Nature Conservancy of Canada protects rich salt marsh and valuable West Prince forest on Enmore River
The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is announcing the conservation of a significant salt marsh and forest habitat along the Enmore River, west of Summerside.
The 22-hectare (55-acre) property on the shore of Egmont Bay features a large, undisturbed salt marsh estuary, an important habitat for many species of birds.
It also contains a diverse forest of red maple, birch, aspen and black spruce, along with trees rare to the Island, such as black ash and eastern white cedar, which are habitat for red fox, ruffed grouse and snowshoe hare.
Including this new property, NCC has now conserved close to 160 hectares (400 acres) in the Egmont Bay area, around the Percival and Enmore Rivers. The area is a conservation priority for NCC and its partners because it falls within one of only two largely forested habitat corridors remaining on Prince Edward Island (the other is in eastern PEI).
The West Prince corridor runs from Egmont Bay and the Enmore and Percival rivers in the south, to Conway Sandhills in the north. Conserving ecological “connectivity” is considered to be one of the key factors for maintaining biological diversity as many species often need larger areas of connected habitat to maintain healthy populations.
The Enmore River property and the Egmont Bay region as a whole provide valuable habitat for songbirds as well as American black duck, Canada goose, common goldeneye and many other species of migratory birds. Because more than 60 per cent of salt marshes in the Maritimes have been lost since the 1700s due to draining or development, protecting the remaining salt marshes is vital for the long-term viability of many species.
Along with providing important habitat, salt marshes also provide a crucial buffer for communities against flooding and storm events.
Purchase of this property was made possible with the financial support of the Government of Canada’s Natural Areas Conservation Program and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service through the North American Wetlands Conservation Act. Individual donors also supported the project.
“The Nature Conservancy of Canada wishes to thank the Government of Canada and our many supporters for helping us conserve this valuable wildlife habitat. The forest and salt marsh along the Enmore River are some of the most wild and undisturbed habitats on PEI, and we are very pleased to be able to conserve this property.”
Julie Vasseur, PEI Program Director, Nature Conservancy of Canada
“On behalf of the Hon. Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, I want to express our appreciation to the Nature Conservancy of Canada and its many donors for their ongoing work to protect important migratory waterfowl habitat here in PEI. The Government of Canada is proud to support their habitat conservation efforts through the Natural Areas Conservation Program. Working together, we will conserve the natural beauty of this area for generations to come.”
Bobby Morrissey, Member of Parliament for Egmont
• The most comprehensive report of its kind, State of North America’s Birds 2016 was released last spring in Ottawa and Washington. It sounded the alarm that a full one-third of bird species in Canada, the U.S. and Mexico are now of “major conservation concern.” Loss of habitat is one of the key reasons for the decline in bird populations. For more information and to read the full report, visit stateofthebirds.org/2016/.
• Some of the funding for this conservation project was provided by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service under the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, a U.S. Act passed by the United States Congress in 1989 to conserve North American wetland ecosystems and waterfowl. For more information, visit fws.gov/birds/grants/north-american-wetland-conservation-act.php.
The Nature Conservancy of Canada is the nation's leading land conservation organization, working to protect our most important natural areas and the plants and animals they sustain. Since 1962, NCC and its partners have helped to protect 2.8 million acres (more than 1.1 million hectares) across the country. The Nature Conservancy of Canada has conserved more than 71,000 acres (more than 28,700 hectares) in the Atlantic provinces.
The Government of Canada's Natural Areas Conservation Program (NACP) is a unique public-private partnership led and managed by the Nature Conservancy of Canada. To date, the Government of Canada has invested $345 million in the NACP to ensure the conservation of our natural heritage. Additionally, NCC and its partners have raised more than $500 million in matching contributions to invest in the program.
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