AMHERST – The Nature Conservancy of Canada is well on its way to protecting a vital moose corridor across the Isthmus of Chignecto.
Speaking to members of the Amherst Rotary Club on Monday, the NCC’s Nova Scotia program manager Craig Smith said a habitat corridor is vital to the survival of the Mainland moose in Nova Scotia.
“We believe the Chignecto isthmus is the only real opportunity left to bolster our Nova Scotia endangered Mainland moose population without having to go through the ridiculous act of trucking some moose in,” Smith said. “We’ve been working with our partners in government to secure an intact habitat corridor. The idea is if we secure the habitat now there will be an opportunity for large mammals, like moose and other animals, to move across that landscape.”
A key part of the effort was the much-publicized Moose Sex project that raised money to purchase several pieces of land on both sides of the Nova Scotia-New Brunswick border. Smith said the Nova Scotia campaign raised the money it needed, while work is still proceeding to purchase the land it has identified in New Brunswick.
Smith said the project garnered national and international headlines with stories in the Toronto Star, Time Magazine and the Times newspaper in the United Kingdom. The international exposure has also paid dividends in donations which came from as far as Australia and New Zealand.
Smith said it’s vital to protect the isthmus, adding there’s an abundant moose population in New Brunswick but a serious lack of Mainland moose in Nova Scotia.
On top of that, he said, there are 245 records of 20 provincially rare plant species along the isthmus, various rare wetland types and 59 breeding birds including declining and threatened species.
The isthmus project is just one of several underway in Nova Scotia, with others along the Eastern Shore and the South Shore. The Northumberland Strait project, that includes the shoreline in both Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, also includes work to protect the Pugwash Estuary.
He said the NCC takes a business based and science driven approach to land conservation with its efforts focused on conservation planning, land securement and land stewardship.
“There is a need societally to conserve species and ecosystems on the landscape,” he said. “While government works on the Crown land side, we work on the private land side.”
The organization develops conservation plans that focus on detailing the species, the ecosystems and biodiversity in eco-regions across the continent. From there sensitive lands are identified and work begins to acquire them. After they’re acquired, the NCC manages them.
The NCC also works with communities on its stewardship plans and considers how land is being used and how it can be conserved while being sensitive to community needs at the same time.
To date, there are 25,000 acres protected in Nova Scotia, 50,000 acres in Atlantic Canada and 2.6 million acres across Canada.