Our staff have been working hard to evaluate the possibility of establishing a new conservation reserve.
Ostrander Crown Land Block and Point Petre Provincial Wildlife Area are two ecologically significant areas along the southern shore of Prince Edward County.
They are currently designated as provincial Crown land, managed by the Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry.
These are areas used for waterfowl hunting, hiking, recreational motorized vehicles, birdwatching, and other recreational activities that all Ontarians are welcome to enjoy.
The South Shore is recognized as a unique and globally significant Important Bird and Biodiversity Area and an International Monarch Butterfly Reserve.
Could a conservation reserve designation help protect these uses and values?
The Ministry of the Environment, Conservation, and Parks proposes that designating the area as a conservation reserve would help strengthen the long-term protection and health of local wildlife and ecosystems (and invites your feedback!).
Evaluating ecological values
Our journey into creating a new conservation reserve began with the inspiring conservation efforts of both the South Shore Joint Initiative, a not-for-profit coalition working to protect the Important Bird and Biodiversity Area in the South Shore of Prince Edward County, and the Nature Conservancy of Canada, who acquired and is managing privately protected areas in the region.
Since then, our staff along with partners have been working tirelessly to complete an ecological assessment and evaluation of the site.
Based on everything we know, the sites meet the criteria needed to be considered as candidate protected areas!
However, our work is just beginning. We’re continuing to work with the Nature Conservancy of Canada to evaluate both Ostrander Crown Land Block and Point Petre Provincial Wildlife Area to gain better information about what values are present.
So far, we know these areas:
- provide habitat for at-risk turtles
- contain globally rare alvar ecosystems, extremes where floods are followed by drought and plants are uniquely adapted to deal with these harsh conditions
- are part of a network of public and private protected areas in southern Prince Edward County – providing connected habitats for wildlife and approximately 12 km of undeveloped Lake Ontario shoreline
- contain provincially and regionally significant features not protected elsewhere in the area, including a provincially significant wetland
- are part of an internationally recognized Important Bird Area for migratory birds, which cross the expanse of Lake Ontario in the spring and fall. Several species-at-risk birds are known to use the area as well
- are global monarch butterfly hotspots, important for their migration.
What a conservation reserve designation does
If these areas become regulated as a conservation reserve under the Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves Act, 2006, the land would continue to provide opportunities to enjoy their natural beauty, including hiking, fishing, hunting, and birdwatching.
More importantly, this designation would help strengthen the long-term protection and health of its local wildlife and ecosystems.
As with all of Ontario’s conservation reserves, our aim is to provide protection of their unique features and species and provide outdoor recreation and other existing uses for generations to come.
Want to share your comments?
Please go to the Environmental Registry of Ontario and have your say!