200+ acres protected including Provincially Significant Wetland

Posted on December 12, 2018

We’re delighted to welcome two new Conservation Easement properties to our protected areas. The Ingram Biodiversity Reserve and Estelle’s Reserve protect high quality inland wetlands and other habitat, providing homes to numerous species and strengthening conservation on a regional scale.

Conservation Easements are agreements which allow landowners to conserve biodiversity on their properties forever while retaining ownership of the land. Learn more here.


Ingram Biodiversity Reserve

Situated in the inland Honey Harbour/Port Severn area, the 92-acre Ingram Biodiversity Reserve is a high priority for conservation due to its significant wetland and rock barren habitats, which provide homes to numerous reptile species at risk.

Sheltered from severe weather coming in from open water, the Ingram property nonetheless has many attributes in common with coastal Georgian Bay. The treed portions of the interior are predominantly mixed conifer and deciduous forest interspersed with acidic and shrubbed rock barrens. There are several healthy wetlands on the property, including a large marsh at the northern end that has been designated a Provincially Significant Wetland (PSW). Although the area immediate to Ingram is known to contain the “transition zone” from northern Precambrian Shield to southern moraine, the Ingram property is firmly on the Shield.

Ingram provides habitat for seven documented species at risk: three specimens of Five-lined Skink, an Eastern Ribbonsnake, Blanding’s Turtle, Snapping Turtle, and Monarch Butterfly were all sighted on the property during the baseline visit. Eastern Massasauga and Eastern Whip-poor-will have also been confirmed on the property by landowner Jay Ingram.

There has been a great deal of recreational development taking place in the Honey Harbour/Port Severn area, and the remaining undeveloped properties are under pressure. In consideration of its diversity and habitat for documented at-risk species, setting aside the vacant portion of the Ingram property as a Conservation Easement will provide a home for wildlife in this increasingly congested community, will add to existing local protected areas, and will connect conservation “corridors” in all directions, a critical provision for the seasonal movement of wildlife.

Jay Ingram (yes, the Jay Ingram, former host of CBC Radio’s Quirks and Quarks and Discovery Channel’s Daily Planet) is to be commended for his conservation-mindedness and his generous gift to the Honey Harbour community. Thank you Jay, from the entire Georgian Bay community.


Estelle’s Reserve

The newly acquired Estelle’s Reserve is a 134-acre Conservation Agreement property located on the mainland shore of Blackstone Lake. Estelle’s is representative of landscapes inland from coastal Georgian Bay; it is less exposed and has better developed soil, and thus supports a different and more dense array of flora.

Estelle’s combination of vegetation communities provide habitat for documented at-risk species. The shoreline of the property is predominantly mixed conifer and deciduous forest with occasional acidic rock barren outcrops, the latter mostly right at the water’s edge.

The Reserve has two small swamps inland from the Blackstone shore, one a White Cedar Mineral Swamp, and the other Mixed containing both standing coniferous and deciduous trees. Swamps are a typical part of large, mainland watershed systems, different from the isolated wetland communities generally found around Georgian Bay’s islands. They provide excellent habitat for reptiles and amphibians.

Our initial visit and baseline study of Estelle’s Reserve found two Eastern Wood-Pewees (a small songbird of the flycatcher family), two Wood Thrush and an Eastern Milk snake making use of the property. These are all species at risk, and underscore the value of this habitat.

As one of southern Ontario’s water-based recreational communities, there is and will be significant development pressure on Blackstone Lake’s desirable shoreline properties. Setting aside Estelle’s Reserve with a Conservation Agreement protects diversity in this vulnerable local ecological sector, adds to existing protected areas and connects conservation corridors to west and south.

We thank the landowners for their conservation leadership in the Blackstone Lake community. We all benefit from the protection of their beautiful property.


Photos by Shawn Haokang Wu