QUEBEC — June 22, 2015 — In a unique transborder land protection effort, two leading conservation organizations have announced the latest of a series of projects aimed at safeguarding wildlife and water quality in Canada and the United States.
With grant support from the Open Space Institute (OSI)’s Transborder Fund—the only private funding source specifically focused on cross-border land protection projects in eastern North America—the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) protected two land tracts in the Northern Appalachians. Lying within the world’s largest broadleaf forest, the lands play a critical regional role in replenishing clean water, safeguarding broad wildlife corridors, and helping ensure plants and animals are more able to adapt to our changing climate.
”We need to work now to conserve the last wild places that remain on both sides of the international divide,” said Peter Howell, OSI Executive Vice President for Conservation Capital Programs. “To the animals that use the lands and waterways of this ecologically connected region, our political boundaries are meaningless.”
Along the US-Canadian border, subdivision, rapid changes in ownership and scattershot development all endanger the forests and threaten to create ecological islands. Over the last six years, with NCC and other partners, OSI has committed $2 million through its Transborder Land Protection Fund toward cross-boundary conservation projects, and is on track to conserve 55,000 acres in Canada and the U.S. by the end of this year.
The Fund was created with the vision and support of the Partridge Foundation to encourage groups and agencies to think outside the box—and beyond their borders—when it comes to investing in the natural world.
One of the Fund’s latest projects is located on the slopes of Mount Burnt, just north of Vermont. Part of a 15,000-acre intact forest, the land is a priority for ensuring that black bear, American martin, river otter and other animals can move between Quebec’s Sutton mountain range and the Green Mountains of northern Vermont. Streams on the 226-acre property flow into the Missisquoi River, an international watershed that encompasses portions of Quebec, Vermont and New York.
The second project lies on the Chignecto Isthmus, the narrow land bridge linking Nova Scotia to New Brunswick and the rest of continental North America. The Isthmus is an internationally recognized corridor for wildlife, including bobcat, bear and endangered Canadian lynx and moose. NCC playfully dubbed the effort to conserve lands on the Isthmus “The Moose Sex Project” because it provides a key connector allowing large mammals to procreate and thrive.
OSI granted $26,000 towards NCC’s $90,000 Chignecto Isthmus project and $56,000 towards the $418,000 Mount Burnt effort. The total acreage protected is 388 acres.
“People on the Isthmus or in southern Quebec may not realize that these local projects are part of larger, significant linkages,” says John Lounds, NCC President and CEO. “Having U.S. organizations like OSI investing in protection of land here helps many people appreciate the bigger picture.”
To date, NCC has protected approximately 70,000 acres of private lands in the Green Mountains and the White Mountains in Quebec, including more than 18,000 acres, with assistance from the OSI Transborder Fund. NCC has also secured about 2,600 acres of private lands on the Chignecto Isthmus, including more than 1,000 acres protected with support from OSI.