Pugwash, NS (Photo by NCC)

Pugwash, NS (Photo by NCC)

NCC expands wildlife conservation area near Pugwash

February 11, 2019


Pugwash, NS (February 11, 2019) – An important conservation area in Atlantic Canada for migratory birds is growing. The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) has received a gift of coastal land that expands its Pugwash Estuary Nature Reserve, located in one of the few remaining undeveloped river estuaries on Nova Scotia’s north shore.

Two properties totalling 49 hectares (122 acres) were donated to NCC by Matthew Currie, an American living in Vermont. The donated lands are mainly forested, and border coastal wetlands, which provide important habitat for migratory shorebirds and waterfowl. The donation expands NCC’s Pugwash Estuary Nature Reserve to 504 hectares (1245 acres), one of its largest in Nova Scotia.

The newly conserved properties are located on the eastern arm of Pugwash Estuary, at Docherty’s Brook. The area provides habitat for black bear, deer, porcupine, snowshoe hare, skunk, fox and coyote, along with many species of birds.

The Pugwash Estuary is a critical stopover site for more than two dozen species of migratory shorebirds such as greater yellowlegs, spotted sandpiper and willet. Its extensive salt marshes, beaches and mudflats provide habitat for American black duck, green-winged teal, and Canada goose and Great blue heron. Eastern wood-pewee, a species listed as special concern under Canada’s Species at Risk Act, is also found in the area.

The Pugwash Estuary Nature Reserve is a popular destination for birders and nature lovers and is one of NCC’s “Nature Destinations”.  The Nature Destinations program invites the public to explore some of the greatest examples of our country’s natural areas, from BC’s interior, to the prairie grasslands, to the coastal estuaries in Atlantic Canada. At its Pugwash conservation area NCC maintains a trail for hiking and birding in cooperation with Friends of the Pugwash Estuary.   

Funding for the Pugwash Estuary conservation project was provided by the Government of Canada through the Natural Areas Conservation Program. Additional funding was provided by the Nova Scotia Crown Share Land Legacy Trust, American Friends of Canadian Nature, Nova Scotia Fisherman-Xtreme Skincare, and private donors.


“The Nature Conservancy of Canada would like to thank Matthew Currie for this generous gift. It’s an outstanding wildlife habitat in one of the last remaining untouched estuaries on Nova Scotia’s north shore. We would like to thank our many private donors for their support for this project, along with the Government of Canada through the Natural Areas Conservation Program, the Nova Scotia Crown Share Land Legacy Trust, Nova Scotia Fisherman-Xtreme Skincare and American Friends of Canadian Nature.”

Craig Smith, Nova Scotia Program Director for the Nature Conservancy of Canada  

“The expansion of the Pugwash Estuary Nature Reserve in Nova Scotia will protect important wildlife. On behalf of my colleague, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, I welcome the progress made here today. With partners like the Nature Conservancy of Canada, Matthew Currie, and Canadians throughout the country, we are working to double the amount of protected nature across Canada’s land and oceans.”

Bill Casey, Member of Parliament for Cumberland-Colchester


•    NCC’s Pugwash Estuary nature reserve provides habitat for many species of migratory shorebirds as well as breeding songbirds, such as common yellowthroat, chestnut-sided warbler, American redstart, rose-breasted grosbeak, ruffed grouse, yellow-bellied sapsucker, yellow-rumped warbler, black and white warbler, oven bird, red-breasted nuthatch, ruby-crowned kinglet and pileated woodpecker.  

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 more than 1.1 million hectares (2.8 million acres), coast to coast. The Nature Conservancy of Canada has protected more than 14,500 hectares (36,000 acres) of ecologically significant land in Nova Scotia. To learn more, visit natureconservancy.ca.  

The Government of Canada's Natural Areas Conservation Program (NACP) is a unique public-private partnership to accelerate the pace of land conservation across southern Canada. The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) manages the program. Federal funds are matched by contributions raised by NCC and its partners. Habitat conserved under the NACP enhances natural corridors and other protected areas.

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Media Contact:

Kathryn Morse
Director of Communications - Atlantic Provinces

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