Baldwick Bluff, Minesing Wetlands, ON (Photo by NCC)
Help protect a piece of one of southern Ontario’s largest wetlands
Just 15 kilometres west of Barrie lies one of the largest and least disturbed wetlands in southern Ontario. Comprising approximately 11,000 hectares (27,000 acres) of wetlands, fields and forests, the Minesing Wetlands are often referred to as the “Everglades of the North” due to their designation as a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance — a distinction they share with their Floridian counterpart.
An important meeting place of multiple watercourses, including the Mad River, Willow Creek and Nottawasaga River, the Minesing Wetlands play an important role in filtering the water that flows into Georgian Bay, and flows out of thousands of taps in nearby homes. This vast collection of marshes, fens and treed swamps acts as a large spone to help mitigate floods and supports more than 30 at-risk species, including least bittern and cerulean warbler.
With an increase in storm events, and dramatic changes in precipitation levels and patterns caused by the climate crisis, protecting wetlands has never been more important. To ensure clean drinking water and dry basements for humans, as well as homes for insects like the Hine’s emerald dragonfly, an extremely rare insect found only in the Minesing Wetlands in Canada, we need to act now to conserve large, intact wetlands like Minesing.
Hine's emerald dragonfly at Minesing Wetlands, ON (Photo by Chris Evans)
The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) has the opportunity to purchase 32 hectares (80 acres) of forests, fields, wetlands and headwater streams surrounding the core of the Minesing Wetlands. Once protected, this area will act as a protective buffer to the main wetlands — ensuring the wildlife has the room they need to thrive, and assisting in controlling floods and providing clean water for nearby communities. This project also presents a future opportunity to restore former farm fields to forest or native meadow, increasing wildlife, especially pollinator, habitat.
NCC must raise $840,000 by June 2020, or face losing this important natural space to encroaching residential or agricultural development. Please consider donating to protect this important area today. We are looking for committed supporters to pledge funds over three years to help purchase the property and to fund vital, on-going stewardship work needed to care for this property for the long-term.
Location: Springwater, 10 minutes west of Barrie, Ontario
Habitat type: Ravine forests, meadow marshes, open fields, headwaters streams and moist cedar forests
Size: 32 hectares (80 acres)
Project cost: $840,000
Species: Hine’s Emerald dragonfly, eastern meadowlark, bobolink, white-tailed deer
David Phillips, Senior Climatologist for Environment Canada talks about the Minesing Wetlands
Minesing Wetlands: A priority for conservation
Minesing Wetlands bioblitz, ON (Photo by NCC)
The Minesing Wetlands are one of NCC’s oldest active natural areas. Since 1974, NCC and our partners have protected over 5,500 hectares (13,600 acres) of conservation lands, many of which are now owned and managed by NCC’s primary partner on the landscape: the Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority.
This Provincially Significant Wetland and Area of Natural and Scientific Interest supports a wide variety of wetland birds and waterfowl, which flock to the area in the tens of thousands during spring migration when most of the wetlands resemble a large lake. These species-rich wetlands are also important in providing flood control, water filtration, fish habitat and recreational opportunities. Over 70 per cent of southern Ontario’s wetlands have been converted to alternative uses since European settlement. The remaining wetlands are threatened by non-native invasive plant species, pollution and habitat fragmentation.
For more than 45 years, NCC and our partners have delivered restoration and protection programs, including reforestation, stream bank stabilization, erosion control and nutrient management projects, and invasive species control. These projects help reduce and sequester phosphorus, improve streamside shading and create habitat for many native species. Since 2010, NCC and our partners have restored approximately 25 hectares (61 acres) of deciduous swamp forest, buffered 12 kilometres of rivers and streams and controlled 3 hectares (8 acres) of invasive species in the Minesing Wetlands Natural Area.
A natural legacy
When it comes to conserving Canada’s most important natural areas, buying land is just the beginning. Stewardship — managing the land for the long term — is at the heart of what we do. Each and every property we protect is monitored and managed, so that the ecosystems are maintained and species thrive, even if that means leaving it be. This can include mapping and removing invasive species, restoring wetlands, grasslands and forests, monitoring for species at risk, planting native species, building trails or installing signage.
To continue to care for the natural areas we protect, NCC has created a Stewardship Endowment Fund. This fund provides annual support for our priority stewardship work across Ontario. Annual benefits from the endowment fund are used to pay the costs necessary to ensure efficient and long-term, science-based management of lands under NCC’s care.
Sunset at Minesing Wetlands, ON (Photo by Ethan Meleg)
NCC may direct all or a portion of gifts committed to this project to NCC’s Stewardship Endowment Fund for Ontario. Revenue generated by the Stewardship Endowment Fund provides for long-term management on properties across the province, including NCC conservation lands in the Rice Lake Plains. In the event that this project becomes fully funded or cannot be carried out, your gift will be allocated to the next urgent priority in this natural area.