an educational institution, it is very fitting to leave a permanent legacy by helping the Nature Conservancy of Canada protect and secure a very special part of our province that will live on forever," said Bridget Ricketts, school principal of Bishops College.


• The Salmonier River site is found within the Fog Forest Natural Area (FFNA), which contains the most easterly forest in North America, as well as substantial tracts of coastal and interior heathland.
• As a result of the collision of the cold Labrador Current and the warm Gulf Stream immediately off shore, the FFNA is subject to one of the highest fog frequencies in Canada.  Combined with consistently high winds, this results in an exceptionally high diversity of arboreal lichens including the rare boreal felt lichen.
• FFNA is also home to the most southerly herd of woodland caribou in North America and supports millions of nesting and migrating seabirds, shorebirds and waterfowl.


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 2.7 million acres (1.1 million hectares), coast to coast. In Newfoundland and Labrador, NCC has protected 13,023 acres (5,270 hectares) of ecologically significant forests, wetlands and coastal areas for permanent conservation.

This project was funded as part of the Government of Canada’s National Conservation Plan. The Natural Areas Conservation Program (NACP) is a unique public-private partnership led and managed by the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC). To date, $345 million has been invested in the NACP by the Government of Canada, with more than $400 million in matching contributions raised by NCC and its partners to secure our natural heritage. This includes $100 million announced in May 2014 under the National Conservation Plan to continue this program.

TD Bank Group’s five-year contribution is the largest corporate commitment to NCC in the conservation organization’s more than 50-year history. With support from the TD Forests program, NCC will increase the amount of forested lands protected and cared for across Canada.

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