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Black tern and turtle nesting sites get BQRAP funding boost

black ternThe Bay of Quinte Remedial Action Plan’s (BQRAP) Habitat Enhancement Program provided funding to help two species at risk that live around the Bay of Quinte. The funding will be used to build floating nesting platforms for black terns and to establish safer nesting sites for turtles.

The black tern is a small, boldly marked waterbird, with a black head, a forked tail, straight pointed bill, slender shape, and long narrow wings.

“They eat mainly insects, hovering just above the water as they pick their prey off the surface earning them the nickname, sea swallows,” explains Sarah Midlane-Jones, BQRAP’s communications officer. “Black terns breed mainly in the marshes along the edges of the Great Lakes including the Bay of Quinte. Black terns build floating nests in loose colonies in shallow marshes, especially in cattails. The nesting platforms will be placed in a recent wetland restoration project to encourage the birds to take up residence by providing suitable nesting habitat.”

Midlane-Jones said that in the hopes of reducing road mortalities, several turtle nesting sites will be constructed providing turtles with a safer place to lay their eggs, instead of the road side.

“Under Ontario’s Endangered Species Act, the black tern is a species of special concern and all of Ontario’s turtles are either listed as species of special concern or threatened – with the exception of the painted turtle,” she said.

Other funded projects include, eight waterway planting projects that will help improve water quality, provide shelter and food for wildlife, support spawning beds for fish, and the deep roots systems of native plant species help to prevent erosion and filter runoff. The two fencing projects will keep livestock away from shorelines, reducing erosion problems and keeps nutrients and bacterial contaminants from entering the water.

The BQRAP Habitat Enhancement Program provided funding assistance and technical support to 11 landowners around the Bay of Quinte for a total of $21,160. These projects will improve water quality and enhance, protect or restore habitat for fish and wildlife, helping to keep the Bay of Quinte a vibrant and healthy ecosystem.

There is some limited funding available, if you have a habitat project in mind and would like to find out if it’s eligible for funding assistance and technical support, contact:
Christine Jennings, Quinte Conservation, 613-968-3434 ext. 106,
Natalie Rosso, Lower Trent Conservation, 613-394-3915 ext. 245,

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