Elbow Lake, Frontenac Arch, ON (Photo by NCC)
Frontenac Arch Natural Area, Eastern Ontario
In 2008, the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) protected 1,136 acres (460 hectares) on the Frontenac Arch — known as the Elbow Lake project. The land is in the very heart of one of the critical acquisition zones identified in the Frontenac Arch Natural Area Conservation Plan. The property is located between two existing core areas within the Natural Area. They are Frontenac Provincial Park (13,000 acres/5,621 hectares) and the Queen's University Biological Station (7,000 acres/2,382 hectares).
The Elbow Lake property features rugged terrain that is typical of the Frontenac Arch. High, domed granite and metamorphic ridges, deep wooded valleys and lowland and shoreline wetlands, including beaver ponds, marshes and wooded swamp, can be found here.
Forests are typical of the Frontenac Arch and are dominated by:
- sugar maple
- white ash
- red oak
- white oak
With strong Carolinian elements such as:
- shagbark hickory
- bur oak
- blue beech
- swamp white oak
- rock elm
- black maple
Approximately 30 per cent of the property is lake or wetland. Two lakes (Elbow Lake and Spectacle Lake) are almost completely within the boundaries of the property.
Several significant plant and animal species are found here, including:
- gray ratsnake (threatened)
- eastern musk turtle (threatened)
- butternut (endangered)
- cerulean warbler (special concern)
- five-lined skink (special concern)
NCC continues to fundraise for the project costs associated with the purchase of the property and for long-term stewardship costs.
Stewardship goals for the property include conducting a full biological inventory and implementing priority conservation actions to maintain or improve the viability of the conservation targets. NCC and the Queen's University Biological Station are discussing how best to implement these actions. It is one of NCC's goals that the property be used for low-impact biological research and education.