Salmonier Nature Reserve, NL (Photo by Piers Evans/ NCC staff)

Salmonier Nature Reserve, NL (Photo by Piers Evans/ NCC staff)

Nature Conservancy of Canada expands upon important wildlife corridor at Salmonier Nature Reserve

September 19, 2023
St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador


Boreal forest, heathland and wetlands within the Avalon Forest Ecoregion now protected

The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) more than doubled the size of its Salmonier Nature Reserve, located an hour’s drive south of St. John’s.

The not-for-profit organization announced today that it has purchased 233 hectares of intact boreal forest, heathland and freshwater wetlands, bringing the total size of the Salmonier Nature Reserve to 410 hectares.

The expansion includes a significant forested area adjacent to Salmonier Arm, a unique and naturally sheltered area rich in biodiversity. The newly conserved land will serve as a natural buffer for the Avalon Wilderness Area and will protect habitat for iconic woodland caribou and other species, such as red fox, snowshoe hare, beaver and Canada lynx. 

Located along the Salmonier Arm and southeastern side of St. Mary’s Bay, the Reserve’s rugged landscape features an upland forest composed of balsam fir, black spruce, white birch and the easternmost population of yellow birch in North America. Exposed heathlands, low-lying shrubs and mosses blanket the highest elevations of the area. The property also includes peat-rich wetlands consisting of lowland bogs and fen habitats. Vulnerable and rare arboreal lichens, found nowhere else in the world, thrive in the moist climate, which is influenced by the nearby ocean and dense fog cover. 

Recent lichen studies on NCC’s Salmonier Nature Reserve have confirmed the presence of boreal felt lichen and blue felt lichen, both of which are species at risk. The dense foggy forest canopy also supports a variety of at-risk birds, including olive-sided flycatcher (threatened), red crossbill (threatened) and short-eared owl (threatened), all of which are listed under Canada’s Species at Risk Act.

This conservation project was made possible thanks to the generosity of local residents, businesses and donors Karin and Peter Tremaine, along with funding from the Government of Canada, through the Natural Heritage Conservation Program, part of Canada’s Nature Fund.   

This announcement highlights how NCC is accelerating the pace of conservation in Canada. In the past two years alone, NCC has influenced the protection of more than 1 million hectares (almost twice the size of Prince Edward Island), coast to coast to coast. Over the next few years, the organization will double its impact by mobilizing Canadians and delivering permanent, large-scale conservation.

In the face of rapid biodiversity loss and climate change, nature is our ally. There is no solution to either without nature conservation. When nature thrives, we all thrive.


“Only by engaging in a whole-of-society approach can we hope to tackle the crises of climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution. By working with partners such as the Nature Conservancy of Canada and private donors, we are helping to protect the natural environment in Newfoundland and Labrador and across the country. Protecting boreal forests and wetlands contributes to the recovery of species at risk, including the Short-Eared Owl and the Olive-Sided Flycatcher. Through programs like the Natural Heritage Conservation Program, the Government of Canada is making progress toward its goal of conserving a quarter of land and water in Canada by 2025, working toward 30 percent of each by 2030.” – The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change

“This is a great win for the protection of the many species, including rare lichen, bats and birds. This expansion is part of a long-term plan to ensure habitat connectivity for wildlife and to maintain the traditional use of the land.” – Piers Evans, NCC Program Director in Newfoundland and Labrador


  • In 2014, NCC conserved its first parcel of land along the mouth of the Salmonier River, and in 2015, it created (or established) the 177-hectare Salmonier Nature Reserve, which today now measure 410 hectares. NCC’s reserve is close to the provincial Salmonier Nature Park and adjacent to the Avalon Wilderness Area.
  • The forest at the Salmonier Nature Reserve is special, as its underlying geology and moist ocean-influenced climate creates habitat for a high diversity of lichens. Lichens are a critical species, indicators of air quality and have many uses, such as medicines, and food and nesting materials for wildlife.

Keep The Rock Rugged

NCC’s Keep The Rock Rugged fundraising campaign, launched in October 2021, aims to expand upon the footprint of existing nature reserves such as the Salmonier Nature Reserve and Grand Codroy Estuary Nature Reserve. The campaign aims to double the number of internships, provide support for more Conservation Volunteers events and conduct important research that will help advance conservation efforts. You can contribute to conservation projects like the Salmonier Nature Reserve, and support science internships and volunteer projects that help keep Newfoundland and Labrador’s natural areas clean and healthy by visiting natureconservancy.ca/keeptherockrugged.


The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is the country’s unifying force for nature. NCC seeks solutions to the twin crises of rapid biodiversity loss and climate change through large-scale, permanent land conservation. As a trusted partner, NCC works with people, communities, businesses and government to protect and care for our country’s most important natural areas. Since 1962, NCC has brought people together to conserve and restore more than 15 million hectares. In Atlantic Canada, NCC has protected 35,970 hectares.

The Government of Canada’s Natural Heritage Conservation Program (NHCP) is a unique partnership that supports the creation and recognition of protected and conserved areas through the acquisition of private land and private interest in land. To date, the Government of Canada has invested more than $440 million in the Program, which has been matched with more than $870 million in contributions raised by Nature Conservancy of Canada, Ducks Unlimited Canada and the country’s land trust community leading to the protection and conservation of more than 700,000 hectares of ecologically sensitive lands.

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Media Contact:

Andrew Herygers
Communications Manager

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