NCC continuing efforts to protect nature

Deana Stokes Sullivan
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As it approaches its 50th anniversary next month, the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) says it's grateful for the support it has received from individuals and groups in Newfoundland and Labrador to protect habitats and wildlife, including species at risk.

"In doing so, we also save our unique natural heritage in perpetuity for our children and grand-children," says Alicia Billard, major gifts officer in with the Nature Conservancy of Canada in this province.

The conservancy, however, is in a race to leverage federal dollars to protect new wilderness areas in Newfoundland and Labrador.  "We have agreements with willing landowners, conditional on funding," said Billard. "However, if we are unable to raise the matching private funds over the next month or so, these conservation opportunities could be lost to development.  These sites provide crucial habitat for wildlife and migratory birds, ducks and the nationally endangered piping plover."

The NCC, a non-profit land conservation group, has worked in 24 different areas across Newfoundland and Labrador helping protect 12,223 areas of ecologically significant wetlands, forest land and coastal areas.  This has been accomplished through land purchases, donations and conservation agreements with willing land owners and working with partners.  

Billard said people in the province have probably already visited some of the NCC's properties to hike, bird watch, take photos, canoe, do geocaching (an outdoor activity in which participants hide and seek containers, called geocaches), plant trees or simply rejuvenate themselves in nature. 

Some of the many NCC properties include:

•    King George IV Ecological Reserve; 4,693 acres;

•    The Grassy Place along Robinson’s River Valley; 3,879 acres;

•    Lloyd’s River Escarpment in central Newfoundland; 2,174 acres;

•    Burnt Cape River Estuary; 864 acres;

•    Grand Codroy River Estuary; 508 acres;

•    Sandy Point Island in western Newfoundland; 68 acres;

•    Lundrigan’s Marsh in St. John’s; 25 acres;

•    Eastern Avalon Peninsula coastline in Maddox Cove; 11 acres.

 Billard said the NCC is thankful to the Government of Canada and its Natural Areas Conservation Program.  During the past five years, it has helped the NCC accelerate the pace of land conservation in Newfoundland and Labrador.  For every dollar provided by Environment Canada, NCC matches it with $2 and sometimes $3 raised from other sources. With charitable contributions, she said, NCC can ensure these natural areas will be safeguarded while maximizing federal dollars in this province.

Billard said more than 88 cents of every dollar raised by NCC goes directly into its projects. 

For more information on NCC’s work in Newfoundland and Labrador, people can call toll free 1-877-231-4400 or email  atlantic@natureconservancy.ca.

The NCC also has a website www. natureconservancy.ca and is on Facebook and Twitter (@NatureConsCDA).

Organizations: NCC, Environment Canada

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, River Valley

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