Long Point Biosphere: Ontario’s first Priority Place for conservation investment

Join “Maya” the Blanding’s Turtle for a tour of her home in the south western area of Norfolk County that was chosen as a top priority for conservation investment by the federal government over the next three years.

Designated as the Long Point Walsingham Forest Priority Place, Maya’s home is one of 11 such Priority Places in Canada and the only Priority Place identified in Ontario to date.

The LPWF Priority Place includes the Long Point Biosphere’s core areas on Long Point and Backus Woods, its buffer zone that includes the Big Creek National Wildlife Area and Turkey Point marshes and its zone of cooperation in the southwestern portion of Norfolk County.

It was selected by Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) because of its high biodiversity, large number of species at risk, the highly engaged local conservation community and the significant environmental threats. Since 2018 ECCC has been working with over 23 organizations to complete and implement a conservation action plan for the Priority Place.

As a Blanding’s Turtle that ranges from wetland to forest and field habitats, Maya can explain why her home is such a special place and the three top threats it faces. These include:

  • The invasive species, Phragmites australis (Common reed) is the number one threat to wetland biodiversity.
  • The loss of Tallgrass Prairie habitat, a critical part of our ecosystem that requires regular controlled burning to maintain.
  • Road Mortality: The number one threat to the many and highly diverse populations of reptiles and amphibians here.

But Maya also says there’s an opportunity to work with local farmers in supporting sustainable agriculture practices and reducing agricultural runoff. Much progress has already been made as farmers work with Alternative Land Use Services (ALUS) program to sustain agriculture and natural spaces.

Research and conservation database

In addition to telling Maya’s story, the Long Point World Biosphere Reserve Foundation has collaborated with the Canadian Wildlife Service, Norfolk County, the local conservation community and universities to create and host a single “one stop” database for sharing research and conservation information about the Long Point Walsingham Forest area and all of Norfolk County.

Metadata available for download

The information in the mapping application above is available for download as various datasets in the hope that this info will be of use for projects of other conservation organizations.


The Long Point World Biosphere Reserve Foundation promotes research, monitoring, community outreach and education, partnerships, and projects that support the goals of biodiversity, conservation and sustainable communities in Norfolk County. We exchange information and work collaboratively with the Canadian Biosphere Reserves Association, as well as other biosphere reserves in Canada and around the world.

For more information. please contact Rick Levick at president@longpointbiosphere.com or 416-723-2910.

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