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Nature Conservancy of Canada

Species at Risk Habitat Conservation and Protection

Massasauga rattlesnake (Sistrurus catenatus)
Eastern foxsnake (Panterophis gloydi)
Eastern hog-nosed snake (Heterodon platirhinos)
Blanding’s turtle (Emydoidea blandingii)
Eastern musk turtle (Sternotherus odoratus)
Spotted turtle (Clemmys guttata)

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Project Details

Project Title: Species at Risk Habitat Conservation and Protection
Funding Recipient: Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC)
Funding Awarded: $137,285 over 5 years
Targeted Species at Risk: Massasauga rattlesnake, Eastern foxsnake, Eastern hog-nosed snake, Blanding’s turtle, Eastern musk turtle and Spotted turtle
Project Status: Ongoing (Five-year duration, 2020-2024)

Project Summary

2020 marked the first of five years of GMI’s Eastern Georgian Bay Initiative funding allotted to the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) to improve Species at Risk habitat along eastern Georgian Bay.  In partnership with the Georgian Bay Land Trust (GBLT), NCC made progress building capacity through relationships with local First Nations and advanced activities to address invasive European Common Reed (Phragmites australis ssp. Australis), commonly referred to as Phragmites, in the eastern Georgian Bay region. 

Phragmites monocultures degrade habitat and outcompete natural food sources for multiple wildlife species, from birds to threatened and endangered reptiles and amphibians in eastern Georgian Bay, including six Species at Risk: Massasauga rattlesnake (Sistrurus catenatus), Eastern foxsnake (Pantherophis gloydi), Eastern hog-nosed snake (Heterodon platirhinos), Blanding’s turtle (Emydoidea blandingii), Eastern musk turtle (Sternotherus odoratus), and Spotted turtle (Clemmys guttata).  In addition to destroying natural habitat and degrading food sources for SAR species, Phragmites can obstruct access to recreation areas, impede viewscapes and lower property values for local communities. 

NCC activities in 2020 were hindered by the COVID-19 pandemic but progress to combat invasive Phragmites still took place; highlights include: 

  • Local First Nations groups including Moose Deer Point and Wasauksing were consulted as part of pursuing opportunities to work together on conservation initiatives,
  • Over 350 patches of Phragmites on highways and shorelines between Port Severn and Parry Sound were mapped,
  • Eight acres of Phragmites at four key sites were controlled,
  • Phragmites sites controlled in 2019 were monitored and assessed for effectiveness, and
  • Public education and outreach materials including an instructional video on how members of the public can identify and control Phragmites were initiated.

Collectively, these actions contribute to a growing body of citizens with the knowledge and tools to meaningfully support SAR habitat conservation in the eastern Georgian Bay region, and ultimately support and maintain a healthier, more diverse ecosystem capable of sustaining eastern Georgian Bay SAR. 

2021 Project Presentation

Further Details

For more information on the Species at Risk Habitat Conservation and Protection Project, please visit the links below.

Nature Conservancy of Canada Website
Georgian Bay Land Trust Website
Species at Risk Conservation and Protection 2020 Interim Report

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