Nature Conservancy of Canada protects Nova Scotia island and habitat for nationally rare salt marsh species on World Wetlands Day
The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is announcing a significant conservation effort in Lobster Bay, Yarmouth County, Nova Scotia. The not-for-profit land trust has conserved a 25-hectare (61-acre) island, Tete a Millie, that contains a plant that is rare in Canada and listed as threatened under the Canadian Species at Risk Act.
NCC’s newly protected island provides important salt marsh habitat for the eastern baccharis (pronounced BACK-are-is), a flowering shrub measuring about 3 metres tall that, in Canada, is found only in Nova Scotia. Approximately 3,000 of these shrubs, the entire Canadian population, can be found in the marshes of Lobster Bay, Nova Scotia. The eastern baccharis is at the northern tip of its range in Nova Scotia, and is more common on the east and southern coasts of the U.S.
NCC’s Lobster Bay island is a drumlin, a rich mound of soil and rocky debris formed thousands of years ago by retreating glaciers. Along with the eastern baccharis, the conservation area supports a mix of black spruce, white spruce, red maple and aspen, and provides valuable salt marsh habitat for shorebirds and waterfowl, such as willet and American black duck.
The Nature Conservancy of Canada purchased the property from John Brett of Halifax, who wanted to see its rare salt marsh plants permanently protected. This conservation project was supported by funding from the Government of Canada through the Natural Areas Conservation Program, the Nova Scotia Crown Share Legacy Trust and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service under the North American Wetlands Conservation Act.
NCC has now completed two conservation projects in the Lobster Bay region, building on work undertaken by the Province of Nova Scotia to establish the Tusket Islands Wilderness Area.
“The Nature Conservancy of Canada wishes to thank land owner John Brett, the Government of Canada, the Nova Scotia Land Legacy Trust, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and our individual donors for helping us conserve this nationally significant salt marsh habitat. NCC is very pleased to be able to have protected this habitat for the eastern baccharis, as part of our ongoing efforts to conserve coastal wilderness on the south shore of Nova Scotia.”
Craig Smith, Nova Scotia Program Director, Nature Conservancy of Canada
“On World Wetlands Day, the Government of Canada is pleased to partner with the Nature Conservancy of Canada through the Natural Areas Conservation Program to once again demonstrate our shared commitment to the protection of wetlands in southwest Nova Scotia. This initiative will benefit the many species of plants and animals that live there and conserve the natural heritage of the area.”
The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change
“I am most gratified, and my late mother and father would also be most gratified, to know that Tete a Millie is now protected for all time by the Nature Conservancy of Canada. Unique to the area is the shrub eastern baccharis, which I first noticed while walking the marshes on the Tete a Millie shore back about 15 years ago. This presence was confirmed by Ray Fielding, author of Shrubs of Nova Scotia. As an amateur naturalist, you can imagine how excited I was: it’s not every day that you come across a large, prominent shrub that turns out to be the only member of its genus to be found in the entire country! And here it was, hiding in plain sight.”
John Brett, former land owner
• Salt marshes are some of the most productive ecosystems in the world and are a major priority for conservation in the Maritimes. An estimated 50 to 60 per cent of the pre-European settlement marshes have been lost to draining or development.
• Canada is a signatory to the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, also called the Ramsar Convention, an intergovernmental treaty that provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources. World Wetlands Day is celebrated every year on February 2 to mark the 1971 adoption of the Convention on Wetlands in Ramsar, Iran; the majority of United Nations’ member states have become contracting parties to the Convention on Wetlands.
• Under the Ramsar Convention, countries designate wetlands of international importance (Ramsar sites). Nova Scotia has three of Canada’s 37 Ramsar sites.
The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is the nation's leading not-for-profit, private 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 1.1 million hectares (2.8 million acres), coast to coast. The Nature Conservancy of Canada has conserved more than 29,000 hectares (74,000 acres) in the Atlantic provinces.
The Government of Canada's Natural Areas Conservation Program (NACP) is a unique public-private partnership to accelerate the pace of land conservation across southern Canada. The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) manages the program. Federal funds are matched by contributions raised by NCC and its partners. Habitat conserved under the NACP enhances natural corridors and other protected areas.
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For more information, visit http://www.natureconservancy.ca/en/where-we-work/nova-scotia/
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