Dwarf lake iris in bloom, ON (Photo by NCC)

Dwarf lake iris in bloom, ON (Photo by NCC)

Nature Conservancy of Canada protects two areas on the internationally important Saugeen Bruce Peninsula

March 22, 2018
Tobermory, ON


New sites protect key wetlands and habitat for globally rare flower

The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is announcing the protection of two important conservation areas south of Tobermory, Ontario, on the Saugeen Bruce Peninsula. The non-profit conservation group has purchased more than 60 hectares (150 acres) of wetlands and habitat for the at-risk dwarf lake iris.

The 40-hectare (99-acre) Cape Hurd Fens and Forests property contains provincially significant wetlands and is an important stopover point for migrating waterfowl. It also provides habitat for the massasauga rattlesnake, a species listed as threatened by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. Its forests also provide a critical corridor for wide-ranging mammals, such as the American black bear.

The 21-hectare (52-acre) Dwarf Lake Iris Nature Reserve is an important piece of the local conservation puzzle. The property protects a portion of one of the largest populations of dwarf lake iris in the area. It also contains globally rare Jack pine-treed alvar, which is found only in the Great Lakes region, and connects to land already conserved by NCC, Parks Canada, Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry and another not-for-profit, Ontario Nature.

These Nature Conservancy of Canada projects were generously supported by funding from the Government of Canada through the Natural Areas Conservation Program, and with the support of NCC’s donors.

NCC has been working to conserve land on the Saugeen Bruce Peninsula for more than 20 years, and over this time has helped conserve almost 5,900 hectares (14,600 acres) there.


“Protecting the Dwarf Lake Iris Nature Reserve and Cape Hurd Fens and Forests is incredibly important to Ontario. It’s critical that we conserve these biologically-rich areas, not just for the species that these areas support, but for the benefit of current and future generations.” Wendy Cridland, Nature Conservancy of Canada acting vice-president, Ontario Region

“Our government is committed to the protection and recovery of Canada’s species at risk and is very proud to support the creation of the Dwarf Lake Iris Nature Reserve and the Cape Hurd Fens and Forests property through the Natural Areas Conservation Program. All Canadians can play a role in conserving our flora and fauna, and today’s announcement shows what we can do when we work together.” The Hon. Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change


  • Over 230 species of birds have been identified in the Cape Hurd area.
  • Wetlands are important in providing flood control, water filtration, fish habitat and recreational opportunities. Over 70 per cent of southern Ontario’s wetlands have been converted for alternative uses since European settlement.
  • Provincially and federally listed as a species of special concern, the dwarf lake iris is found only in a small area along the Great Lakes. Threatened by increasing development on the shorelines where it grows, the small flower blooms with showy, violet-coloured flowers in late May to early June.
  • Alvars are naturally open habitats, with a thin to non-existent covering of soil over a base of limestone or dolostone. Ontario is home to more than half of the world’s alvars.


The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is the nation's leading not-for-profit, private land conservation organization, working to protect our most important natural areas and the species they sustain. Since 1962, NCC and its partners have helped to protect more than 1.1 million hectares (2.8 million acres), coast to coast, with more than 74,400 hectares (184,000 acres) in Ontario.

The Government of Canada's Natural Areas Conservation Program (NACP) is a unique public-private partnership to accelerate the pace of land conservation across southern Canada. The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) manages the program. Federal funds are matched by contributions raised by NCC and its partners. Habitat conserved under the NACP enhances natural corridors and other protected areas.

Video and images

Images are available here.

Learn More
Follow us on Twitter:  twitter.com/NCC_CNC  |  twitter.com/NCC_CNCMedia
Find us on Facebook

- 30 -

Media Contact:

Nicole Senyi
Communications Manager
Ontario Region
C: 416-937-5079

Supporter Spotlight