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Two grants from OSI's Transborder Land Protection Fund cross the border

New York, NY — June 22, 2010 — Using two grants from OSI’s Transborder Land Protection Fund, The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) has protected almost 1,200 acres of natural habitat—in Baie Verte, along the Chignecto Isthmus, the “land bridge” that connects the provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, and in the Green Mountain range, just north of the Vermont border.

The coastal (Baie Verte) property acquired by NCC represents one of the largest remaining undeveloped properties along the southern reaches of the Northumberland Straight, making it critical habitat for protection. The area’s expansive salt marshes, eel grass beds, tidal creeks and mixed forests are homelands for numerous species of birds and larger mammals such as black bear and moose. A section of the Chignecto Isthmus, the property forms part of the narrow but ecologically important link connecting Nova Scotia to the rest of Canada and permitting wildlife movement between the two provinces.

The newly-protected property was one of 10 “Gifts to Canadians” announced June 22 to honor the country’s 143rd birthday. OSI supported projects in the Chignecto Isthmus, including the Baie Verte property, through a $90,000 grant from the Transborder Fund.

If not protected, the mature forest, freshwater wetlands, salt marsh, dunes, beaches and wooded islands would most likely be subdivided and developed for second homes.

“Today is a very special day as we celebrate the protection of one of Canada’s most sensitive areas,” said Linda Stephenson, regional vice president for the Atlantic Region of NCC. “The almost 160-acre property with sand dunes, mature forest, wetlands and beaches is now safeguarded forever as a symbolic gift to all Canadians. Being one of the last remaining undeveloped properties along New Brunswick’s Northumberland Straight, NCC couldn’t have achieved this significant feat without the generous support of all of our partners.”

In June of 2009, the Open Space Institute launched the $1 million Transborder Land Protection Fund, which, together with Two Countries, One Forest and other partners, aims to unify land protection efforts on both sides of the international border, creating alliances that strengthen the forest connectivity that is vital to local economies and the biodiversity of this globally unique region.

The other NCC effort, which received a $100,000 Transborder grant, protects two properties totaling more than 1,000 acres in the town of Sutton, in the northern Green Mountains.

NCC has already protected 17,000 acres in the region, which has become a model for Transborder cooperation and is an essential wildlife corridor from Vermont into Quebec for more than 50 different at-risk species.

The area contains large blocks of forestland, ravines, summits and steep slopes that make it both unique and ecologically important. Despite the economic climate, this area has remained a popular market for vacation homes on waterfront and mountaintop properties. Nature Conservancy Canada, and its partner organizations The Trust for Public Land and Appalachian Corridor Association, have worked extensively with local constituencies to protect land on both sides of the international border, creating significant conservation connectivity.

OSI’s grant will complement those conservation successes.

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