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

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

Expanding conservation on the Saugeen Bruce Peninsula

Cape Hurd Fens and Forests, Saugeen Bruce Peninsula, ON (Photo by NCC)

Cape Hurd Fens and Forests, Saugeen Bruce Peninsula, ON (Photo by NCC)

The Saugeen Bruce Peninsula is shaped by water. It forms the boundary between Georgian Bay and the main basin of Lake Huron. Thirteen per cent of the northern portion of the peninsula is classified as wetland, including fens, meadow marshes and other types. As part of the Niagara Escarpment, the Saugeen Bruce Peninsula was created by retreating glaciers, giving it a unique and stunning landscape.

This peninsula contains some of the most diverse and biologically rich ecosystems in the Great Lakes. From globally rare alvar habitats, to mature cedar forests, the area is home to 11 globally rare species, such as lakeside daisy, eastern prairie white-fringed orchid, ram's-head lady's-slipper and eastern Massasauga. It is no wonder that it is a high priority for conservation.

The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) has been working to conserve land on the Saugeen Bruce Peninsula for more than 20 years. Over this time, we have helped conserve almost 5,900 hectares (14,600 acres) there.

Today we are going even further.

With the help of the Government of Canada through the Natural Areas Conservation Program, and with the support of many donors, NCC has purchased more than 60 hectares (150 acres) of wetlands and habitat for several species at risk.

The 40-hectare (99-acre) Cape Hurd Fens and Forests property contains provincially significant wetlands and is an important stopover site for migrating waterfowl. It provides habitat for 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. The property connects to lands already conserved by NCC, Parks Canada, Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry and another not-for-profit, Ontario Nature.

These two additions to the protected areas mosaic on the Saugeen Bruce Peninsula are critical for the survival of the many species that rely on this important habitat. Over 230 species of birds alone have been identified in the Cape Hurd area.

Thanks to our partners and supporters, NCC will be able to protect and manage this unique landscape for the long term.

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