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OSI & nature conservancy of Canada protect critical wildlife corridor along New Brunswick-Nova Scotia border

HALLS HILL, NEW BRUNSWICK — November 17, 2011 — Using a $50,000 grant from OSI’s Transborder Land Protection Fund, the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) has bolstered its efforts to protect endangered wildlife habitat across two maritime provinces in southeastern Canada. As part of the initiative, NCC has acquired four properties totaling 742 acres (306 hectares) along the Chignecto Isthmus, a narrow land bridge which joins New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

The properties are significant conservation targets because the Chignecto Isthmus serves as the only route for terrestrial wildlife to move in and out of Nova Scotia, and, as such, the parcels play a vital role in maintaining connectivity across the Northern Appalachian – Acadian Eco-region.

The 80-million acre region, which is the focus of OSI’s Transborder fund, supports scores of wildlife while stretching across the United States – Canadian border. OSI’s fund seeks to coordinate conservation efforts on either side of the border.

“The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) recognizes the critical importance of the Chignecto Isthmus for interconnectivity and the long term viability of wildlife populations in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick,” said Linda Stephenson, regional vice president for the Atlantic Region of the Nature Conservancy of Canada. “We are committed to cross-border work in partnership with Environment Canada in an effort to ensure the Chignecto Isthmus remains as an active corridor for wildlife movement.”

Three of the properties (410 acres/166 hectares) are located near Halls Hill, New Brunswick. The fourth (332 acres/134 hectares) is found northeast of Amherst, Nova Scotia. A previous grant from OSI helped NCC conserve 491 acres—also along the Chignecto Isthmus land bridge—in 2010.

“The Nature Conservancy of Canada has taken up the significant task of preserving endangered wildlife habitat along the narrow but extremely important Chignecto Isthmus,” said Peter Howell, OSI’s executive vice president. “This is a sensitive corridor that, if lost, would disrupt wildlife movement for numerous species. Its preservation is critical to the Transborder region and OSI is pleased to lend its support to NCC for this work.”

The Chignecto Isthmus features an extensive system of swamps, lakes, marshes and bogs, and the just-preserved properties help maintain forest and wetland habitat for migratory birds and other species. Species found there include moose and Canadian lynx, along with a variety of bird and mammal species such as bobcat and northern goshawk. The area is also a potential nesting site for American black duck, green-winged teal and wood duck.

Additionally, two rare plants—Halberd-leaved tearthumb and lesser wintergreen—were found on the Nova Scotia property.
 
The conservation of these properties was made possible through NCC’s partnerships with OSI, the Nova Scotia Crown Share Land Legacy Trust and the Canadian federal government.  Canada’s Natural Areas Conservation Program is a $225 million investment to assist non-profit, non-government organizations working to secure ecologically sensitive lands to ensure the conservation of the nation’s diverse ecosystems, wildlife, and habitat. The Nature Conservancy of Canada has been entrusted to lead the program and has committed to raising matching funds for each federal dollar received.
 
“This acquisition marks another achievement under our government's Natural Areas Conservation Program. With this investment, we are taking real action to protect and conserve our ecosystems and sensitive species for present and future generations,” said Environment Canada Minister Peter Kent. “Your actions today will help to protect the abundance and variety of life that will constitute an integral part of our natural heritage tomorrow.”

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