Mike Dembeck

Prince Edward Island

Number of projects: 2

Land value: Land value is the appraised value of land that NCC has conserved directly and with partners. $458,075

Acres conserved: 284

Stewardship volunteers: 53

Holman's Island now conserved

Sean Landsman

The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) announced the acquisition of Holman’s Island, near Summerside, protecting significant habitat and an important part of PEI’s cultural history. Holman’s Island was the home of the Island Park Hotel, PEI’s first summer resort, which was established in 1872 and burned in 1904. Since then, the island has naturally reverted to a refuge for wildlife and shorebirds.
 
Holman’s Island is 90 acres (36 hectares) and is located in Bedeque Bay, one of 16 internationally recognized Important Bird Areas in PEI. The island features a 10-acre (four-hectare) salt marsh and 80 acres (32 hectares) of mature Acadian forest, which is increasingly rare in the Maritimes.

Holman’s Island provides habitat for many species of birds, including Atlantic brant, Canada geese and the endangered red knot. By protecting Holman’s Island from development, this area will continue to serve as an important refuge for birds. It will ultimately contribute to the well-being of waterfowl populations in Prince Edward Island and along the Atlantic Flyway.

NCC has targeted PEI’s islands for conservation because they support some of the most mature and untouched habitats in the province. NCC has assisted in the protection of 10 of PEI’s 19 offshore islands.

NCC acquired Holman’s Island from siblings Rodney Clark and Sue Kelly, who wanted to see Holman’s Island designated as a nature reserve and remain a hotel for birds” in perpetuity.
 
This conservation project was supported with funding from the Government of Canada through the Natural Areas Conservation Program, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service through the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, Joan and Regis Duffy Foundation, Cooke Insurance, Clearwater Fine Foods and many local donors.

As part of an NCC-led project, a group of volunteers planted 2,000 marram grass plugs to protect the sand dunes in St. Peter’s Harbour.

Important forest habitat conserved on Prince Edward Island

John Sylvester

NCC acquired two key forest sites located on the Percival River, totaling 323 acres (131 hectares). The properties are located about 40 kilometres west of Summerside. 

The Percival River is a strategic area for conservation, feeding into Egmont Bay and the Northumberland Strait. By protecting the lands from development, this area will continue to serve as an important refuge for migratory birds, and ultimately contribute to the sustainability of waterfowl populations in Prince Edward Island and along the Atlantic Flyway.

The purchased sites feature intact forests with red maple, black spruce, white birch, white cedar, white ash, aspen and balsam fir trees.

The lands include salt marshes, which provide habitat for wildlife, and also provide buffers against storm surges and act as a natural water filter.

The sites are home to beavers and many species of birds, including black ducks, Canada geese, great blue herons, cedar waxwings, northern flickers, songbirds and common goldeneye. Plants found here include wild raisin shrub, various ferns and wildflowers.

A portion of one of these projects was donated through the federal government’s Ecological Gifts Program. This program provides enhanced tax incentives for donations of ecologically significant land.

These conservation projects were supported with funding from the Government of Canada through the Natural Areas Conservation Program, TD Bank Group, under the TD Forests Program, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service through the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, Joan and Regis Duffy Foundation and many local donors.

Nature Conservancy of Canada receives land donation of key sand dunes, shore frontage on Prince Edward Island

Mike Dembeck

NCC announced it had received a legacy gift of land that includes a favourite stretch of beach for locals and visitors on Prince Edward Island.

The more than 28-acre (11-hectare) site, named the Clarence and Alice McEwen Nature Reserve, is located on the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The lands were donated by siblings in memory of their late parents. The wetland, sand dune and shore frontage property belonged to the McEwen family for 200 years.

Popular among a number of species, the coast, dunes and surrounding wetland are home to many plants and animals. Shorebirds, including semipalmated plovers, greater yellowlegs, black-bellied plovers, ruddy turnstones, semipalmated sandpipers and sanderlings, use the sandy beach for feeding during migration.

There are fewer than 6,000 piping plovers remaining in the world. The nationally endangered species has been recorded nesting along the coast in this area, which has also been identified as critical habitat for this bird.

NCC wishes to acknowledge and thank the following organizations who contributed funding towards the project costs of this conservation site: Sandy Beach Farms Ltd., The PEI Wildlife Conservation Fund and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service through the North American Wetlands Conservation Act.