Mississippi Lake National Wildlife Area Management Plan

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Document information

Document information


This management plan was prepared by Laurie Maynard of the Canadian Wildlife Service (Ontario) of Environment Canada and Felicia Syer (formerly Canadian Wildlife Service [Ontario]). Thank you to Shannon Badzinski, John Brett, Mike Cadman, Brigitte Collins, Lesley Dunn, Andrea Kettle, Shawn Meyer, and Jeff Robinson (Canadian Wildlife Service [Ontario]), and Barbara Slezak (formerly Canadian Wildlife Service [Ontario]), Al Hanson (Canadian Wildlife Service [Atlantic]), Olaf Jensen (Canadian Wildlife Service [National Capital Region]),Gord Mountenay and Alyson Symon (Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority), and Shaun Thompson (Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources) for their expert input or review of earlier drafts, and to Marie-Claude Archambault, Marko Andan, and Andrew Noad (Canadian Wildlife Service [Ontario]) for preparation of maps and figures.

Hélène Lévesque (Canadian Wildlife Service [Ontario]) prepared the 1986 Management Plan Mississippi Lake National Wildlife Area, which provided the groundwork for this update.

Copies of this plan are available at the following addresses:

Environment Canada
Inquiry Centre
10 Wellington, 23rd Floor
Gatineau QC K1A 0H3
Toll Free: 1-800-668-6767 (in Canada only)
Email: enviroinfo@ec.gc.ca Environment Canada - Canadian Wildlife Service
Ontario Region
4905 Dufferin Street
Toronto ON M3H 5T4

Environment Canada Protected Areas Website at: Protected Areas.

How to cite this document:

Environment Canada. 2014. Mississippi Lake National Wildlife Area Management Plan. Environment Canada, Canadian Wildlife Service, Ontario Region, 51pp.

Unless otherwise specified, you may not reproduce materials in this publication, in whole or in part, for the purposes of commercial redistribution without prior written permission from Environment Canada's copyright administrator. To obtain permission to reproduce Government of Canada materials for commercial purposes, apply for Crown Copyright Clearance by contacting:

Environment Canada
Inquiry Centre
10 Wellington, 23rd Floor
Gatineau QC K1A 0H3
Toll Free: 1-800-668-6767 (in Canada only)
Fax: 819-994-1412
TTY: 819-994-0736
Email: enviroinfo@ec.gc.ca

© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by the Minister of the Environment, 2014

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About Environment Canada’s Protected Areas and Management Plans

What are Environment Canada Protected Areas?

Environment Canada establishes marine and terrestrial National Wildlife Areas for the purposes of conservation, research and interpretation. National Wildlife Areas are established to protect migratory birds, species at risk, and other wildlife and their habitats. National Wildlife Areas are established under the authority of the Canada Wildlife Act and are, first and foremost, places for wildlife. Migratory Bird Sanctuaries are established under the authority of the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994 and provide a refuge for migratory birds in the marine and terrestrial environment.

What is the size of the Environment Canada Protected Areas network?

The current Protected Areas Network consists of 54 National Wildlife Areas and 92 Migratory Bird Sanctuaries comprising more than 12 million hectares across Canada.

What is a management plan?

A Management plan provides the framework in which management decisions are made. They are intended to be used by Environment Canada staff to guide decision making, notably with respect to permitting. Management is undertaken in order to maintain the ecological integrity of the protected area and to maintain the attributes for which the protected area was established. Environment Canada prepares a management plan for each protected area in consultation with First Nations and other stakeholders.

A management plan specifies activities that are allowed and identifies other activities that may be undertaken under the authority of a permit. It may also describe the necessary improvements needed in the habitat, and specify where and when these improvements should be made. A management plan identifies Aboriginal rights and allowable practices specified under land claims agreements. Further, measures carried out for the conservation of wildlife must not be inconsistent with any law respecting wildlife in the province in which the protected area is situated.

What is Protected Area management?

Management includes monitoring wildlife, maintaining and improving wildlife habitat, periodic inspections, enforcement of regulations, as well as the maintenance of facilities and infrastructure. Research is also an important activity in protected areas; hence, Environment Canada staff carries out or coordinates research in some sites.

The series

All of the National Wildlife Areas are to have a management plan. All of these management plans will be initially reviewed 5 years after the approval of the first plan, and every 10 years thereafter.

To learn more

To learn more about Environment Canada’s protected areas, please visit our website at Protected Areas or contact the Canadian Wildlife Service.

Mississippi Lake National Wildlife Area

The Mississippi Lake National Wildlife Area (NWA) (264 ha), located at the southwest end of Mississippi Lake in eastern Ontario, provides important refuge and breeding habitat for a variety of bird and fish species. The Mississippi Lake NWA is located within the boundaries of the Mississippi Lake Migratory Bird Sanctuary (MBS), which is larger in size. The NWA is comprised of McEwen Bay and its surrounding wetlands, along with some drier, forested upland habitat west of McEwen Bay and a small wetland and forested area along the north shore of the Mississippi River, east of the town of Innisville. McIntyre Creek passes through the southeast corner of the NWA and connects McEwen Bay to Mississippi Lake. This NWA and MBS were designated to protect habitat for staging migratory waterfowl.

The Mud Lake MBS was designated in 1959 at the request of local landowners, to restrict hunting of the staging waterfowl that take refuge on Mud Lake (known today as McEwen Bay). The MBS was renamed Mississippi Lake in 1970 to distinguish it from other Mud Lakes in Ontario. In 1968, Environment Canada’s Canadian Wildlife Service began purchasing the land around McEwen Bay in order to conserve the habitat. The Mississippi Lake NWA was established in 1977 under the Canada Wildlife Act (1973) as the first NWA in Ontario.

For many years, Mississippi Lake NWA has been known for its use by large numbers of waterfowl. The wetlands in McEwen Bay provide important staging habitat for significant numbers of waterfowl during migration. Ten thousand ducks can pass through the NWA in a day during fall migration, with American Black Duck, Blue-winged Teal, Green-winged Teal, Hooded Merganser, Mallard, Wood Duck and Ring-necked Duck being the most common. The wetlands are important breeding habitat for waterbirds such as the Common Loon, Marsh Wren and Pied-billed Grebe. The shallow waters of McEwen Bay provide habitat for amphibians such as the American Bullfrog and spawning areas for fish such as Largemouth Bass, Northern Pike and Walleye.

A number of species at risklisted under the federal Species at Risk Act have been reported at the Mississippi Lake NWA including the endangered Butternut, threatened Least Bittern, Golden-winged Warbler, Canada Warbler, and Eastern Musk Turtle, and special concern Rusty Blackbird, Red-shouldered Hawk, Snapping Turtle, Monarch, and Broad Beech Fern. In addition, five bird species (Barn Swallow, Bobolink, Eastern Meadowlark, Wood Thrush and Eastern Wood-pewee) designated at risk by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC), and the Bald Eagle and Black Tern, classified as special concern under the Ontario Endangered Species Act, 2007, have been reported at this site.

Public access to the NWA is permitted for day use only, via the entrance on Drummond Concession 9A, from December 16 to September 14. Recreation activities allowed include: hiking, skiing, snowshoeing, picnicking and wildlife viewing on designated trails, and seasonally recreational boating from boat launch and sport fishing. To provide a safe, undisturbed refuge for staging migratory waterfowl, recreational boating and sport fishing, in McIntyre Creek and McEwen Bay is prohibited September 15 through December 15, except to directly access Mississippi Lake (outside the NWA) and a portion of the Mississippi River (within the NWA) from the NWA boat launch on McIntyre Creek. There is no other water access elsewhere in the NWA. Hunting is not permitted within the boundaries of the NWA, in accordance with the Canada Wildlife Act and Wildlife Area Regulations, and Migratory Bird Sanctuary Regulations.

The Mississippi Lake NWA is one of 10 National Wildlife Areas in Ontario. This 2014 Mississippi Lake NWA Management Plan provides the framework for management activities, is an update of the 1986 management plan, and replaces all previous versions.

Nothing in this management plan shall be construed so as to abrogate or derogate from the protection provided for existing Aboriginal or treaty rights of the Aboriginal peoples of Canada by the recognition and affirmation of those rights in section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.

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