Today’s post comes from Natural Heritage Education Leader David Bree at Presqu’ile Provincial Park.
It was a wet year for provincial parks in 2017.
If you visited Lake Ontario this spring, you know water levels reached record highs. By early May, the lake was 10 cm higher than the highest it had ever been since records started in 1918. This is also a full metre higher than average.
The damage this caused has been well-documented. At Presqu’ile Provincial Park, we had flooded facilities, lost land to erosion, and had to close for four weeks in June to prevent more damage to our soggy landscape.
The flood was certainly an inconvenience to us, but what effect did it have on the nature and wildlife of the park?
Continue reading The year of high water at Presqu’ile
Congratulations to Wasaga Beach Provincial Park (WBPP) staff, the many volunteers and the Friends of Nancy Island and Wasaga Beach Park for receiving the prestigious Environmental Commissioner of Ontario’s (ECO) 2013 Recognition Award for their role in protecting the endangered Piping Plovers.
Listed as an endangered species in Canada and the United States, the arrival of the Piping Plovers at Wasaga Beach in 2006 marked a significant turning point as this species had not successfully nested on the Canadian Great Lakes for over 30 years, and had no breeding success at the park in over 70 years.
The Wasaga Beach Provincial Park Piping Plover Program has been helping to foster awareness, appreciation and understanding of the plight of the Piping Plovers in the Great Lakes region for six consecutive years. The program attracted support from many volunteers and community partners. Together the WBPP staff and the Piping Plover Guardians, a group of 40-80 volunteers who work three-hour shifts, monitor the Piping Plovers and protect them from predators daily. And, they do it every day in the middle of one of Ontario’s busiest beaches from spring until late August.
Last year there were 66 breeding pairs in the Great Lakes population of which five were on the Canadian side in Ontario with two nests at Wasaga Beach. Thanks to the tireless efforts of WBPP staff, the volunteers and the community partners, the 2013 program’s success rate was the highest since its inception: 63 per cent of the eggs hatched into fledgling chicks. This is a vast improvement over the 25 per cent average survival rate of Piper Plovers in the wild.
Keep up the great work!
Did You Know?
- The ECO’s Recognition Award acknowledges ministries that best meet the goals of the Environmental Bill of Rights, 1993 (EBR) or use the best internal EBR practices.
- WBPP staff monitor the entire 14 km of beachfront starting early in the spring watching for the arrival of piping plovers. Once pair bonds are established, staff monitor courtship and breeding.
- After a single, sand-coloured egg is discovered; staff set up a perimeter fence and the area is closed for 50 metres either side of the egg. A predator enclosure is installed after the fourth egg is laid – this ensures the nest is protected from predators.
- Park staff and Piping Plover Guardians then monitor the plovers on a daily basis from 8 am – 8 pm until the plovers’ departure in late August.
Back in June we reported that there were two Piping plover nests at the park’s Beach Area One. Each nest had four eggs and all of the eggs have since hatched. Unfortunately three chicks did not survive. Two were lost to predation and one to illness. Continue reading Plover Chicks Take Flight at Wasaga Beach Provincial Park
Two Piping plover nests at Beach Area 1 are being monitored by Ontario Parks staff and our dedicated guardian volunteers. For the last few weeks the adult plovers have been taking turns incubating the eggs and park staff believe there are four eggs in each nest. Continue reading Plover Update At Wasaga Beach Provincial Park
In May of 2010, the Piping plovers returned once again to Wasaga Beach Provincial Park – for the third year in a row! The spring and summer of 2010 has been both rewarding and challenging, as four nests were lost as the result of natural predation and weather. Continue reading Protecting the Piping Plover
Wasaga Beach Provincial Park is thrilled to announce that the four plover chicks (born June 10th) survived their first six weeks at the park. Continue reading Plover is the word…What a success!
The two Piping Plover chicks that recently hatched in Wasaga Beach are in great health thanks to the efforts of park staff and the volunteers who are working around the clock monitoring these rare migratory birds. Continue reading Piping Plover Update
Park staff at Wasaga Beach Provincial Park are looking for volunteers to assist with protecting recently hatched Piping Plover chicks.
Piping Plovers are one of Canada’s rarest birds and are under immediate threat of extinction. They have been listed as an endangered species and are protected under Ontario’s new Endangered Species Act. Continue reading Piping Plovers Need Your Help!