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Nature Conservancy of Canada conserves important wilderness near Kingston

February 2, 2023
Kingston, ON

 

The Nature Conservancy of Canada is expanding the protection of one of the most important forest corridors east of the Rocky Mountains. The charitable land trust has purchased 75 hectares of forests, wetlands and granite ridges north of Kingston and within the Frontenac Arch Biosphere. NCC makes this announcement on the occasion of World Wetlands Day. This area will be left undeveloped for the benefit of nature and adds to NCC’s nature reserve in the Loughborough Wilderness Block. NCC now owns and protects 1,636 hectares in this area, which is situated in the heart of the Frontenac Arch Natural Area.

With over 72 per cent forest cover, the Frontenac Arch is a strip of rocky outcrops, wetlands and forests that connects the northern forests of Algonquin with the Adirondack Mountains of New York State. It forms a critical habitat linkage between the hardwood and mixed forests of Ontario with the Appalachian Mountain chain of eastern North America. This serves as a vital corridor that allows wildlife to move over long distances, rather than being cut off in isolated pockets.
The wetlands in this area are listed as provincially significant. At-risk species on the property include cerulean warbler (endangered), a forest songbird with an estimated population of 1,000 in Canada. It is also home to grey ratsnake (threatened), Ontario’s largest snake at up to two metres long. The non-venomous grey ratsnake is threatened due to habitat loss and fragmentation. Over 200 bird species also have been documented in the Frontenac Arch Natural Area by researchers at the Queen’s University Biological Station.  

This land conservation project was funded in part by the Government of Canada, Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Nature Smart Climate Solutions Fund, the Government of Ontario through the Greenlands Conservation Partnership, the North American Wetlands Conservation Act of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and many generous donors and foundations.

These projects highlight how NCC is accelerating the pace of conservation in Canada. In the past two years alone, NCC 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, the organization 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. When nature thrives, we all thrive.

Quotes

“The Nature Conservancy of Canada has worked with partners and supporters to conserve important habitats in the Frontenac Arch for over 20 years. The latest 75-hectare addition in the Loughborough Wilderness connects with several other conservation properties, creating a large block of protected land. The Frontenac Arch is a place of extraordinary beauty and biodiversity; caring for it today will help ensure its protection for the future.” – Rob McRae, Program Director for Eastern Ontario, Nature Conservancy of Canada

“Canada is fortunate to be home to 24 per cent of the world’s wetlands, 25 per cent of temperate rainforest areas and 28 per cent of remaining boreal forests. These ecosystems are globally significant as they absorb carbon, mitigate against the impacts of climate change and protect biodiversity.” – The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change

“The Frontenac Arch is an important land bridge linking the habitats of the Algonquin and Adirondack Park regions. First Nations call the Frontenac Arch the ‘backbone of the mother’—Mother Nature’s spinal column. The Nature Conservancy of Canada’s continued support to protect land in this region will help conserve biodiversity and ecosystems for generations to come.” – Mark Gerretsen, Member of Parliament for Kingston and the Islands

“I am proud of the work we’ve done alongside the Nature Conservancy of Canada and its partners to safeguard our province’s vital resources and greenspaces. The Frontenac Arch is a unique and vital habitat for a variety of wildlife, including several species at risk, which is why investing in conservation projects like this is important for the future of Ontario’s biodiversity. Our government’s investment in this project, through the Greenlands Conservation Partnership, will help NCC add 75 hectares (more than 185 acres) — the size of nearly 100 soccer fields —  of protected forests and wetlands.” – The Honourable David Piccini, Ontario Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks

Facts

  • The Frontenac Arch is on the traditional territories of the Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee. After the War of Independence and War of 1812, this was one of the first places settled by early Empire Loyalists. During this time, many Indigenous Peoples relocated to the Frontenac Arch from other areas due to the upheaval brought about by war.
  • NCC’s next step is to develop a property management plan, which will identify conservation priorities and explore how people may use this property for passive recreational uses.
  • This land purchase in the Fontenac Arch is one of the projects that NCC is undertaking with its three year funding of $7.6 million from Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Nature Smart Climate Solutions Fund.
  • Fewer than 30 per cent of Ontario’s original wetlands remain today in southern Ontario, and in some areas, that number drops to below 20 per cent.

About

The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is the country’s unifying force for nature. We seek solutions to the twin crises of rapid biodiversity loss and climate change through large-scale, permanent land conservation. As a trusted partner, we work with people, communities, businesses, and government to protect and care for our most important natural areas. Since 1962, we have brought Canadians together to conserve and restore more than 15 million hectares. NCC is a registered charity. With nature, we build a thriving world. To learn more, visit natureconservancy.ca.

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.

Canada’s Nature Smart Climate Solutions Fund (NSCSF) is a $631 million, ten-year investment to help restore and enhance wetlands, peatlands, and grasslands in order to help tackle the dual crises of climate change and biodiversity loss. NSCSF will focus on three main objectives: (1) restoring degraded ecosystems; (2) improving land management practices, especially in agriculture, forestry, and urban development sectors; and (3) conserving carbon-rich ecosystems at high risk of conversion to other uses that would release their stored carbon. Overall, these projects will contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and increased carbon sequestration, while also providing benefits for biodiversity and human wellbeing.

The North American Waterfowl Management Plan (NAWMP) is a tri-national (Canada, United States of America, and Mexico) partnership, composed of federal, state, provincial, territorial and municipal governments, non-governmental organizations, industry, and private individuals. The NAWMP has laid the foundation for international cooperation in the recovery of declining waterfowl populations by securing, restoring, and sustainably managing wetlands and associated upland habitats.

For photos, click here.

North American Waterfowl Management Plan: https://nawmp.wetlandnetwork.ca/

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Media Contact:

Tara King
Communications Director, Ontario
C: 416-937-5079

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Funding provided by Environment and Climate Change Canada