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Environment and Conservation
September 22, 2009

Port au Choix Commits to Protection of Rare Plants

St Theresa�s Elementary School and the Town of Port au Choix have entered into a Municipal Stewardship Agreement which designates areas of the Limestone Barrens habitat for conservation. On behalf of the Honourable Charlene Johnson, Minister of Environment and Conservation, Wallace Young, MHA for St. Barbe, signed the agreement which will help protect the threatened Fernald�s Braya and other rare plant species in the area. The agreement also commits the St. Theresa�s students and local residents to actions which will help ensure the sustainability of these unique plants species which, in many cases, are not found anywhere else in the world.
�Co-operation and dedication to protection of the nment are key elements of agreements like this one,� said Minister Johnson. �The spirit of stewardship is alive and well in towns like Port au Choix, and this is a wonderful example of residents, particularly our youth, making a commitment to work together with government to continue to find a balance between the natural environment, economic growth and development and sustainability. The agreement commits the municipality to protect species at risk habitat and accept a stewardship role in maintaining its integrity.�

The plant life of the limestone barrens contributes greatly to the biodiversity of the province. The Strait of Belle Isle Ecoregion on the Great Northern Peninsula fosters a significant number of rare or unique species, including Long�s Braya (designated endangered by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada) and Fernald�s Braya (designated as threatened). Of the 298 vascular plants considered rare on the island of Newfoundland, 104 of them occur on the Limestone Barrens. Twenty-two of these species are found only on the Great Northern Peninsula.

�Together, we are contributing to the future protection of this network of rare plants through the signing of such an agreement,� said Wallace Young. �The significance of this area and its plant life extends well beyond our province, and I am delighted that the town is working together to ensure these plants are protected for many subsequent generations.�

The Limestone Barrens Habitat Stewardship Program on the Great Northern Peninsula, an initiative funded in part by the federal Habitat Stewardship Program for Species at Risk seeks to protect Limestone Barrens habitat and associated species at risk populations through stewardship agreements, restoration, enhancement and education.

For more information on municipal stewardship agreements, contact Jonathan Sharpe at 709-637-2013, or

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Media contacts:

Melony O�Neill
Director of Communications
Department of Environment and Conservation
709-729-2575, 689-0928
Wallace Young, MHA
District of St. Barbe
Dulcie House
Limestone Barrens Habitat Stewardship Program Manager

2009 09 22                        3:15 p.m.

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