Federal support for partners in Long Point, Ontario
Long Point, in southern Ontario, is the largest freshwater sand spit in the world, making it an important refuge and stopover for migrating birds in fall and spring. Its delicate dunes, marshes, and wetlands are rich in biodiversity, teeming with songbirds, spawning fish, turtles, and frogs. To that end, Environment and Climate Change Canada supports the collaboration of conservation partners in the Long Point Walsingham Forest Priority Place. This collaboration is to conserve this ecologically significant region because of its value for protecting biodiversity in the densely populated southern Ontario region. To date, Environment and Climate Change Canada has invested nearly $4.8 million in this Priority Place since 2018.
Sections of the Long Point area are protected by several conservation tools, including two national wildlife areas, two provincial parks, a conservation reserve, and several nature reserves managed by governments and local conservation organizations, to name a few. The area is also home to a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve/Region, a nationally and internationally recognized Important Bird Area, a Key Biodiversity Area, a Monarch reserve, and a Ramsar site signifying wetlands of international importance. The Long Point World Biosphere Reserve/Region and Birds Canada are two of many partners in the Long Point Walsingham Forest Priority Place collaboration, and are also involved in conservation in the area outside of this program.
Long Point Biosphere Reserve
The Long Point Biosphere Reserve/Region was designated by UNESCO in April 1986. It was the third in Canada at the time and is now one of 19 biosphere reserves across the country.
The Long Point Biosphere Reserve/Region provides habitat to approximately 88 listed species at risk in the area, including the Eastern Fox Snake (threatened), Prothonotary Warbler (endangered), Blanding’s Turtle (endangered), the American Badger (endangered), and the Eastern Flowering Dogwood (endangered).
Environment and Climate Change Canada has supported the Long Point Biosphere Reserve/Region by investing in a number of projects that align with the Government of Canada’s priorities, including the following:
- Through Priority Place, the Long Point Biosphere Reserve/Region participates as a member of both the Road Ecology Working Group and the Forests and Treed Swamps Working Group, as well as coordinating outreach initiatives for all partners collaborating with Priority Place.
- Since 2018, over $660,000 has been awarded to the Long Point Biosphere Reserve/Region under the Canada Nature Fund to implement Priority Place activities, such as installing infrastructure and signage to reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions and supporting analysis of forest composition and connectivity.
- The Long Point Biosphere Reserve/Region is advancing a new initiative, along with many organizations across Canada, to contribute to Canada’s goal to conserve 30 percent of land and water by 2030. The initiative hopes to qualify areas within the biosphere reserve’s buffer zone as Other Effective area-based Conservation Measures.
Founded as the Long Point Bird Observatory in 1960, Birds Canada is now the leading national organization dedicated to bird research and conservation. Every day, thousands of caring donors, over 100 passionate staff, and over 70,000 outstanding volunteers help to take action to better understand, appreciate, and conserve birds and their habitats.
Birds Canada is a $9 million non-profit, charitable organization, headquartered at the base of Long Point. It works to assess the health of bird populations in Canada, collaborate internationally throughout the hemisphere, protect Canada’s Key Biodiversity Areas, take action for species most at risk, and engage and inspire the nearly 30 percent of people in Canada who participate in birding.
Over 400 bird species have been observed in the Long Point area. Since 2011, Birds Canada has led the Ontario Forest Birds at Risk Program, maintaining Canada’s most comprehensive database for forest birds at risk in the region. Birds Canada also engages public and private landowners by promoting stewardship and publishing Beneficial Management Practices for Southwestern Ontario Forest Birds at Risk, a guide for landowners to implement such practices on their properties. Birds Canada has also undertaken direct habitat enhancement projects with local landowners in the Long Point Walsingham Forest Priority Place (i.e., the St. Williams Conservation Reserve) related to the Red-headed Woodpecker (endangered), the Prothonotary Warbler (endangered), and the Cerulean Warbler (endangered).
Environment and Climate Change Canada has supported Birds Canada by investing in a number of projects that align with Government of Canada priorities in the Long Point area, including:
- Over $533,000 since 2018–2019 as part of the Canada Nature Fund to implement Priority Place activities for forest birds at risk and their habitats.
- Funding through the Habitat Stewardship Program for the Ontario Forest Birds at Risk Program, including $27,000 since 2020 for endangered Red-headed Woodpecker surveys and habitat creation, as well as for the Aerial Insectivores Conservation Program, which includes a 2022–2025 project for the endangered Eastern Whip-poor-will.
- Through Priority Place, Birds Canada participates as a member of the Invasive Species Working Group and the Forests and Treed Swamps Working Group, oversees the management and restoration on properties it manages, and conducts critical before and after control monitoring of vegetation, birds, reptiles, and amphibians at sites in partnership with the Nature Conservancy of Canada.
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