The Nature Conservancy of Canada protects its first property in the Baie des Chaleurs
The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) has announced the protection of its first property on the Baie des Chaleurs.
The 7.4-acre (3-hectare) site is located within the salt marshes (‘barachois’) of Nouvelle River, in the township of Nouvelle in the Gaspé Peninsula.
This natural environment is very important for many bird species, including several species at risk.
The Maritime Ringlet, a rare butterfly that is endangered in Canada and endemic to the Baie des Chaleurs region and Forillon National Park, is found here.
“Securing this property is NCC’s very first conservation project in the region around the Nouvelle River salt marshes. It adds to the 212 acres (86 hectares) of wetlands already protected by the Quebec Society for Wetland Conservation and thus helps consolidate biodiversity conservation in the region,” said Olivier Perrotte Caron, project coordinator at the Nature Conservancy of Canada in Quebec.
“The government of Canada is proud to help strengthen protection of the Baie des Chaleurs. Through the Natural Areas Conservation Program, we contribute to protecting the habitat of several at-risk species, including the Maritime Ringlet, while protecting the region’s important wetlands,” said the Honourable Diane Lebouthillier, MP for Gaspésie—Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine and Minister of National Revenue.
A butterfly found only in Baie des Chaleurs
The Maritime Ringlet is an inconspicuous butterfly, with fragile wings that are easily damaged by the rain and wind. It is highly selective, laying its eggs on a host plant that is exclusively maritime: salt-meadow cord grass.
This butterfly’s habitat is, as a result, very specific, restricted and severely threatened by the encroachment of human activity.
According to the Species at Risk Act, the Maritime Ringlet is endangered. Within the province, the butterfly has been observed only in the salt marshes around the Baie des Chaleurs in Quebec and New Brunswick.
There have also been sightings in the Forillon National Park area, east of the Gaspé Peninsula. The Maritime Ringlet population in the Nouvelle River salt marshes represents the most significant of the species.
Several at-risk species
In addition to the Maritime Ringlet, the Nouvelle River salt marshes also host several at-risk bird species. Among them are the short-eared owl, yellow rail, Barrow’s goldeneye and pelegrin falcon, four species of concern according to the Species at Risk Act.
In addition, the property is a nesting site for Nelson's sharp-tailed sparrow, a small passerine that is found only in North America and is at risk according to Québec’s Act Respecting Threatened or Vulnerable Species.
The Nature Conservancy of Canada offers its heartfelt thanks to the following partners who made protecting these 7.4 acres possible: the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the Government of Canada’s Natural Areas Conservation Program and the Fondation de la faune du Québec.
The Nature Conservancy of Canada is Quebec and 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, including 98,840 acres (40,000 hectares) in Quebec. It is by protecting and managing these natural environments that they can be made accessible to our current generation and those to come. To learn more, visit www.natureconservancy.ca.
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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