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Grand Manan Migratory Bird Sanctuary. Photo: © C. MacKinnon

Restoration project on Grand Manan to begin this week

By Tara Clow Sep 5, 2023 | 8:40 AM

Work is about to get underway on the southern coast of Grand Manan to restore a section of a Migratory Bird Sanctuary.

“This project is taking place on the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s Grand Manan migratory bird sanctuary, Nature Reserve, and it’s an area that’s been designated as a migratory bird sanctuary since the 1930s. It’s very important for waterfowl and other migratory seabirds as well as other wildlife. There’s an old gravel pit that’s been on the island for a number of years after the old homestead was abandoned.  It’s a bit of an eyesore and it’s a place for dumping and, kind of ripping around on ATVs and we want to help kickstart it back to a more natural state,” says New Brunswick’s Stewardship Manager for the Nature Conservancy of Canada Aaron Dowding.

The property is located next to the Anchorage Provincial Park.

Dowding says it is known as one of the best destinations for birding enthusiasts and photographers in Atlantic Canada, with over 300 bird species there.

They’ll be using heavy machinery between September 6 and 15th for the restoration, to break up the compacted ground and do some recontouring that will allow the trees to grow.

This three or four-acre site won’t be closed to the public during the work, but Dowding says they want them to be aware, so they’ll stay safe.

“It’s only a couple of acres where we’re actually doing the work and we’re hoping that’s enough to allow trees and shrubs, naturally grown trees and shrubs that that will start to take over the site again. We’re growing about 4000 seedlings and will get those planted towards the end of the week,” Dowding adds.

The plan is to monitor the growth of the trees over the next five years to see if they’re responding.

“This is a nature reserve where people like to come. I think it’s important that what’s there is reflective of what people expect of a nature reserve. We’re trying to do things that support the people who want to be here now and in the next few years. Over the long term as this site naturalizes, we want to improve the condition of the site for wildlife so that animals and birds can nest in that in that area. Right now they can’t, it’s barren and it’s open and they’re exposed, so they don’t use it, as they would a traditional coastal forest. This is probably going to take, 100 years or more to really become a mature forest, but that’s the ultimate goal,” Dowding says.

You can learn more about this Sanctuary and what kind of birds visit the area HERE


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