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Big Win For Nova Scotia Biodiversity—A St. Mary’s River Legacy

Thanks to the Nova Scotia Nature Trust, there is more good news for nature in Nova Scotia.​ They announced four new protected areas on the St. Mary’s River, extending the ecologically rich corridor of protected lands to over 1300 acres and 21 kilometres of river shoreline. The protected areas are home to spectacular old growth forests, unique Acadian floodplains and endangered wildlife.

The good news is timely in light of devastating global scientific reports in recent weeks highlighting massive global biodiversity loss, increasing threats and impending species extinctions. The crisis is worse than previously forecast, and accelerating at an unprecedented pace. The recent reports highlight habitat loss as one of the worst culprits. Such loss is not just happening in faraway places and impacting exotic species like tigers and pandas. Habitat loss is an issue right here in our own backyard in Nova Scotia.

The Nature Trust is actively working to stem the tide, to reverse habitat loss and to keep Nova Scotia’s wild species from extinction. The organization recently seized an historic land conservation opportunity presented by the Government of Canada’s Nature Fund Quick Start program, launching and successfully achieving an ambitious and inspiring conservation campaign. Through their “Lasting Landscapes” campaign, the Nature Trust protected 17 new conservation sites, encompassing 3,200 acres of biologically rich conservation lands across the province, in just a few months.

Final securement for four of the new protected areas was announced last week, all on the St. Mary’s River, north of Sherbrooke, Guysborough County. Together the new conservation lands add 540 acres to almost 800 acres already protected by the Nature Trust as part of a long-term land assemblage initiative. The sites include a donation of 230 acres by Paul and Marsha Sobey, and purchases of 145 acres and 75 acres on the West Branch, and 85 acres at Crows Nest, near Glenelg.

In all the Nature Trust has secured 12 conservation lands, encompassing over 21 kilometers of pristine river shoreline to date. Combined with surrounding Crown-owned “Corridor Lands” pending formal designation by the Province, the conservation corridor will encompass 9,000 acres, including 50 kilometers of shoreline.

“Recent scientific reports on the alarming and worsening global biodiversity crisis are devastating, so it’s especially inspiring to be sharing news of a major biodiversity win for Nova Scotia today,” noted Nature Trust Executive Director Bonnie Sutherland. She added, “Over 21 kilometers of shoreline and 1300 acres of old growth forests, rich floodplains, wetlands and a diversity of endangered species are now protected, as part of​ an interconnected wild corridor along the river—an incredible richness of biological diversity.”

The new protected areas encompass rare old growth hemlock and hardwood forests, and some of the last, best examples of mature, intact, Acadian floodplain forest left in Nova Scotia. These shoreline forests are a critical element of river health, keeping the rivers cool, clear and fast-flowing for the river’s wildlife including Atlantic Salmon. They harbour vernal pools, streams and stillwaters that create a rich home for diversity of birds, amphibians and other wildlife, including endangered Wood turtles and a rich diversity of birds including species at risk such as Canada Warbler, Olive-sided Flycatcher, Rusty Blackbird, Common Nighthawk, Barn Swallow, and Bobolink.

The project exemplifies what can and must be done to reverse the biodiversity crisis:​ permanent, legal securement of important habitat; focus on biodiversity hotspots and species at greatest risk of extinction; and preserving landscape connectivity and corridors. Such connectivity ensures that wildlife can move safely among and between habitats and that the ecosystems structure, services and functions can be sustained long-term.

“So many people are devastated by news of the global biodiversity crisis and by what they see happening to our landscapes. But there is plenty they can to help. Anyone can volunteer, helping to save biodiversity in a hands-on way. Or they can donate to the charities who are actively protecting biodiversity and preventing habitat loss,” encouraged Bonnie Sutherland, the Nature Trust’s Executive Director.

Information on volunteering or donating to help protect and conserve Nova Scotia’s wild spaces and species can be found online atwww.nsnt.ca or by calling the Nature Trust at (902) 425-5263.

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Source : Media Release

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