New Brunswick

Fundy village joins forces with conservation group to save Acadian forest

Riverside-Albert has partnered with the Nature Conservancy of Canada to buy and protect a piece of land that contains the village's water supply and a rare old Acadian forest.

Riverside-Albert and the Nature Conservancy of Canada have until November to come up with the money

A Nature Conservancy of Canada biologist collects information about a tree species on the property near Riverside-Albert. (Nature Conservancy of Canada)

Riverside-Albert has partnered with the Nature Conservancy of Canada to purchase and protect a piece of land that contains the village's water supply as well as a rare old Acadian forest.

The 326 acres (about 130 hectares) of privately owned land has two reservoirs, which have been the primary water supply for the Albert County village for almost 100 years.

The land is also home to countless trees "so big you can hardly wrap your arms around them," said Denise Roy, conservation representative at the Nature Conservancy.

Lease expires soon

The water lease is set to expire in 2019.

The Nature Conservancy came across the property and its story while identifying mature forests in the Bay of Fundy area. The group contacted the village's mayor and the landowner.

"We all worked together and now we are trying to raise some funds so the Nature Conservancy of Canada can buy the property and ensure the long term protection and conservation of the habitat," Roy said.

The Nature Conservancy of Canada will make the land open to public if it can raise the money to buy it. (Nature Conservancy of Canada)

The conservancy needs to raise $250,000 to cover its legal costs, long-term stewardship costs and to purchase the land.

The next hurdle is to get the money — by November.

"We are a non-profit so we are a charity and we need people's help to make this happen," Roy said.

With support from villagers, the conservancy has raised a third of the money but will keep on fundraising until the goal is reached.

Two reservoirs on the privately owned land have been the village’s primary water supply for almost 100 years. (Nature Conservancy of Canada)

If the charity succeeds in buying the land, it will lease it to Riverside-Albert, so the village can keep on using the reservoirs. The land would also be open to the public.

"All of our properties are open to the public, but this one would probably have a few little restrictions around it because the village needs to make sure nothing happens, especially surrounding the reservoirs themselves."

Roy said the village can rest assured the Nature Conservancy  will do what it can to buy and protect this land.

"It is really a win-win project," she said.


Maria Jose Burgos is an award-wining journalist with CBC New Brunswick based in Fredericton. She's originally from Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Tips?

With files from Information Morning Moncton