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The Couchiching Conservancy

Acquisition and Stewardship Activities for the
Black River Wildlands Corridor

Eastern hog-nosed snake (Heterodon platirhinos)
Blanding’s turtle (Emydoidea blandingii)
Eastern musk turtle (Sternotherus odoratus)
Spotted turtle (Clemmys guttata)

couchiching conservancy logo

Project Details

Project Title: Acquisition and Stewardship Activities for the Black River Wildlands Corridor 
Funding Recipient: The Couchiching Conservancy
Funding Awarded: $50,000 (single-year)
Targeted Species at Risk: Eastern hog-nosed snake, Blanding’s turtle, Eastern musk turtle and Spotted turtle
Project Partners: Echo Foundation, Gosling Foundation, McLean Foundation, Nature Conservancy of Canada, Environment and Climate Change Canada
Project Status:

Project Summary

Since mid-2019, the Couchiching Conservancy, with support from numerous partners and landowners, has been advancing a multi-year acquisition and stewardship campaign focused on the Black River Wildlands Corridor (the Corridor). The Corridor contains a richly diverse habitat characterized by an active river and bordering woodlands that altogether provide habitat to numerous eastern Georgian Bay species at risk (SAR). Containing an ideal mix of crown land, park land and potential conservation land to facilitate a natural corridor, the Couchiching Conservancy is working to preserve the Corridor to eventually create links to a broad swath of wild space that connects Algonquin Park to the north, the Kawartha Lakes to the south-east and Georgian Bay to the west. 

In 2020, the Couchiching Conservancy received $50,000 in Eastern Georgian Bay Initiative (EGBI) funds from GMI to advance their Corridor conservation efforts and subsequently support conservation and recovery of eastern Georgian Bay SAR species and habitats. Since mid-2019, the EGBI funds have helped the Couchiching Conservancy create four new nature reserves inside the Corridor and begin negotiations with two more landowners for future protections of additional EGBI-listed SAR. Three of the properties acquired (or to be acquired in 2021) contain EGBI-protected SAR or SAR habitat; details are summarized below: 

The Marley Nature Reserve is a 77-acre property created in January 2021 located off the south bank of the Black River and adjacent to Queen Elizabeth II Provincial Park.   

The Dr. Ron Taylor Nature Reserve is a 175-acre property created in July 2020 on the north side of the Black River, adjacent to Queen Elizabeth II Wildlands Provincial Park.   

The Nicholson Property is a 100-acre property anticipated to be transferred to the Couchiching Conservancy in Fall 2021. It is located near the Head River on the south shore inside the Corridor. 

The COVID-19 pandemic slowed project progress by limiting community outreach and volunteer efforts, however property acquisition targets are still on track. Activities planned for 2021 include the establishment of an additional (fifth) nature reserve within the Corridor and renewed efforts to build partnerships with local Indigenous communities, landowners, and volunteers.  

2021 Project Recap