Nature Conservancy of Canada Expands Protection of Key Wetlands in Brighton

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Eastern Lake Ontario coast globally important for bird conservation

The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) has conserved an additional 30 hectares to increase the protection of important wetlands for migratory birds in the eastern Lake Ontario coast area.

The Brighton Wetland is a large, intact coastal wetland located just east of Presqu’ile Provincial Park. It is part of the Presqu’ile Bay Wetland Complex, a Provincially Significant Wetland, and the

Presqu’ile Bay Important Bird Area, a globally important area for bird conservation.

This new addition expands the network of protected Lake Ontario coastal wetlands and surrounding forest and grassland around Presqu’ile Bay to 153 hectares. TheBrighton Wetland provides habitat for many species at risk, including Blanding’s turtle (threatened) and king rail (endangered).

Tens of thousands of birds, like geese and ducks, stop, rest, nest and feed in sheltered areas of Presqu’ile Bay during their spring migration. Least bittern, wood thrush, pied-billed grebe and eastern wood-pewee are just some of the many species that have been observed here. The wetlands function as an important fish nursery and several at-risk turtle species are also found in this undisturbed area.

NCC’s next step is to develop a property management plan, which will identify conservation priorities, habitat restorationopportunities and explore ways people can use this area for passive recreation. The non-profit conservation organizationis now raising money to enhance the visitor experience — with signage, trails, viewing platforms and benches — so that people can enjoy and appreciate nature.

This project highlights 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.

This land conservation project was funded in part by the Government of Canada, through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario, the Government of Ontario through the Greenlands Conservation Partnership, the North American Wetlands Conservation Act of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Lloyd and Donna Thurston, Gordon Tobey Developments Ltd., Audrey E. Wilson and other generous donors and foundations.

This conservation project included a purchase and a donation of land. The land donation was enabled by the Government of Canada’s Ecological Gifts Program. This program provides enhanced tax incentives for individuals or corporations who donate ecologically significant land.

“The local community has been very supportive of our conservation efforts in the Brighton area, and it is exciting to share this news about expanded wetland protection in the community. ” – Mark Stabb – Program Director for Central Ontario East, Nature Conservancy of Canada

“Ontario is blessed with incredibly diverse natural heritage, like the Brighton Wetland — a critical coastal wetland habitat in the province and home to a variety of wildlife and several species at risk. Ontario is proud to partner to protect this ecologically important natural area and other wetlands like these that are critical to preserving the future of Ontario’s biodiversity for generations to come.” – The Honourable David Piccini, Ontario’s Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks

• Lands around eastern Lake Ontario are on the traditional territories of the Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee Peoples. With gratitude and respect, we acknowledge the significant contributions that Indigenous Peoples have, and continue to make, on these lands.

• 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.

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.

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Pete Fisher
Author: Pete Fisher

Has been a photojournalist for over 30-years and have been honoured to win numerous awards for photography and writing over the years. Best selling author for the book Highway of Heroes - True Patriot Love

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