Protecting critically important salt marsh habitat and coastal forest
At the mouth of the Haldimand River, west of Summerside, lies Abrams Village. NCC has conserved two properties containing coastal habitats here, including 49 acres (20 hectares) of intact salt marsh — rare habitat on PEI. The salt marsh provides vital habitat for many species of birds, including great blue heron, red-breasted merganser, American black duck, Nelson’s sparrow, willet, belted kingfisher and common goldeneye.
Only one per cent of PEI’s landmass is made up of salt marshes, making them critically important areas for conservation. Intact salt marshes are some of the world’s most biologically productive and valuable ecosystems, as they support a large variety of birds, plants and marine life.
Salt marshes also played an important role in PEI’s history: salt marsh hay was a vital resource that helped pioneer families survive long winters by providing feed for their livestock. Many salt marshes in PEI have been diked, drained and converted to other land uses.
NCC’s newest properties at Abrams Village build on an existing NCC nature reserve. In addition to their important natural values, these properties provide a buffer to storm surges, which are expected to increase in number as a result of climate change. NCC has also protected lands around the salt marsh to allow this habitat to shift in responses to rising sea levels.