ALBERTON, P.E.I. – A small, undeveloped island off the north shores of P.E.I. the place blue herons, bald eagles and double-crested cormorants nest is ready to be bought by the Nature Conservancy of Canada and ultimately positioned underneath the full-time stewardship of the Mi’kmaq.
The Nature Conservancy of Canada introduced plans this week to purchase Oulton’s Island, which is about one sq. kilometre in dimension and an essential habitat not just for majestic birds but additionally woodland creatures akin to snowshoe hare, crimson squirrel and migrating waterfowl.
The island, about 400 metres from Cascumpec Bay, has 4 kilometres of seashore shoreline and helps salt marsh and freshwater wetland ecosystems and can also be residence to Acadian forests composed of jack pine, black spruce and white birch.
“We like the concept of defending coastal islands,” Lanna Campbell, Nature Conservancy of Canada’s program director for Prince Edward Island, mentioned in a latest interview. “It’s an space of refuge for wildlife as a result of they’re typically inaccessible to motorized automobiles or lots of people, in order that they’re simply actually quiet havens for wildlife.”
The group had its eyes on the island for the reason that Nineteen Eighties and stayed in contact with the landowners, she mentioned. The conservancy purchased the land for $1.2 million however nonetheless wants to lift about $300,000 to finish the acquisition.
“It’s a wonderful coastal forest,” Campbell mentioned. “We discovered a nesting nice blue heron colony, which is a extremely spectacular, lovely chicken. It at all times sort of seems like a dinosaur to me. We additionally discovered different birds nesting there, like double-crested cormorants. There’s a lot of eagles that reside there. And so, as soon as we actually began to discover it, we knew it was a particular place for wildlife.”
About 90 per cent of Prince Edward Island is privately owned, and most landowners are good stewards, she mentioned. However there may be at all times the chance that if personal property is bought to somebody, they could log bushes or “threaten its integrity,” she added.
The Nature Conservancy of Canada, she mentioned, has undertaken a number of conservation tasks throughout the nation. For instance, the group negotiated the discharge of growth and mineral rights to land in British Columbia to make it accessible for Indigenous-led conservation.
Darlene Bernard, chief of the Lennox Island First Nation, in P.E.I., referred to as Oulton’s Island an essential piece of territory. The Mi’kmaq phrase for the realm — Kwesawe’ok — interprets to “finish of the island cape” or “finish of the headland,” she mentioned.
“It’s an island that has magnificent wetlands and a house for all types of particular little creatures,” she mentioned. “And you recognize, our folks would have used that island to maintain ourselves for generations.”
She mentioned the First Nation welcomed its partnership with the conservancy to guard the land, including that she doesn’t foresee any industrial growth within the space. The conservancy’s plan is to switch possession of the land in about 5 years to the Epekwitk Meeting of Councils, a Mi’kmaq governing physique.
“Effectively, I believe we’d wish to maintain it in its pristine state that it’s in now,” Bernard mentioned. “Definitely, we’re not going to limit guests to the island. When you have a ship, you wish to go over there and take a stroll alongside its lovely seashores and issues like that, then you definately’re definitely welcome to do this.”
Campbell mentioned she first visited the island in August, and he or she mentioned it left her with fairly an impression.
“It was a really sunny, lovely day. The tide was low, so the seashores had been actually massive,” she mentioned.
“And we had been strolling alongside within the sand watching the shorebirds, tiny little shorebirds, dance alongside within the sand in entrance of us on the lookout for meals. It was a stroll round the entire island. I bear in mind coming round a giant wetland and watching a few actually massive herons take off — massive, lovely blue birds. And it simply sort of felt like we had been visiting a fairyland. It was a really magical spot.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first revealed Nov. 12, 2022.
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