Nouvelle River Salt Marsh, Baie des Chaleurs, Gaspe Peninsula (Photo by NCC)

Nouvelle River Salt Marsh, Baie des Chaleurs, Gaspe Peninsula (Photo by NCC)

Baie des Chaleurs: Home to a very rare butterfly

Maritime ringlet (Photo by NCC)

Maritime ringlet (Photo by NCC)

The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is protecting a five-hectare (13-acre) property on the Baie des Chaleurs in the Gaspé Peninsula, thanks to generous owners who have chosen to sell their lands and preserve nature. The last property, acquired in 2020, consolidates NCC's efforts that began in 2016 and expands a high-quality habitat for a very rare butterfly: the maritime ringlet.

A butterfly found only in Baie des Chaleur

This inconspicuous butterfly, whose fragile wings are easily damaged by rain and wind, and whose habitat is compromised by the encroachment of human activity, is threatened in Quebec and endangered in Canada. It lays it eggs on a marine plant populating the salt marshes: salt-meadow cord grass, which is found exclusively around this bay in Quebec and New Brunswick. The maritime ringlet population in the Nouvelle River salt marshes is the largest of the species.

Several at-risk species

In addition to maritime ringlet, the Nouvelle River salt marshes also host several at-risk bird species. Among them are short-eared owl, yellow rail, Barrow’s goldeneye and peregrine falcon, all of which are species of concern according to the Species at Risk Act.

This NCC property is also a nesting site for Nelson's sharp-tailed sparrow, a small passerine found only in North America and is at risk according to Quebec’s Act Respecting Threatened or Vulnerable Species.

Acknowledgements

The conservation of this property was made possible through financial support from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Government of Canada’s Natural Areas Conservation Program and the Fondation de la faune du Québec, the Government of Quebec, through a grant from the Ministère de l'Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques, under the project Partenariat pour les milieux naturels, and Wildlife Habitat Canada. 

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