Nature Conservancy launching fundraising campaign to buy P.E.I. lands

Colin MacLean
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EGMONT BAY– The Nature Conservancy of Canada is launching a fundraising campaign in the hopes of preserving several properties on P.E.I.

The Nature Conservancy of Canada now owns nearly half of the Conway Sandhills along western Prince Edward Island’s north coast. The Conservancy is now fundraising to buy additional lands elsewhere on P.E.I. File photo

The Conservancy is interested in acquiring lands in the Blooming Point – St. Peter’s Harbour areas – some of which have already been donated by local owners.

It is also negotiating with landowners in the Percival River area, near Egmont Bay, to buy land there that is already close to some of its preserved land.

Julie Vasseur, program manager for the Conservancy, said in a press release that these lands are rich in cultural and ecological significance.

“There are families who have owned land in the area for almost 200 years. Today a stretch of beach between Blooming Point and St. Peter’s Harbour is a favorite with locals and visitors,” said Vasseur.

“This is one of PEI’s most popular beaches. However, the frequent use has tramped down the seas of marram grass whose roots hold the dunes together and prevent further erosion in the ecosystem”.

To help protect these two new sites, which total 118 acres, NCC needs to raise $180,000 from the private sector.  The funds are required to purchase lands and undertake preliminary science work such as biological inventories, appraisals, land surveys and a stewardship endowment which ensures the natural values of these properties will be protected.

Vasseur also said the site is popular with other species than just humans.  The coast, dunes and surrounding wetlands provide crucial habitat to shorebirds. The nationally endangered piping plover also use the area for nesting, which is of particular note, because there are just 6,000 of these birds remaining in the world.

Other species who call the area home include semipalmated plovers, greater yellowlegs, black-bellied plover, ruddy turnstone, semipalmated sandpipers and sanderlings as they used the sandy beach for feeding during migration. 

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