HomeConserving a Sensitive Marshland For Life

Conserving a Sensitive Marshland For Life

Jun 1 2004

Today the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) announced 24 acres of ecologically important marshland along the Hillsborough River will be protected for its natural values forever.

The property, just east of Mount Stewart, includes both fresh and salt water marsh, as well as some pasture land. It’s part of the Mount Stewart Marsh, which supports some of the rarest salt marsh plants in the province. It is also home to a diverse cross-section of waterfowl and wildlife, including Great Blue Heron, Osprey, several species of duck, and birds of prey such as owls, hawks and eagles. Muskrat, Raccoon, Skunk and Red Fox also live on the property.

Not only does the Mount Stewart Marsh support significant wildlife values, but it also is highly significant from a cultural and historic perspective. The rich soil of the area, which now supports such abundant wildlife, was identified as prime agricultural land by PEI’s first European settlers and the remains of ancient Acadian dyke systems can still be seen today.

"The Nature Conservancy of Canada is pleased to turn over this particular parcel of land because it adds another protected piece to the Mount Stewart marsh, which is a very important feature in the tidal estuary of Hillsborough River," said NCC National Board member Tim Banks.

The province of Prince Edward Island has already protected a large portion of Mount Stewart’s wetlands by designating them as a wildlife management area. Provincial Environment and Energy Minister Jamie Ballem said this gift from the Nature Conservancy of Canada complements the preserve, and congratulated NCC on this Gift to Canadians.

“Environmental protection is a top priority for our government. We welcome this opportunity to work with organizations such as NCC to protect ecologically important areas for future generations,” said Ballem.

NCC’s strength is its ability to form strong partnerships with all levels of government, individuals, corporations, foundations and other NGOs. An important partner in NCC’s work in Mount Stewart and elsewhere is the Eastern Habitat Joint Venture (EHJV). EHJV is a partnership between the federal and provincial governments, non-profit land conservation organizations and the public. The prime objective of EHJV is to secure and protect wetlands and upland buffer zones in order to ensure vital habitats for waterfowl and other wildlife survive and flourish.

The Mount Stewart property is also among the 50 biodiversity hotspots – Canada’s Natural Masterpieces –recently singled out for protection by NCC through a $200-million campaign. The funds raised will support the direct protection of land at the 50 Masterpiece sites, either through purchase, donation or helping landowners to place conservation easements on their properties. They will also help to care for the sites once they are secured. The rich habitats along the Northumberland Strait, particularly the dune systems and salt marshes, are a prime focus for NCC’s work in PEI.

The Nature Conservancy of Canada is a non-profit, non-advocacy organization that takes a business-like approach to land conservation and the preservation of biological diversity. Its plan of action involves partnership-building and entering into creative conservation solutions with any individual, corporation, community group, conservation organization or government body that shares its passion. Since 1962, NCC and its supporters have protected more than 7,300 square kilometres (1.8 million acres) of ecologically significant land nationwide.

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