© Andrew Wagstaff - cumberlandnewsnow
Among those on hand in Pugwash for the unveiling of three new Nature Conservancy of Canada properties on July 16 were (from left) NCC Nova Scotia program director Craig Smith, Pictou West MLA Karla MacFarlane, Cumberland-Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley MP Scott Armstrong, John Carabaris and Bonnie Bond from the Friends of the Pugwash Estuary.
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“With the protection of these properties, NCC’s land assembly at Pugwash Estuary takes another step forward as the largest assembly of private conservation lands along the Northumberland Strait,” said Craig Smith, Nova Scotia program director with the NCC. “We have been very pleased to work with landowners from the region who are supportive of our mission and our work to protect the incredible diversity and beauty of the Pugwash Estuary area. We are also pleased to expand the Chignecto Isthmus project, continuing our progress in building a wilderness corridor.”
The NCC now protects 455 hectares (1,124 acres) along the Pugwash Estuary, including 15 km of undeveloped shoreline that is prime habitat for wildlife species such as Canada Goose, Green-winged Teal, American Black Duck, Common Merganser, Bufflehead and Great Blue Heron, thanks in large part to the eelgrass on the muddy bottom of the estuary and the fish it attracts. Twenty-seven species of shorebirds also pass through the region.
The NCC also now owns 1,053 hectares (2,600 acres) in the Chignecto Isthmus to help maintain an ecological link between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick – a project that has gained international headlines as “The Moose Sex Project” – as a crucial protective corridor for many wildlife species such as bobcat, bear, moose and the provincially endangered Canada lynx.
Two of these projects came about through partial property donations to the NCC under the Government of Canada’s Ecological Gifts Program, which provides enhanced tax incentives for individuals or corporations who donate ecologically significant land.
Cumberland-Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley MP Scott Armstrong announced $140,000 of federal funding for the project from the Natural Area Conservation Plan on behalf of Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq.
“We really believe that conserving some of these really ecologically sensitive areas is really good for the economy as well,” said Armstrong. “If you look Pugwash, one of the biggest industries here is the retirement and summer cottage industry. A lot of people come here for tourism, they like to get back to nature.”