Rare forest in Albert County saved for wildlife
Project helps protect habitat and community’s water supply
The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) has expanded a key nature reserve in southern New Brunswick. The not-for-profit group has purchased another 69.5 hectares (147 acres) of rare and mature Acadian forest, near Riverside-Albert. Two thirds of the newly protected forest is made up of trees more than 80 years old. Had it not been conserved, the forest was in danger of being lost to logging due to its high timber value.
Known as “Acadian forest,” the Maritimes’ native forest has been heavily harvested, and less than five per cent of older forest remains intact, making it a natural treasure and priority for conservation. With the help of its partners and supporters, NCC purchased the forested land to conserve habitat for wildlife, in particular the many species of birds that depend on the rich diversity of plants and food sources found in older Acadian forests. The area also provides habitat for eastern wood-pewee, designated as a species of special concern under Canada’s Species at Risk Act, along with many other types of wildlife.
In addition to protecting the forest for habitat, NCC acquired the land to help protect drinking water reservoirs for nearby Riverside-Albert. NCC’s nature reserve conserves forest around sections of Arabian Vault Brook, upstream of Riverside-Albert’s reservoirs, protecting the wellfield and both the quality and quantity of the water supply for the community’s 400 residents.
The newly protected forest features large tracts of older sugar maple, red maple, yellow birch and red spruce, some of the more than 40 tree species that make up the original Acadian forest.
This acquisition expands the size of NCC’s existing Caledonia Gorge Nature Reserve, established in 2018, to 191 hectares (473 acres). Due to its proximity to Caledonia Gorge Provincial Natural Area, NCC’s expanded nature reserve creates a wider corridor of connected, conserved wildlife habitat in Albert County. NCC is continuing to work with partners and local landowners to conserve additional old forest within this watershed and the Caledonia Gorge area.
This conservation project was made possible by the Government of Canada through the Natural Heritage Conservation Program, part of Canada’s Nature Fund. The project was also supported by the Province of New Brunswick (RDC), New Brunswick Wildlife Trust Fund, Shepody Fish and Game Association, Hewitt Foundation, Lockhart Foundation, American Friends of Canadian Nature and many private donors.
“We are thrilled to have expanded this extraordinary nature reserve, and protected one of the last remaining older Acadian forests in the Maritimes. It’s a beautiful and unique home to a huge diversity of plants and wildlife. We would like to thank our supporters and our partners for making this conservation project possible. By helping us purchase the land, together we have created a win for wildlife, for the forest, and for the people of Riverside-Albert.” - Denise Roy, Conservation Representative, Nature Conservancy of Canada
“We are very pleased to have worked once again with the Nature Conservancy of Canada on this important conservation project, which will have great benefits for the residents of our village. Thanks to our partnership with NCC, Riverside-Albert is securing the necessary quantity and quality of drinking water for our residents for decades to come.” - Jim Campbell, Mayor of Riverside-Albert
“The expansion of this nature reserve is great news, especially for the community of Riverside-Albert. Our government is pleased to have been a supporting partner in this effort, and is committed to protecting and conserving freshwater, forests and other wild spaces for future generations. We understand the importance of long-term conservation and are more than doubling the current amount of the province’s protected and conserved land and freshwater. Conserving natural areas is an important part of an overall approach to meeting forest and land management objectives.” - Honourable Mike Holland, Minister of Natural Resources and Energy Development
“The expansion of the Caledonia Gorge Nature Reserve not only conserves important forest habitat for wildlife, but also helps to protect drinking water for Riverside-Albert’s residents. We are proud to support the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s expansion of this area through the Canada Nature Fund’s Natural Heritage Conservation Program. By preserving this Acadian forest habitat, we are making progress toward conserving 25 percent of Canada’s land and 25 percent of Canada’s oceans by 2025, and working toward 30 percent of each by 2030.” - Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change
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 14 million hectares (35 million acres), coast to coast to coast. To learn more, visit natureconservancy.ca.
The Government of Canada’s Natural Heritage Conservation Program (NHCP) is a unique public-private partnership to support new protected and conserved areas by securing private lands and private interests in lands. The program is managed by the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC). Federal funds invested in the program are matched with contributions raised by NCC and its partners, Ducks Unlimited Canada and the country’s land trust community.
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