Protection of Windmill Ranch near Orillia

Prairie SmokeNATURE CONSERVANCY OF CANADA AND ONTARIO GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCE PROTECTION OF WINDMILL RANCH

Globally Threatened Habitat Critical To Survival Of Rare Species

ORILLIA – The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC), the Ontario government and other partners have protected the biologically diverse Windmill Ranch on the Carden Alvar, an important habitat for species at risk, Ric Symmes, NCC’s Georgian Bay-Huronia program manager, and Natural Resources Minister David Ramsay announced today. The Carden Alvar is located about an hour and a half northeast of Toronto, near Lake Simcoe.

“There are very few places on earth like the Carden Alvar. The Nature Conservancy of Canada, the Ministry of Natural Resources and our conservation partners, including the Couchiching Conservancy, have saved 650 hectares at Windmill Ranch,” said Symmes.

“Protecting Windmill Ranch is a vital step forward in conserving Ontario’s natural biodiversity, including species at risk,” said Ramsay. “I am pleased that by working with NCC and other conservation organizations, we have secured this special place – part of the Ontario government’s commitment to protect Ontario’s rich variety of plants, animals and ecosystems.”

NCC and MNR’s Great Lakes Conservation Blueprint for Biodiversity identifies the Carden Alvar as a biodiversity hotspot and a vital part of Ontario’s natural heritage. The 650-hectare (1,600-acres) Windmill Ranch is an outstanding example of globally threatened alvar habitat – a limestone plain with few trees and thin or no soil. This type of habitat is critical to the survival of globally rare species, including the Eastern Loggerhead Shrike – an endangered species – and unique alvar plants such as the Prairie Smoke and Early Buttercup.

NCC is a non-profit, non-advocacy organization that takes a business-like approach to land conservation and the protection of biological diversity. Its plan of action involves partnership-building and entering into creative conservation solutions with any individual, corporation, community group, conservation organization or government body that shares its passion. Since 1962, NCC and its supporters have protected more than 765,000 hectares (1.9 million acres) of ecologically significant land nationwide.

Windmill Ranch was purchased through the Ontario Parks-NCC Legacy Program, a partnership focused on securing ecologically significant lands to help complete Ontario’s system of protected areas. It will be owned and managed by Ontario Parks. In 2003, NCC, the Ministry of Natural Resources, the Couchiching Conservancy, the Ontario Field Ornithologists and the Toronto Ornithological Club acquired the adjacent, 1,160-hectare (2,870-acre) Cameron Ranch. The two properties now form a 1,900-hectare (4,700-acre) protected area.

Related Information

Backgrounder: WINDMILL RANCH, CARDEN ALVAR

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Media Enquiries
Steve Payne
Communications Services Branch
416-314-2103

Erica Thompson
Communications Coordinator
Nature Conservancy of Canada
1-877-343-3532, Ext 222; 705-466-6533
erica.thompson@natureconservancy.ca

Ric Symmes
Georgian Bay-Huronia Program Manager
Nature Conservancy of Canada, Ontario Region
705-327-8075
ric.symmes@natureconservancy.ca
General Enquiries
Natural Resources Information Centre
1-800-667-1940
TTY 1-866-686-6072 (Hearing Impaired)