PEI Program Manager Julie Vasseur enjoys time in nature at St. Peters Lake Run (Photo by NCC)

PEI Program Manager Julie Vasseur enjoys time in nature at St. Peters Lake Run (Photo by NCC)

Canavoy Area Beaches Natural Area

St. Peters Lake Run, PEI (Photo by NCC)

St. Peters Lake Run, PEI (Photo by NCC)

St. Peters Lake Run

St. Peters Lake Run is located on the northern coastline of Prince Edward Island between Savage Harbour and Greenwich. It is about a 35-minute drive from Charlottetown.

The Nature Conservancy of Canada’s 60-acre (24-hectare) protected area consists of sandy beaches, salt marsh habitat, a large enclosed salt pond and dunes.

The Nature Conservancy of Canada purchased the property from a private land owner in 2005 for conservation.

Ecological significance

NCC is pleased to work in a nationally designated Important Bird Area due to the presence of nesting piping plovers. This endangered bird is limited to approximately 6,000 individuals in the world.

The 12-kilometre stretch of coastline contains five important nesting beaches, which are critical to the survival of this species. Environment Canada has identified the Canavoy/Lakeside/St. Peters Run area as the most important Piping Plover nesting area outside of the Prince Edward Island National Park.

In addition to the beaches, this area contains extensive mudflats and salt marshes.

Species

The area attracts many waterfowl and shorebird species.

The salt pond on the property is habitat for waterfowl such as:

• common merganser
• common goldeneye
• scaup
• Canada geese (in the spring and fall)

On the inside shore there are wide flats where gulls rest and shorebirds feed. Other common wildlife in the area includes:

• osprey
• bald eagle
• red fox
• raccoon

Ecological features

The dunes at St. Peters Lake Run are up to eight metres in height. The backslope of the dunes is vegetated with wild rose and bayberry and the thick and unbroken vegetation makes for a great habitat for black ducks. 

The washover area is quite extensive, meaning that the area changes quite a bit from year to year. The plovers thrive on this instability, including the cobble washover areas.

St. Peters Lake is famous for its sea trout runs, and a boat launch is provided upstream for access to the trout resource. Gaspereaux, eels and mummichogs are found in the lake and there is a small eel fishery.

Threats

St. Peters Lake Run is under high recreational pressure and cottage/resort development is increasing. Human disturbance of piping plover is one of the main causes for their decline. Human presences and garbage left on beaches may increase the numbers of natural enemies of the piping plover.

Blooming Point

The Nature Conservancy of Canada started its work in Prince Edward Island in this community in 1978, when it funded two conservation projects to protect 247 acres (100 hectares).

Blooming Point is located in Queens County, 25 kilometres from Charlottetown.

The properties that are now owned by a partner group (Island Nature Trust) provides habitat for many species of wildlife, including ruffed grouse. It features a high population of passerine birds, small mammals and fur bearers.

Ecological values

The property has a brook, which feeds the pond. Its shoreline provides offers waterfowl nesting habitat and the adjacent pond is a popular fishing area. It is also an area of historical interest, as it was the site for a French fort.

The shallow pond has dense beds of emergent, floating, and submerged aquatic vegetation. Environmental values of the area thus consist of an unusual combination of a large freshwater pond, extensive sand dunes and a wide sand beach adjoining the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

Be part of a natural legacy

The Nature Conservancy of Canada’s staff and volunteers in Prince Edward Island are talking with private land owners in the area who may also share an interest in saving such beautiful habitat for future generations. 

NCC has identified additional locations that are priorities for conservation and is talking with residents about possible land donations and purchases.

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