Hemeon’s Head Conservation Lands, 2013-14

Final Report: Hemeon’s Head Conservation Lands, 2013-2014

Goals and Objectives

The Nature Trust is working in partnership with Acadia University and an adjacent landowner to permanently
protect 310 acres of ecologically significant coastal and wetland habitats in southwest Nova Scotia, significant
for a diversity of birds and other wildlife.

The properties, located on the Hemeon’s Head peninsula, are within the South Shore (Port Joli sector)
Important Bird Area (NS004), in Shelburne County. They are highly significant for a variety of migratory
waterfowl including large numbers of Canada geese and American black ducks, and provide wintering
habitat for harlequin ducks (eastern population). They contain important nesting habitat for the Endangered
piping plover, identified in the Piping Plover Recovery Plan as one of the “Sites of Critical Habitat in Nova Scotia.”
Sightings of the Endangered harlequin duck (Eastern population) and Threatened red knot are reported in the
waters adjacent to the properties.  The project will protect diverse habitats including the 3km long Black Point
Beach (cobble shore), 166 acres of mudflats, as well as saltmarsh, freshwater wetlands and extensive barrens,
bog and coastal forest.

To achieve permanent habitat conservation, we will work with the landowners to secure the lands through
purchase and conservation easement, and undertake the associated legal, appraisal, survey, and environmental
work for securement. We will undertake baseline studies, prepare management plans, and recruit and work
together with volunteers and conservation partners to put in place appropriate long-term stewardship of the lands.
We will engage the public in habitat conservation through public talks, guided walks, and our volunteer guardians
programs.
 

Specific Habitat Products/Results Supported by WHC’s Contributions

WHC’s contribution will support activities to engage the local community, the broader Nova Scotian public, and
volunteers in the protection and stewardship of the project area, and in education about habitat conservation,
through community presentations, educational events, educational mail-outs, and volunteer recruitment, training
and coordination. WHC funding will also support educational signage, the completion of any field work, ecological
baseline studies and the creation of the property stewardship plans.
 

Benefits to Waterfowl, Wetlands-Associated Species, and/or Other Wildlife

Many waterfowl species use these properties during migration as a staging area. The waters just offshore are used
by sea ducks in the fall and winter as their winter habitat. Wetland-associated bird species including shorebirds
use the saltmarsh, mudflats, and beach for feeding during migration. All of these species would benefit from our
protection of these lands, protection will prevent the development of the land and therefore reduce disturbance and
habitat loss and/or degradation.

Other note-worthy species directly benefitting from this project are three nationally-listed species at risk that use
these properties – Harlequin duck (Special Concern), red knot (Endangered), and piping plover (Endangered). These
species have been sighted using the wetlands both historically, and as recently as 2012. Two pairs of piping plovers
were nesting on Black Point Beach in 2012.

Relevance to Habitat Planning, Decision Making and/or Management

The properties will be formally, permanently protected as wildlife habitat. With our formal conservation mechanisms in
place, the Province, and Municipality, will be able to count on this area to contribute to their nature conservation
objectives. Healthy coastal wetlands also provide ecosystem services, including cleaning water that flows through them,
and buffering against storm surges. The services may help with regional planning and/or climate change adaptation
planning.
 

Project Location

Municipality of Shelburne, Shelburne County, Nova Scotia.
 

Project Contact

For more information on this project, please contact Bonnie Sutherland, Executive Director, Nova Scotia Nature Trust.