Nature Conservancy of Canada connects moose habitat near Ottawa
Vast section of 10,000-year-old Ottawa Valley carbon sink protected
The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is announcing the protection of 82 hectares of Alfred Bog, a unique natural area only an hour’s drive east of Ottawa. This acquisition marks the protection of the largest piece of private land remaining in the bog and builds on nearly 40 years of conservation work by NCC and partners in the region.
Alfred Bog is the largest high-quality peat bog in southern Ontario, where it has built up over 10,000 years in an old oxbow of the Ottawa River. It stores vast amounts of carbon in its rich sphagnum moss. Over the last 200 years, human development has reduced the bog to approximately one-third its original size, but since the 1980s, NCC, donors and partners have worked hard to protect and conserve what remains. Together, we have protected more than 3,300 hectares of the bog.
Alfred Bog is a slice of northern boreal forest in Canada’s south. Its unique wetland features are critical to protect; less than two-fifths of Ontario’s original wetlands remain today. Wetlands are internationally recognized as habitats that support biodiversity and provide key ecosystem services that help slow the effects of climate change. These critical ecosystems store carbon and improve the quality of our waters. They act like giant sponges, slowing drainage from developed areas, reducing floods, filtering out pollutants and trapping sediments.
Bogs are not only important players in carbon sequestration and water management, they also offer critical habitat to at-risk species. Whip-poor-will, listed as threatened under Canada’s Species at Risk Act, have been seen at Alfred Bog. Moose, various waterfowl and orchids can also be found in this rare wetland. Alfred Bog is classified by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry as a Provincially Significant Wetland and an Area of Natural and Scientific Interest.
NCC’s newly conserved property in the area is surrounded on three sides by the proposed Alfred Bog Provincial Park, where people can see first-hand the species that call this area home. A 273-metre boardwalk in the bog takes visitors out over the mossy dome. Protecting Alfred Bog helps to connect moose habitats that stretch from Mer Bleue Bog and the Larose Forest all the way to the new property, creating a ribbon of green between Ottawa and Vankleek Hill.
The project was funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Natural Heritage Conservation Program, part of Canada’s Nature Fund and the Ontario government, through the Greenlands Conservation Partnership. Funding was also provided by the generosity of private donors, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Ottawa Field-Naturalists’ Club.
Projects such as this one are a testament to NCC’s leadership in accelerating the pace of conservation in Canada. In the past two years alone, the organization has influenced the protection of more than 1 million hectares (almost twice the size of Prince Edward Island), coast to coast to coast. Over the next few years, NCC will double its impact by mobilizing Canadians and delivering permanent, large-scale conservation.
In the face of rapid biodiversity loss and climate change, nature is our ally. There is no solution to either without nature conservation. The Nature Conservancy of Canada believes when nature thrives, we all thrive.
“Just like the bog itself, this deal is a long time in the making, and shows that persistence and dedication from conservation-minded organizations and individuals really does pay off. As long as we take good care of it and are responsible stewards, it should take care of itself, as it’s done for the last 10,000 years or so.” – Rob McRae, Nature Conservancy of Canada Program Director for Eastern Ontario
“By working with partners like the Nature Conservancy of Canada, we are protecting our natural environment in Ontario and across the country. Protecting and conserving more of Canada’s natural beauty is an important part of our plan to address the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss. Through programs like the Canada Nature Fund’s Natural Heritage Conservation Program, we are making progress toward conserving a quarter of Canada’s land and a quarter of its oceans by 2025.” – The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change
“The people of Ontario deserve well-protected lands and greenspaces to enjoy, and our government is thrilled to partner with the Nature Conservancy of Canada and the Ontario Land Trust Alliance to protect this important area of Alfred Bog through our $20M Greenlands Conservation Partnership. An ecologically significant wetland and home to at-risk species, Alfred Bog is also an important carbon sink and plays a critical role in local flood prevention. Today’s announcement will protect it as a gem of the Ottawa Valley’s natural heritage for generations to come.” – David Piccini, Ontario’s Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks
The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is the country’s unifying force for nature. NCC seeks solutions to the twin crises of rapid biodiversity loss and climate change through large-scale, permanent land conservation. As a trusted partner, NCC works with people, communities, businesses and government to protect and care for our country’s most important natural areas. Since 1962, NCC has brought Canadians together to help conserve and restore more than 15 million hectares. To learn more, visit natureconservancy.ca.
The Government of Canada’s Natural Heritage Conservation Program (NHCP) is a unique public-private partnership to support new protected and conserved areas by securing private lands and private interests in lands. The program is managed by the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC). Federal funds invested in the program are matched with contributions raised by NCC and its partners, Ducks Unlimited Canada and the country’s land trust community.
The Greenlands Conservation Partnership helps conserve ecologically important natural areas and protect wetlands, grasslands and forests that help mitigate the effects of climate change. Through the Greenlands Conservation Partnership, a total of $50 million will be invested over four years, including $20 million from the Ontario government, and another $30 million from other sources, such as individual donations and foundation support through the NCC and the Ontario Land Trust Alliance, and other levels of government.
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