Environment Canada

Environment Canada

June 22, 2010 14:13 ET

The Government of Canada and the Nature Conservancy of Canada Celebrate the Conservation of Valuable Habitat on Vancouver Island in the Cowichan Valley

DUNCAN, BRITISH COLUMBIA–-(Marketwire - June 22, 2010) - James Lunney, Member of Parliament for Nanaimo-Alberni, on behalf of Canada's Environment Minister Jim Prentice, today celebrated the Nature Conservancy of Canada's successful acquisition of Chase Woods, 41-hectares (101 acres) in the Cowichan Valley near Duncan, British Columbia. This project was secured in part with funding from Environment Canada's Natural Areas Conservation Program and has an overall budget of $1.7M.

"Especially in this International Year of Biodiversity, I am pleased to see the Government of Canada's partnering with the Nature Conservancy to ensure the conservation of a prized ecological treasure right here on Vancouver Island; such projects are taking place through collaborative efforts across Canada," said MP Lunney.

Suburban development, invasive species, and timber harvesting have been some of the key threats to the ecological integrity of Chase Woods. This property links a number of existing conservation areas, creating a large and important passageway for a number of species in the area.It connects with the estuary at Cowichan Bay, the Mount Tzuhalem Ecological Reserve and is close to the Cowichan Garry Oak Preserve. 

Chase Woods nurtures rare intact coastal Douglas-fir habitat, centuries-old Western Yew, Garry Oak, Lodgepole Pine and Arbutus trees. It provides habitat for peregrine falcons, a federally listed species at risk and is also home to the Pacific tree frog, Great Blue Heron, bats, and many rare plants, such as Farewell-to-spring and California-tea. Coastal Douglas-fir is one of the rarest ecosystems in British Columbia. Less than one percent of Coastal Douglas-fir forests are now left in the world.

"This acquisition marks another achievement under our government's $225-million Natural Areas Conservation Program. With this investment, we are taking real action to protect and conserve our ecosystems and sensitive species for present and future generations," said Minister Prentice. "Your actions, large or small, will help to protect the abundance and variety of life that is part of our natural heritage."

"These Gifts to Canadians are tangible examples of what we are able to achieve by working together. By designing and managing networks of protected areas we fulfill our national and global responsibility to protect Canada's natural treasures for the future," said John Lounds, President & CEO of the Nature Conservancy of Canada. "What better way to celebrate our nation than by protecting the spectacular lands and wildlife that our country is known for around the world."

The Government of Canada's Natural Areas Conservation Program is an important on-the-ground initiative that takes action to preserve Canada's environment and conserve its precious natural heritage. It is through the ongoing contribution from all donors that we can ensure the protection of natural areas in Canada. As of March 2010, under the Natural Areas Conservation Program over 138,600 hectares (342,500 acres) have been secured, protecting habitat for over 79 species at risk.

For more information and to view a backgrounder on this announcement, please visit the Web site of Environment Canada, at http://www.ec.gc.ca/.

(Également offert en français)

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