Contains black ash and buttercups
© Eric Sparling – Amherst Daily News.
Andrew Holland, spokesperson for the Nature Conservancy of Canada, speaks at an event announcing the purchase of more land on the Pugwash Estuary, while Craig Smith (right), Nova Scotia’s program manager, looks on.
PUGWASH – It’s a lot of land. The announcement Tuesday of the purchase of 177 acres by the Nature Conservancy of Canada brings the total protected acres around the Pugwash Estuary to more than 1,100. That acreage includes 15 kilometres of shoreline.
“NCC’s conservation lands at Pugwash Estuary represent one of only two significant protected sites along the entire Northumberland Strait,” according to Craig Smith, the group’s program manager for Nova Scotia.
Smith attended the announcement at the home of Bonnie and John Caraberis, long-time supporters of the conservancy.
Andrew Holland, a spokesperson for the conservancy, wouldn’t confirm the exact price paid for the private sale, but said the total project – land price, surveys, initial scientific appraisal, et cetera – came in under $600,000, with funds contributed by the provincial and federal governments, as well as donors.
Smith said that among Canadian provinces only PEI has more land in private hands than Nova Scotia. The conservancy has preserved about 30,000 acres in the province. He said the estuary’s “relatively undeveloped shoreline” was one of the reasons Pugwash has been a focus of NCC’s efforts.
The shallow waters of the river, even in high tide, allow underwater plants, such as eel grass, to flourish. The habitat is home to fish and invertebrates, as well as providing a food source for fowl, said Smith. He said the region is one of the best examples of Acadian forest in the province, and the “pretty unique little parcel” contains a couple of rare plants: black ash, and just the second site found to have a certain kind of buttercup.
“Our environment has suffered pretty significantly at the hands of economic development,” said the program manager.
His message acknowledged the need for development but also emphasized preservation of the environment – a practice which he said can have economic and social benefits, in addition to preserving the natural world.
Judi Giroux spoke at the event on behalf of MP Scott Armstrong, who was unable to attend the announcement. The federal government contributed approximately a third of the project’s funds, amounting to over $190,000.
“(We’re) really pleased that we’ve been able to get over that thousand-acre hump,” said Smith.