One of the most ecologically diverse sites in Canada is about to get a little bigger.
The Musquash Estuary and nature reserve, located just west of Saint John, is expanding by almost a thousand acres.
The bulk of the newly conserved land, about seven hundred acres, was donated by two local families, Helen-Marie and Daniel Tremblay and the family of the late Andy Simpson.
Tremblay is the daughter of the late Mabel Fitz-Randolph who previously fought against the plan to turn the area into an industrial park and landfill. She’s glad it will be left to birds and other animals.
“That’s what I wanted it to stay as a wilderness rather than be turned into a lumber yard,” said Tremblay.
She said both her late mother and father would be happy with how the land is being used.
Andy Simpson was a well known contractor who died in 2015.
He had other plans for his land initially, but his mind changed.
“As time progressed he saw the importance of it and one of his final wishes was for it to be put in these people’s hands to be looked after,” said Simpson’s brother Doug Simpson.
The Nature Conservancy of Canada says community support is vital.
“Really it’s the reason that it’s our largest conserved area in the province because of the significant donations that we’ve received today but also in the past from community members,” said Paula Noel, the Conservancy’s New Brunswick Program Director.
Estuaries are said to be among the most productive ecosystems on the planet.
“It’s a nursery ground for fisheries for instance and so a lot of production, a lot of life happens in these estuaries and then gets exported out into the ocean,” Noel explained.
About ninety per cent of the coastline around the estuary is now conserved.