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.

Turtle Nest Covers Available

This year’s high water levels on Lake Erie are causing turtles to look for high and dry nesting sites in lawns, gardens and driveways… where they can easily be found and predated by raccoons, possums and other varmints. 

The Long Point Biosphere is again offering turtles nest cover protection covers on loan to folks who spot a turtle making a nest on their property. The nest covers are available from the gatehouse at the “new” Provincial Park and can be returned in early fall when the nests have hatched.  Park staff will take the names and contact info of people who borrow the covers and will provide the following instruction pamphlet.

Turtle Nests and Nest Protection

Nesting Turtles Seeking Higher Ground

In addition to wandering onto Long Point roads, turtles are going to be looking for nesting sites in cottage lawns, gardens and driveways… where they can easily be found and predated by raccoons, possums and other varmints. 

The Long Point World Biosphere Reserve is again offering turtle nest protection covers on loan to folks who spot a turtle making a nest on their property. The nest covers are available from the gatehouse at the new Provincial Park and can be returned in early fall when the nests have hatched.  Park staff will take the names and contact info of people who borrow the covers and will provide an instruction pamphlet.

To read more about turtle nests and nest protection, click here.

 

Wildlife in Danger on Causeway

Drivers cautioned when crossing the Long Point Causeway

The Long Point World Biosphere Reserve Foundation (LPWBRF) is asking residents, cottagers and visitors driving to Long Point to slow down and be extra watchful for wildlife on the causeway leading to the beachfront community.

This year’s extremely high lake levels, combined with storm surges, have severely damaged sections of the barrier fencing intended to keep wildlife from wandering across the road. That means drivers could encounter turtles, snakes, frogs and other animals on the roadway – a rare sight since the six kilometres of fencing and 12 wildlife culverts were installed over the past 10 years.

“The cool spring weather has somewhat delayed wildlife movement, including female turtles searching for nesting sites. But as the weather warms,  animals will start moving en masse to their preferred summer locations,” said LPWBRF President Rick Levick.

Levick noted that drivers crossing the Causeway have already seen the unusual sight of dozens of muskrats wandering along the shoulders of the road – evidence of the disruption caused by high water levels in the marshes on either side of the road.  Several muskrats have been killed by vehicles in the past few weeks

Norfolk County and the LPWBRF have again set up an electronic message sign at the north end of the Causeway to remind drivers to watch for wildlife on the road. The LPWBRF will begin making repairs to the fencing over the next couple of weeks.

“We’ve struggled to keep the fencing in good repair since the last two culverts were installed in 2017 but there’s a limit to what a volunteer organization can manage and afford,” said Levick. “That’s why we are very pleased that Norfolk County has committed to maintaining the culverts and fencing after the Causeway road reconstruction is completed in 2020-21”.

Levick urged drivers who encounter wildlife on the road to be patient and wait for them to cross.  Slow moving animals like turtles can also be carried across the road in the direction they are heading, but only when it is safe to do so.

Long Point Biosphere Director John Everett scoops up a large snapping turtle to carry it to safety across the Causeway. Snapping turtles should be handled with care,,,,, as their name suggests,,,,

 

In related news,,,,

Due to predicted rainstorms, the workshop on building turtle nest protection boxes at the Long Point Provincial Park, scheduled for Saturday, May 25 will now be held on Sunday, May 26 at 9 am.  Anyone wishing to participate should go to the Park Office to obtain a temporary pass to enter the day use area where the workshop will be held.

Turtle nest protection boxes will again be available for loan this year and may be picked up at the Park Office.

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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

 

 

2019 Research and Conservation Conference Registration NOW OPEN!

Due to overwhelming response in 2018, the Long Point World Biosphere Reserve Foundation has opened early registration for the 2019 Research and Conservation Conference to be held on November 8, 2019 at the Simcoe Recreation Centre.

Our annual Conference is an excellent opportunity for academic and student researchers, government agencies, members of NGOs and the public to take part in a lively exchange of ideas related to local environmental sustainability and conservation.

Space is limited, so complete the registration form and process your registration fee today!

For registration information, registration form and payment click here.

Long Point World Biosphere Reserve Spearheads Data Management and Geospatial Mapping Project

Thanks to a grant from Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC), Long Point World Biosphere Reserve Foundation is spearheading a program that will facilitate the sharing and communication of data with partners and the wider community within Ontario’s Priority Place, Long Point Walsingham Forest.  This will enable more efficient assessments on the current status of ecosystems in the Priority Place and monitoring of long term data.  It will also assist with communicating the collective conservation efforts in the area.
A workshop was held on January 16 that included input from 25 registrants that consisted of board members from the Long Point World Biosphere Reserve Foundation, local and provincial governments and more than a dozen local conservation organizations.
Activities will include completion of a geospatial mapping platform and an ESRI Story Map communicating the conservation story of the Priority Place through visually appealing maps, narrative text, images and multimedia content.These activities are expected to result in conservation and protection of Canada’s wildlife and habitat, as well as recover species at risk.

Black – Priority Place Boundary

Yellow – Biosphere Reserve Buffer Zone

Purple – Norfolk Forest Complex