AMHERST, NOVA SCOTIA (March 2, 2017)—The Open Space Institute’s Transborder Land Protection Fund was instrumental in allowing The Nature Conservancy of Canada’s (NCC’s) tongue-in-cheek “Moose Sex Project” to expand and grow in impact. With funding from OSI, and other conservation partners, NCC conserved three new properties totaling 236.5 acres near Amherst, on the Chignecto Isthmus, the narrow land bridge that connects Nova Scotia to New Brunswick.
The announcement is part of a larger, long-term conservation effort aimed at protecting a wilderness corridor on the Chignecto Isthmus for the benefit of wildlife, in particular for Nova Scotia’s mainland moose, listed as Endangered under Nova Scotia’s Endangered Species Act. Nova Scotia’s moose population has declined to an estimated 500 to 1,000 animals, with one of the largest remaining groups living on the Chignecto Isthmus.
At its narrowest point, the Chignecto Isthmus is only 15 miles wide. It is a priority area for conservation because it provides the only geographic connection between Nova Scotia and the rest of North America, a connection that is becoming increasingly fragmented by roads and resource development.
By conserving forests and wetlands on the Isthmus, NCC is protecting the habitat “connectivity” between Nova Scotia’s wildlife and the larger wildlife populations in eastern Canada and the northeastern USA.
“We need to work now to conserve the last wild places remaining on both sides of this divide,” said Jennifer Melville, OSI’s Vice President for Grants and Loans who manages the Transborder fund. “NCC’s is doing critically important work to make sure the majestic moose and other species stay around for generations to come.”
Through its Transborder Fund, OSI has invested $250,000 through six grants to conserve 1,447 acres of critical wildlife connections across the Chignecto Isthmus. With support from the Partridge Foundation, OSI 's $3 million Transborder Land Protection Fund supports conservation in the Northern Appalachians, which stretches from the Adirondacks in New York State to Quebec's Gaspe Peninsula.
The Transborder Land Protection Fund is the first of its kind, as it specifically targets the eastern Canadian/U.S. transborder region while working closely on the ground with local organizations critically aware of the need to link core protected areas.
“The Transborder Fund is a logical extension of OSI’s work in the Northern Forest of New England and New York and we are thankful to have partners and funders who recognize the importance of thinking beyond national boundaries to conserve the ecological integrity of the region,” explained Melville.
These properties and surrounding area provide habitat for many species of songbirds, waterfowl and migrating birds, as well as for large mammals, such as lynx, bobcat and moose. Conserving intact wilderness on the Isthmus — and the ability for wildlife to migrate from Nova Scotia to breed in New Brunswick— is vital for the health and renewal of many populations, but most critically for the moose.