Carden Alvar Natural Area
Prairie smoke, Carden Alvar, Ontario (Photo by NCC)
An internationally significant natural area
Located northeast of Lake Simcoe, the Carden Alvar is an outstanding example of globally-threatened alvar habitat. The property also shelters grasslands, shrub lands, forests and wetlands.
This area is critical to the survival of globally rare plants and animals, including the endangered eastern loggerhead shrike. Little Bluestem Alvar is NCC's latest project on the Carden Alvar.
Carden Alvar supports:
- 450 plant species;
- 142 butterfly and dragonfly species; and
- 238 bird species.
Carden's open alvars are also the perfect habitat for lichens, mosses, molds and fungi.
In late spring, the Carden Alvar's grasslands are a riot of colourful wildflowers. The property boasts an incredible diversity and number of grassland bird species. On-site management includes controlling invasive dog-strangling vine. Staff and volunteers also work to improve trails to allow visitors to enjoy the Carden landscape while minimizing disturbance to its plants and wildlife.
The Carden Alvar Natural Area contains a provincially designated Life Science Area of Natural and Scientific Interest and is part of the Carden Plain Important Bird Area, a designation based partly on the presence of bird species at risk.
NCC's partners in the area include:
- The Couchiching Conservancy
- Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources
- Carden and Orillia Field Naturalists
- Toronto Ornithological Club
- Ontario Field Ornithologists
Working with these partners, NCC has helped to protect 7,900 acres (3,200 hectares) across the Carden Alvar. Under the careful management of NCC and our partners, the protected lands on the Carden Alvar will become a model for alvar ecology and stewardship in North America.