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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)

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Project Details

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

Project Summary

In 2020, the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) kicked off five years of GMI’s Eastern Georgian Bay Initiative (EGBI) funding allotted to improve Species at Risk habitat in Ontario’s eastern Georgian Bay region. During Year 2 of the project, NCC continued collaboration with project partner Georgian Bay Land Trust to progress Phragmites management and control efforts along the eastern Georgian Bay coastline.

In the eastern Georgian Bay ecosystem, invasive Phragmites forms monocultures that degrade habitat and reduce or exclude natural food sources for many animal species, including six species at risk (SAR): Massasauga rattlesnake, Eastern foxsnake, Eastern hog-nosed snake, Blanding’s turtle, and Eastern musk turtle. From human perspectives, Phragmites can also impede access to recreation areas, block viewscapes, and lower property values for local home and cottage owners.

Phragmites control efforts initiated in 2020 were continued in 2021 at three key sites: Giant’s Tomb Island, Port Severn Wetlands, and on Ogemawahj Road on the Moose Deer Point First Nation Reserve. Additionally, a new quarter acre location of Phragmites was controlled at Bands Island. Over the summer months, project staff and partners completed monitoring and effects assessments which demonstrated that the control method used in 2020 control efforts are showing little-to-no re-growth after one year. 

NCC also advanced public education and knowledge sharing through creation of a GIS Collector Project where Phragmites data can be stored and viewed by others. More than 500km of roadside mapping was conducted which will help to build a robust dataset that can be used by NCC, Georgian Bay Land Trust, and other local and regional organizations. 

Similar to Year 1 of the project, the COVID-19 pandemic limited opportunities to work with First Nations communities but NCC hired a new Program Director who underwent Indigenous Engagement training late in 2021 and will progress this important aspect of the project in the coming years.

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



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