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Nature Conservancy Canada and partners protect more of County’s undeveloped shoreline

MapleCross shoreline reserve on the south shore of Prince Edward County

The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) and its partners today announced the creation of a new 55-hectare (135-acre) nature reserve – the MapleCross Coastline Reserve – on the south shore of Prince Edward County.

“We are very grateful for the work of volunteers from the Hastings Prince Edward Land Trust, who helped with local fundraising for this acquisition. There has been great local support for this project,” said Mark Stabb, program director for central Ontario east, NCC.

The national not-for-profit, private land conservation organization, in collaboration with the Hastings Prince Edward Land Trust (HPELT), purchased the important piece of the local conservation puzzle. HPELT was instrumental in helping engage the community and assist with fundraising efforts for the project.

The MapleCross Coastline Reserve is a collection of undeveloped shoreline, coastal wetland, forest, alvar and grassland habitats. This conservation success was made possible thanks in part to generous match funding from the MapleCross Fund.

The property contains 16 hectares (40 acres) of rare costal wetland — part of the Provincially Significant South Bay Coastal Wetland — that provides a buffer against local flooding as well as habitat for migratory birds, turtles, frogs and fish.

The property is located in the Prince Edward County South Shore Important Bird and Biodiversity Area. The site provides vital stopover habitat for a wide variety of migratory birds. The surrounding area is also home to a variety of resident and migratory bat species, such as endangered little brown myotis, along with big brown bat, hoary bat, migratory silver-haired bat and eastern red bat.

The latest in a series of new protected areas on the south coast of Prince Edward County, the MapleCross Coastline Reserve adds to a network of conservation lands, which includes the:
560-hectare (1,400-acre) Prince Edward Point National Wildlife Area, managed by Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Canadian Wildlife Service;
198-hectare (490-acre) Miller Family Nature Reserve, owned and stewarded by HPELT;
95-hectare (234-acre) Ducks Unlimited Canada property at Gravelly Point;
31-hectare (76-acre) NCC Hudgin-Rose property; and
15-hectares (38-acre) Mark Bass Nature Reserve.

National Wildlife Areas are created and managed for the purposes of wildlife conservation, research, and interpretation. Environment and Climate Change Canada’s National Wildlife Areas protect more than 2.1 million hectares of habitat with over three-quarters of that area protecting marine habitat.

This newest land conservation project was made possible with funding from the Government of Canada, through the Natural Heritage Conservation Program, part of Canada’s Nature Fund. These funds were matched by the MapleCross Fund, Hastings Prince Edward Land Trust, the Gosling Foundation, the Consecon Foundation, Kingston Field Naturalists, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, through the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, and many additional generous donors.

“Wetlands are among the most productive and important ecosystems on earth,” said Mike Hendren, regional-vice-president for Ontario, NCC. “They provide habitat for wildlife, act as nurseries for fish, reduce flooding and clean our water. That’s why it’s so important to protect those that we have left here along Lake Ontario’s coast.”

“Having lived in proximity of the Great Lakes for many years, Dr. Jan Oudenes and Dr. Isobel Ralston of the MapleCross Fund, have become increasingly aware of their uniqueness and splendour, as well as their fragility.

“Together, we are committed to restoring and preserving the integrity of our land for our community and for all Canadians,” they said in a statement.

“Through the Canada Nature Fund’s Natural Heritage Conservation Program, our government is proud to support projects like this one, which help us reach our goal of conserving a quarter of Canada’s lands by 2025,” added Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change.

The NCC is the nation’s leading not-for-profit, private land conservation organization, working to protect natural areas and the species they sustain. Since 1962, NCC and its partners have helped to protect 14 million hectares (35 million acres), coast-to-coast-to-coast, with more than 84,000 hectares (207,000 acres) in Ontario. To learn more, visit natureconservancy.ca.

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