Nature Conservancy of Canada conserves land near Amherst for wildlife corridor and endangered Nova Scotia moose
The Nature Conservancy of Canada’s (NCC’s) tongue-in-cheek “Moose Sex Project” continues to grow in impact: three new properties totalling 236.5 acres (95.5 hectares) have been conserved near Amherst, on the Chignecto Isthmus, the narrow land bridge that connects Nova Scotia to New Brunswick.
NCC is protecting the properties as part of its long-term goal to assemble a wilderness corridor on the Chignecto Isthmus for the benefit of wildlife, in particular for Nova Scotia’s mainland moose, listed as endangered under Nova Scotia’s Endangered Species Act.
Nova Scotia’s mainland moose population has declined to an estimated 500 to 1,000 animals, with one of the largest remaining groups living on the Chignecto Isthmus.
At its narrowest point, the Chignecto Isthmus is only 24 kilometres wide. It is a priority area for NCC because it provides the only geographic and ecological connection between Nova Scotia and the rest of North America, a connection that is becoming increasingly fragmented by roads and resource development.
By conserving forests and wetlands on the Isthmus, NCC is protecting the habitat “connectivity” between Nova Scotia’s wildlife and the larger wildlife populations in eastern Canada and the northeastern USA.
NCC’s newest properties border the Chignecto Isthmus Wilderness Area, an existing provincially designated wilderness area, and are located in the centre of a larger wilderness area proposed by the Nova Scotia government. NCC’s properties contain approximately 185 acres (75 hectares) of regenerating and middle-aged mixed forest, as well as 28 acres (11 hectares) of wetlands.
These properties and surrounding area provide habitat for many species of songbirds, waterfowl and migrating birds, as well as for large mammals, such as lynx, bobcat and moose. Conserving intact wilderness on the Isthmus — and the ability for wildlife to migrate from New Brunswick to breed in Nova Scotia — is vital for the health and renewal of many populations, but most critically for the endangered mainland moose.
With these acquisitions near Amherst, NCC has now conserved close to 3,000 acres (1,200 hectares) on the Chignecto Isthmus. Participating in the conservation announcement today were NCC Program Director Craig Smith, Member of Parliament for Cumberland-Colchester, Bill Casey, on behalf of Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada along with Terry Farrell, MLA for Cumberland North.
One of NCC’s new properties was donated through the Canadian government’s Ecological Gifts Program. This program provides enhanced tax incentives for individuals or corporations donating ecologically significant land. The other two properties were conserved with support from the Government of Canada through the Natural Areas Conservation Program and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife under the North American Wetlands Conservation Act. The Nature Conservancy of Canada also wishes to acknowledge and thank the Nova Scotia Crown Share Land Legacy Trust, the Open Space Institute and the Echo Foundation, along with many individual donors to the “Moose Sex Project.”
“From an ecological, conservation and biological perspective, maintaining a connected landscape for large mammals to move freely between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia is incredibly important for the long-term health of wildlife populations, in particular for the endangered mainland moose. The vital habitat along the border is becoming increasingly fragmented by roads, urban development and agriculture, so we are very pleased to be able to conserve these valuable and strategically located properties.”
Craig Smith, Nova Scotia Program Director, Nature Conservancy of Canada
“On behalf of the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada, I want to thank the many donors for making today’s announcement possible. The Government of Canada is proud to support their conservation efforts through the Ecological Gifts Program. Together we are working to protect this important wildlife habitat for generations to come.”
Bill Casey, Member of Parliament for Cumberland ― Colchester, representing the Government of Canada
• The Nature Conservancy of Canada has now finalized nine projects on each side of the Chignecto Isthmus in both New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.
• Declared endangered in 2003 under Nova Scotia’s Endangered Species Act, Nova Scotia’s indigenous moose population is scattered in pockets across the mainland, and is estimated between 500 and 1,000. The same moose species boasts a healthy population of 29,000 in New Brunswick. There are several thousand moose in Cape Breton, but these animals were introduced from Alberta and are not native to Nova Scotia.
• The Chignecto Isthmus is an important staging area for migrating waterfowl. Significant numbers of green-winged teal, black ducks, hooded mergansers, mallards and common mergansers are found here. At the Chignecto National Wildlife Area near Amherst, 228 different bird species have been observed.
• To learn more about the Ecological Gifts Program and how to leave a natural legacy, please visit ec.gc.ca/pde-egp/.
The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is Canada’s leading not-for-profit private land conservation organization, working to protect our most important natural areas and the plants and animals they sustain. Since 1962, NCC has helped to protect 2.8 million acres (more than 1.1 million hectares) across the country. NCC has conserved more than 71,000 acres (28,700 hectares) in the Atlantic provinces, including 34,000 acres (13,700 hectares) in Nova Scotia. For more information, visit natureconservancy.ca/en/where-we-work/nova-scotia/.
The Government of Canada's Natural Areas Conservation Program (NACP) is a unique partnership managed and directed by the Nature Conservancy of Canada. To date, $345 million has been invested in the NACP by the Government of Canada to secure our national heritage. Additionally, more than $500 million in matching contributions has been raised by NCC and its partners.
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