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Couple donates N.B. land to conservation group after buying it to stop cottage developments

The Nature Conservancy of Canada says 58-hectare land on Ephraim Island that's connected to mainland New Brunswick, has been donated to the non-profit by a Toronto couple.
The Nature Conservancy of Canada says 58-hectare land on Ephraim Island that's connected to mainland New Brunswick, has been donated to the non-profit by a Toronto couple. Submitted by Nature Conservancy of Canada

A Toronto couple has donated New Brunswick land to the Nature Conservancy of Canada, after buying it nearly 20 years ago when hearing of plans for the area to be developed into cottage lot.

The couple bought Ephraim Island land to protect it and prevent future developments. Now, it’s permanently in the hands of the non-profit.

Ephraim Island is a small peninsula located along Route 960 between Port Elgin and Cape Jourimain, just before the Confederation Bridge en-route to P.E.I.

The Nature Conservancy’s spokesperson Andrew Holland said New Brunswickers may recognize the area as the “scenic route” to the bridge.

Read more: Customized ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ home in Port L’Hebert, N.S., left to Nature Trust

In 2001, Glen and Jane-Anne Campbell bought the 58-hectare area.

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“Many years ago my wife and I came across a beautiful New Brunswick island and salt marsh which were about to be developed for cottages. We were determined to keep it wild forever so we bought the land to protect it,” Campbell said in an NCC release.

According to NCC, about 70 per cent of Ephraim Island is a salt marsh and its forested area serves as valuable wildlife habitat.

Denise Roy, a biologist at NCC, says it “has a rich biodiversity because it’s been left undisturbed.”

Roy says many bird species rely on that area to feed and nest, including shorebirds like sandpipers, marsh birds like willets, and bald eagles.

Sand pipers are seen on Ephraim Island\’s wetlands. They are just one of the bird species that rely on the coastline habitat.
Sand pipers are seen on Ephraim Island\’s wetlands. They are just one of the bird species that rely on the coastline habitat. Submitted by Nature Conservancy of Canada

That coastline, however, has been under “considerable environmental stress,” Roy says. “Due to the high demand of recreational lots, these lands would have been at risk of development.”

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NCC estimates that about 65 per cent of the Maritime’s salt marsh habitats have been lost to coastal development in the last 300 years.

If the Campbell couple hadn’t stepped in two decades ago, Roy said the Ephraim Island area “may otherwise be developed and we would be missing out on some natural land that really defines our N.B. coast.”

Read more: ‘Leave the rake in the shed and the leaves on the ground’: nature conservancy group

Glen Campbell said in the release his goal working with NCC was to achieve “a permanent nature reserve and safe haven for shorebirds and wildlife.”

The donation was the Nature Conservancy’s 1500th ecological gift since the program was founded. The NCC now protects 32,845 hectares of ecologically significant land in Atlantic Canada, and 14 million hectares Canada-wide.

“We really wish to thank the land donors for their vision as well as everybody else who made this work possible,” said Roy.

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