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Nanaimo River Regional Park land transferred to Nature Conservancy of Canada

Nanaimo River Regional Park is among 26 conservation properties involved in a land transfer between two nature conservation groups.

The Land Conservancy is dealing with multimillion-dollar debt and the $1.5-million land transfer to the Nature Conservancy of Canada secures protection for the properties, which were at risk due to the financial difficulties, said Lesley Neilson, nature conservancy’s B.C. spokeswoman.

The 57-hectare site is along the Nanaimo River and Neilson said it’s the last remaining intact riparian area along the river.

“The main feature of it is the old-growth Douglas fir forest,” said Neilson. “That’s a really important ecosystem in B.C. It’s actually one of the most endangered ecosystems in B.C. because there’s not a lot of it ... it’s been heavily impacted by development.

“That’s a real focus for our conservation group and many conservation groups along the coast, it’s very important in that way.”

Neilson also said the property is on a flood plain and that is an important interaction of the water and the land and nutrient exchange. It has salmon values as well.

The Nature Conservancy of Canada hasn’t decided what to do with the land, said Neilson.

“One of the first steps we have to do going forward with all of these sites is to take a close look at them and develop property management plans for them based on their specific conservation values,” Neilson said.

The nature conservancy will decide which of the properties to keep and which to transfer to the Nature Trust of B.C., a similar-minded conservation group, Neilson said.

The land is leased to the Regional District of Nanaimo, which manages the park and that arrangement will continue, she said.

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