In a specially wrapped gift to Canadians for Canada Day, the Nature Conservancy of Canada is announcing the addition of several protected areas to its portfolio, including the Armstrong Property, Essex Forests and Wetlands in Southwestern Ontario.
The Nature Conservancy of Canada's special package of properties from the breadth of Canada is intended to raise awareness of partnership efforts to safeguard disappearing wildlife habitat. The properties include areas in: Cowichan Valley, British Columbia; Red Deer County, Alberta; Qu'Appelle River Valley, Saskatchewan; Whitemouth River Watershed, Manitoba; Essex County, Ontario; Gaspé, Quebec; Port Elgin, New Brunswick; Shelburne, Nova Scotia; Tignish, Prince Edward Island; and Codroy Valley, Newfoundland & Labrador.
One of the major partners in this instance is Environment Canada's Natural Areas Conservation Program, which is intended to provide assistance to non-profits such as the NCC to acquire important lands based on scientific criteria.
The Ontario representative in the package of properties, as an example, is the Armstrong, Essex Forests and Wetlands property. Located (Google maps) near Kingsville, Ontario on the north shore of Lake Erie at the mouth of Cedar Creek, it is a parcel of 317 acres.
One third of the area is forested; part is now under cultivation and it contains significant areas of natural wetland.
As Wendy Cridland, NCC Program Manager for Southwestern Ontario, notes "The Armstrong property was purchased in December 2009 as a result of a large fundraising effort. The land is very important from a strategic perspective -- as a provincially significant wetland it is an especially exciting opportunity to connect up to existing coastal wetlands."
The proximity of the property to other similar properties managed by the Essex Region Conservation Authority provides an even greater area of habitat for several species at risk, in this case the
Purple Twayblade, the Eastern Fox Snake and the Cerulean Warbler .
Now that the land is protected the goal is to allow the agricultural section to return to natural woodland, allowing for expansion of existing natural Carolinian species such as Shagbark Hickory, White Ash, Red Oak, Red Maple, White Oak, American Elm and Hop Hornbeam.
This is the ninth time that the Nature Conservancy of Canada has celebrated Canada Day with such a gift to Canadians.