Amy exploring a section of karst forest in Cape Breton, NS (Photo by NCC)
The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) has been working in Cape Breton since 1971, when Sight Point in the Mabou Highlands became NCC’s first protected area in Atlantic Canada. More recently, in the fall of 2017, NCC announced the protection of 676 acres (274 hectares) of extraordinary habitat in central Cape Breton.
Located in three conservation areas at Marble Mountain, West Lake Ainslie and Ottawa Brook, the properties include diverse Acadian forest, a wetland supporting a provinciallysignificant group of rare plants, and dramatic karst (gypsum-based) landscapes featuring white cliffs, sinkholes and caves. These conservation areas are the first in the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s plan to protect unique habitats and ecosystems in central Cape Breton, in particular the gypsum ecosystems, which are some of the best remaining intact examples in North America of this rare type of habitat.
NCC has acquired these properties strategically to provide wildlife corridors and habitat connectivity to nearby existing provincially protected sites, such as North Mountain Wilderness Area, Cain’s Mountain Wilderness Area and the Black River Bog Nature Reserve. By providing habitat connectivity NCC is helping to maintain biological diversity and reduce the loss of plant and animal species. Three species of birds listed under the federal Species at Risk Act — rusty blackbird, Canada warbler and olive-sided flycatcher — have been identified on these new properties.
These Cape Breton conservation projects were supported through funding from the Government of Canada’s Natural Areas Conservation Program and Ecogift Program. In addition, The Nova Scotia Crown Share Land Legacy Trust, US Fish and Wildlife Service and many private donors also contributed to the success of these projects.