Mike's Islands, Musquodoboit Harbour, NS (Photo by NCC)

Mike's Islands, Musquodoboit Harbour, NS (Photo by NCC)

Mike’s Islands conserved by Nature Conservancy of Canada

December 10, 2012


Family donates five islands in memory of grandfather

The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) has conserved five off-shore islands in the upper reaches of Musquodoboit Harbour in the Halifax Regional Municipality.  

NCC today announced it has protected the 39-acres (16-hectares). The protected area is being named after Captain Mike Williams and his wife Ellen Williams as per their family’s wish. The property was donated in memory of their late grandfather, Mike, a master mariner who raced schooners and was a deep-sea captain.

Mike’s Islands are within the Musquodoboit Harbour and Outer Estuary Ramsar site. The area provides critical habitat for migratory waterfowl including American black duck and common merganser, and for shorebirds including the semipalmated sandpiper and lesser yellowlegs. The area has also been known for its salmon runs.

Part of an Important Bird Area, the Ramsar site encompasses the Martinique Game Sanctuary and Martinique Provincial Park which provide important feeding and breeding habitat for the nationally endangered piping plover. 

The Nature Conservancy of Canada has now conserved ten islands totalling 1,350 acres (546 hectares) within the Musquodoboit Harbour Ramsar site. The other islands are Francis Nose Island, Gunners Island, Cheticumchec Island, Bayers Island and Goose Point Island.

The Mike’s Islands project was completed thanks to generous funding contributions from the Government of Canada’s Natural Areas Conservation Program, the Nova Scotia Crown Share Land Legacy Trust, as well as donations from Sobey’s, Exxon and Mountain Equipment Co-op.


“These uninhabited islands are stunning and have high ecological value,” said Craig Smith, Nova Scotia Program Manager with the Nature Conservancy of Canada. “We’re delighted to receive this ecological gift from the Williams family and to be protecting the beauty of these islands for future generations.”

“These islands look remarkable on a sunny day. It is so beautiful and a reminder of our family forebearers,” said Byrne Williams, one of the grandchildren. “We wanted it kept in its natural state and have it as legacy for the Williams family. Our grandparents did a great job dealing with life. Hopefully this land donation will encourage others to do the same with the Nature Conservancy of Canada in the remaining areas”.

“This landmark project marks another achievement under our government's Natural Areas Conservation Program,” said Environment Canada Minister Peter Kent. “With this investment, we are taking real action to protect and conserve our country’s ecosystems for present and future generations.”

“Protection of Mike's Islands is an exemplary success story of private conservation. The Islands make an important contribution to ecologically significant private land protection and help meet  environmental sustainability goals,” said Karen Beazley, Chair of the Nova Scotia Crown Share Land Legacy Trust. “These islands represent a lasting legacy for future generations of Nova Scotians and Canadians, a precious gift from Captain Mike and Ellen Williams and their family.”

About the partners

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 25,340 acres (10,255 hectares) in Nova Scotia. For more information visit: www.natureconservancy.ca/ns.

The Government of Canada’s Natural Areas Conservation Program is a $225 million investment to assist non-profit, non-government organizations to secure ecologically sensitive lands to ensure the conservation of our diverse ecosystems, wildlife, and habitat. The Nature Conservancy of Canada has been entrusted to lead the program and has committed to raising matching funds for each federal dollar received.

The Nova Scotia Crown Share Land Legacy Trust is a $23.4-million arm's-length trust fund established by the Government of Nova Scotia in 2008 to assist non-governmental conservation organizations acquire and protect some of the Province's most ecologically significant natural areas.  

Ramsar is the name for the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance adopted in 1971 in the Iranian city of Ramsar.  For more information visit: www.ramsar.org

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