Mike Dembeck

Newfoundland and Labrador

Number of projects: 1

Land value: Land value is the appraised value of land that NCC has conserved directly and with partners. $225,465

Acres conserved: 150

Stewardship volunteers: 31

Kicking off a new year with a collaborative conservation plan


The Avalon Peninsula on the east coast of Newfoundland supports 18 federally listed species at risk and 16 provincially listed species at risk, such as the red crossbill, rusty blackbird and boreal felt lichen. The area is also home to the most southern herd of woodland caribou in Canada, as well as one of the largest and most diverse seabird populations in North America.

The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) began 2017 with the completion of a new conservation plan for the Avalon Peninsula, with the goal of protecting 1,600 acres (650 hectares) of wildlife habitat over the next 10 years. The plan was developed in collaboration with the Canadian Wildlife Service, Memorial University, Ducks Unlimited Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the provincial departments of Fisheries, Forestry and Agrifoods, and Environment and Climate Change.

The conservation plan for the area identifies seven key priorities for protection:

  • barrens
  • coastal habitat
  • colonial seabirds
  • freshwater wetlands
  • mature boreal forest
  • rivers and floodplains
  • woodland caribou

Species spotting on the Salmonier Nature Reserve

Mike Dembeck

Located in the heart of the Avalon Peninsula, the most densely populated region of the province,  Salmonier is one of the Peninsula’s last remaining areas of wilderness. A combination of the distinct landscape, underlying geology, boreal forest and cool, moist climate create a great spot for wildlife and a high diversity of lichens, some of which are globally rare. 

NCC’s Salmonier Nature Reserve is a collection of three properties in this area, totalling 437 acres (177 hectares).

In late June last year, NCC and a handful of bird experts visited the area to help inventory the diversity and abundance of birds that live on these properties. The team identified the presence of dozens of species, including two at-risk bird species: red crossbill and olive-sided flycatcher. This was the first time either bird had been spotted here by NCC volunteers.

Sky-high conservation in the Codroy Valley

Mike Dembeck

The Codroy Valley supports one of the most diverse populations of birds in Atlantic Canada, is designated as an Important Bird Area, and is a key annual stopover site for thousands of migratory birds. NCC staff and volunteers have recorded 71 different bird species in the area since 2013, including the endangered piping plover.

In March of 2017, NCC announced the protection of an additional 150 acres (61 hectares) of wildlife habitat along the Grand Codroy Estuary. The Doyle property features 92 acres (37 hectares) of mature forest, 58 acres (24 hectares) of valuable wetland habitat, including one of the largest bogs in the Codroy Valley, and half a kilometre of frontage on the Grand Codroy River. The property is also located near the province’s only Ramsar site, a designation that recognizes wetlands of international importance for wildlife. The securement of this new property marked 20 years since NCC’s first conservation project in the area.

This project was supported by funding from the Government of Canada, under the Natural Areas Conservation Program and Ecological Gifts Program, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, under the North American Wetlands Conservation Act and other local donors and supporters.

Boreal felt lichen, a species that is globally imperilled, was found in new locations on NCC’s Salmonier Nature Reserve on the Avalon Peninsula.