Eagle’s Eye Nature Preserve
At 12.7 hectares (31.38 acres), Eagle’s Eye Nature Preserve is located on Lower Presque Isle Island (also known as Peele Island) in the middle of the St. John River in Simonds, NB, about 8 km upstream from Arthur Kyle Nature Preserve in Hartland and about 10 km downstream from Green Island Nature Preserve in Florenceville-Bristol.
Since 1850, potatoes have been farmed heavily along this stretch of the St. John River surrounding the island, causing erosion and topsoil runoff in areas with a minimal buffer zone. In 2014, the island was purchased by the Nature Trust from Martini Realties Ltd. of Montreal to protect and preserve important habitat for the cobblestone tiger beetle (Cicindela marginipennis). The purchase of the island was made possible by Environment Canada’s Habitat Stewardship Fund for Species at Risk and is the third island in the area protected for the beetle.
In 2015, the Nature Trust held a competition with students from Florenceville Elementary School to name the island nature preserve and engage them with local conservation and stewardship efforts. The name selected, Eagle’s Eye Nature Preserve, was submitted by Mrs. Shaw’s grade three class and inspired by the healthy population of eagles often seen flying over the island and surrounding areas. In their submission, the students explained that they had learned from talking to their parents and other adults in their community, that the eagle population at one time was not doing well in the area, but, because of changes that were made to protect them, they were able to rebound. “We think that this shows that changes that we choose to make CAN make a difference,” stated their submission. “We believe that the majestic eagles will be watching over the island and its many creatures and plants for years to come.”
Half of the island is identified as Provincially Significant Wetland, while the remaining area consists of forested land, as well barren sand and rocky cobble along the perimeter. This particular substrate provides critical habitat necessary for the survival of the cobblestone tiger beetle (Cicindela marginipennis)—a species at risk listed as federally endangered. This species, found only in nine known locations in Canada (all of which are in New Brunswick), is endangered because of its limited geographic distribution and small population. Local citizens help to steward the nature preserve, keeping a watchful eye on the island and the species at risk it protects.
The specific habitat for the cobblestone tiger beetle is formed by flooding during the spring freshet and the water flow patterns created by the presence of nearby islands and beaches. The low-lying nature of the landscape and its closeness to other islands creates this desired effect. A survey of tree and shrub species on the island is to be scheduled in the coming years.
Access and Activities
Due to the presence of the endangered cobblestone tiger beetle, please view this island preserve and its flora and fauna from the shore or from a canoe or kayak on the beautiful St. John River. A convenient place to view the island is from the Trans Canada Trail on Main Street in Simonds. Although the island is accessible only by boat, the following recreational activities are possible here: bird watching, swimming, boating, picnicking, and wildlife watching.
View or navigate to this preserve via Google Map.
*The property is undeveloped and there are a variety of hazards and risks associated with accessing this preserve. While this nature preserve is open for public access, visitors must assume responsibility for their own actions and safety and are to use the land at their own risk.*