Mike Dembeck

New Brunswick

Number of projects: During this period, NCC also funded the relinquishment of 82,313 acres (33,311 hectares) of timber rights outside the new Birch River Wildland Park in Alberta. These rights were cancelled by the provincial government and will only be re-issued for ecological purposes. 4

Land value: Land value is the fair market value as determined by independent appraisal. $405,900

Acres conserved: 517

Stewardship volunteers: 105

Expanding the Musquash Estuary nature reserve

Mike Dembeck

NCC’s Musquash Estuary nature reserve near Saint John continues to grow, thanks to many gifts from the heart. The latest two gifts in the reserve were made in memory of the late Mabel Fitz-Randolph and Andrew Simpson, two local community members who cared for and helped protect this area.

In June 2017, NCC expanded our Musquash Estuary nature reserve near Saint John by 981 acres (397 hectares). The four properties feature a variety of habitats, such as mature mixed forest, fresh and saltwater marshes, small lakes, bogs and coastal barrens. The Musquash Estuary is NCC’s largest conservation area in New Brunswick.

More than half of the newly conserved land was donated by two Saint John-area families. Daniel Tremblay and Marie Tremblay, the grandson and daughter of Mabel Fitz-Randolph, donated 87 acres (35 hectares) in memory of Mabel and Albert Fitz-Randolph. And the family of the late Andrew Simpson donated 578 acres (234 hectares) in his memory.

Andrew (Andy) Simpson founded Andrew F. Simpson Contracting Ltd., in Saint John and had a strong personal connection to the lands at Musquash. His brother and nephew, Doug and Luke Simpson, respectively, worked with NCC to see Andy’s properties permanently conserved according to his wishes.

These Musquash conservation projects were supported by funding from the Government of Canada, under the Natural Areas Conservation Program. This partnership aims to accelerate private land and habitat conservation in Canada. The project also received support from the Crabtree Foundation, The Sir James Dunn Foundation, the Province of New Brunswick, many individual donors and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, under the North American Wetlands Conservation Act.

A portion of this project was donated to the Nature Conservancy of Canada under the Government of Canada’s Ecological Gifts Program, which provides enhanced tax benefits for individuals or corporations donating ecologically significant land.

Mapping Atlantic Canada’s rivers and streams

Mike Dembeck

Atlantic Canada’s rivers and streams provide habitat for many species, and support the economy and well-being of local communities. Yet these freshwater ecosystems are facing many threats, including climate change and loss of water quality. Until now, there was no consistent way of analyzing and mapping freshwater streams and rivers in eastern Canada and the United States. But a new groundbreaking classification system is now allowing scientists access to consistent information across borders and boundaries for the first time.

NCC has completed the first stage of a major research and mapping project. This is the first classification of streams and rivers across New Brunswick, PEI, Nova Scotia, southern Quebec and the northeastern United States. This information is available online to conservation groups, governments and the public, to support watershed planning and the conservation of freshwater species, such as the Atlantic salmon. The project has been considered a turning point in freshwater conservation

NCC is leading the project, which involves 22 partners and freshwater experts from universities, government and non-government organizations, all of whom have collaborated on the classification to aid conservation efforts region-wide.

The user-friendly maps and scientific data compiled by NCC are available online free of charge.

Restoring Acadian forests on the Chignecto Isthmus


Acadian forests have declined in the past few hundred years, due to clearing for agriculture, housing and conversion tied to forestry practices. Less than five per cent of Acadian forest remains in pre-settlement condition, and only a fraction of this is old-growth. NCC has been working to restore the diversity of Acadian forests in the narrow Chignecto Isthmus, between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

NCC has recently developed a forest management plan for our 1,000 acres (405 hectares) in the New Brunswick side of the Chignecto Isthmus area. The plan is based on the new Acadian Forest restoration manual written by NCC staff. The manual is intended to help guide private woodlot owners in sustainable forestry practices that protect the biodiversity of Acadian forests.

Working in partnership with Community Forests Canada, NCC has completed ongoing forest management work in the Isthmus. This has included small patch cuts in second-growth forests to create openings and then planting them with a variety of Acadian forest tree species (red oak, red spruce, white pine, eastern hemlock and yellow birch) to reintroduce them to the area.

In June 2017, 17 Conservation Volunteers braved the rain to help plant an old field with more than 2,000 red spruce, white pine and red oak seedlings. The property is located on the Chignecto Isthmus, and borders protected areas of Acadian forest.

The goal of this project is to restore a diverse Acadian forest and provide a model for forest restoration in the region.

More than 85 per cent of the original salt marshes in the Bay of Fundy have been altered by humans over the past 300 years. The Musquash River Estuary near Saint John, New Brunswick, is unique among Bay of Fundy estuaries due to its size, expansive salt marshes and natural condition.