Nick Hawkins

New Brunswick

Number of projects: 9

Land value: Land value is the appraised value of land that NCC has conserved directly and with partners. $848,100

Acres conserved: 1,584

Stewardship volunteers: 218

Celebrating collaborative community-based conservation

Mike Dembeck

The spectacular Musquash Estuary Nature Reserve, just 15 minutes from Saint John, surrounds one of the last remaining fully functioning river estuaries on the Bay of Fundy.

The Musquash area is not only a significant habitat for mammals and birds, its extensive estuary and marshes provide important habitat for fish and other marine species. In 2006, the Musquash Estuary became New Brunswick’s first federal Marine Protected Area and, at the time of its designation, only the sixth in Canada.

In July 2016, Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) staff, local community members, conservation groups and municipal, provincial and federal government representatives gathered to mark the 10th anniversary of the designation of the Marine Protected Area at the Musquash Estuary. It was not only a celebration of a conservation first for the province — it was a celebration of the community collaborations that made it happen.

NCC began working at Musquash in 2000, and in the past year received two significant new donations of land in memory of local residents Andrew (Andy) Simpson and Mabel and Albert Fitz-Randolph, making this nature reserve NCC’s largest in Atlantic Canada. 

To date, NCC has protected more than 5,000 acres (2,000 hectares) of unspoiled marshes, coastal forests and cobble beaches surrounding the estuary, and the rivers and lakes upstream are protected by the Province of New Brunswick — meaning that conservation measures are in place for the Musquash Estuary from its headwaters to the sea.

Taking stock of fresh water

Mike Dembeck

Just as a coastal red spruce forest is different from a sugar maple–yellow birch forest, not all rivers and streams are alike. In fact, surprisingly little is known about the differences between freshwater ecosystems across broad regions, including in Eastern Canada and the Atlantic Region. 

But thanks to funding from a number of partners, NCC staff have begun developing a conservation planning tool to guide the conservation and management of freshwater resources in the Canadian Northern Appalachian-Acadian ecoregion (which spans eastern Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island). The goal of the ambitious three-year project is to first provide an overall classification of the region’s lakes, streams and rivers. This phase of the project will be guided by a core team of freshwater experts and verified with existing biological data.

By highlighting the extent and distribution of aquatic ecosystems in the region, NCC and its partner organizations will finally have access to an interprovincial and international aquatic dataset (from Maine to Virginia), which will help guide priorities for protection or restoration.

Partners in this project include:

  • Eco Canada
  • North Atlantic Landscape Conservation Co-operative (U.S.)
  • Salamander Foundation
  • The Nature Conservancy (U.S.)
  • Wildlife Conservation Society
  • World Wildlife Fund Canada

Important habitat secured for Grand Manan’s birds

Nick Hawkins

Visited by ornithologist John James Audubon in the 1830s, New Brunswick’s Grand Manan has long been recognized as a critical breeding, wintering and migratory stopover site for a wide range of birds, including razorbill, common murre, American black duck, sanderling, purple sandpiper, bufflehead, Canada geese, ring-necked duck, northern pintail, American wigeon, common eider and North American brant.

Thanks to the generosity of two New Brunswick families who entrusted their land to NCC, 319 acres (129 hectares) of valuable habitat on the southeast coast of Grand Manan has been protected. Arlene Small donated land in memory of her parents, Hartford and Bessie Ingalls, and Earl Brewer and Sandy Kitchen made a partial donation in memory of Wayne B. Kitchen.

This NCC nature reserve is located inside a designated migratory bird sanctuary; however, this designation did not protect the habitat from development, making this area a high priority for conservation.

NCC’s Grand Manan Migratory Bird Sanctuary Nature Reserve includes mature coastal forest, a large freshwater pond and a 500-metre coastline with a sand and gravel beach. It is accessible to the public and is just a short walk from the Anchorage Provincial Park in Grand Harbour.

The conservation of these properties was made possible with the support of funding from the Government of Canada, through the Natural Areas Conservation Program. The project also includes a land donation made through the Government of Canada’s Ecological Gifts Program, which provides enhanced tax incentives for individuals or corporations donating ecologically significant land. The New Brunswick Wildlife Trust Fund, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (under the North American Wetlands Conservation Act), Crabtree Foundation, Sir James Dunn Foundation, McCain Foundation and many private donors also contributed to the success of this conservation project.

During a turtle survey in May, two wood turtles, a threatened species, were observed on our Bartholomew River property in northern New Brunswick.