New Brunswick's First Private Land Protected Natural Area

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Seven parcels of land at Musquash Harbour, just west of Saint John, have been designated as the first private land protected natural area (PNA) in the province. The designation is the result of an agreement between the Department of Natural Resources and The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC).

"These lands will contribute significantly to the overall protection of biodiversity within New Brunswick," said Natural Resources Minister Wally Stiles. "The province has been involved in setting aside lands for ecological purposes for more than four decades, and we are pleased to continue our close collaboration with the NCC to identify lands worthy of protection."

The Musquash Harbour PNA covers 811 hectares (2,003 acres). It is of particular strategic conservation importance since, immediately downstream, is the Musquash marine protected area, a federally protected area, and immediately upstream is the Loch Alva PNA.

"The Nature Conservancy of Canada is pleased to work with the provincial government on the protection of critical habitats, such as the Musquash estuary," said Linda Stephenson, NCC's Atlantic regional vice-president. "The collaboration on the designation of the Musquash estuary under the Private Natural Areas Act will ensure that future generations will be able to enjoy the vast beauty of the area."

The inclusion of private conservation lands into the network of protected Crown land significantly increases the degree to which the province can ensure that as many examples of habitats and ecological communities as possible are preserved.

Musquash Harbour is a Class II PNA, which means the lands may not be used for forest harvesting; mining or aggregate extraction; permanent residential uses; commercial or industrial uses; or the introduction of non-native species. The area may be used for some recreational activities as well as for educational and scientific purposes.

"We are very appreciative that our first foray into PNAs is with our long time conservation partner, the NCC," said Stiles. "The efforts of private organizations such as NCC deserve the recognition and regulatory status afforded under the Protected Natural Areas Act."

The province provided $1.5 million to the NCC in August to increase its conservation programs in New Brunswick. The NCC is a national non-profit conservation organization that works to protect Canada's natural habitats.