Largest tract of native grassland in central Ontario

Nature Conservancy of Ontario & Ontario Land Trust Alliance involved

Article by Valerie MacDonald

Image supplied: top, clockwise from left, David Piccini, Jeff Yurek, Mike Hendren

The Rice Lake Plains of Alderville First Nation is among the four beneficiaries of the Ontario Government’s $20-million investment announcement in partnership with the Nature Conservancy of Canada and the Ontario Land Trust Alliance to conserve more green space.

Environment, Conservation and Parks Minister, Jeff Yurek, made the announcement virtually on March 16 with Northumberland/Peterborough South MPP David Piccini and Mike Hendren, region VP for Ontario of the Nature Conservancy of Canada.

The $20-million becomes a $50-million investment for projects across Ontario over four years because of the matching $1.50 from the Conservancy for every $1.00 from the Government, the Minister explained.

This local funding “builds on conservation efforts in Northumberland” already undertaken, Yurek said.

The Alfred Bog in Ottawa, the Saugeen Bruce Peninsula Natural Area and the Frontenac Arch forest corridor were the other three projects identified. Monies will be provided for other projects as they are ready to proceed, the Minister explained.

“I’m thrilled about this historic commitment” to expand the network of protected areas in Ontario, Nature Conservancy of Canada’s regional VP for Ontario, Mike Hendren said during the announcement.

He said there is a “long list” of other projects across the province and also existing locations where people can already get out and enjoy nature, including, in Northumberland, the trails in Peter’s Wood near Centreton, Northumberland County Forest north of Baltimore on both sides of County Road 45, and The Hazel Bird sanctuary south of Harwood and Rice Lake.

In a media release, Northumberland-Peterborough South MPP David Piccini stated that “now more than ever, it’s important that government and our partners step up our conservation efforts, given the worsening impacts of climate change…The Conservation Partnership investments will play an important role in preserving our natural diversity by conserving ecologically important natural areas, including right here in Northumberland County.”

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