August 19, 2020, Orillia, ON –
The Couchiching Conservancy is celebrating another conservation success, with the protection of the Whitney property, a 12 hectare (30 acre) parcel, 10km east of Orillia.
The property was previously owned by Norman and Irene Whitney and creates a direct connection to the McIsaac Wetland, originally protected in 1998 by The Couchiching Conservancy. This wetland complex in Ramara Township is a part of the Mud Lake provincially significant wetland. Wetlands act as critical filtration systems for our communities and help with flooding.
The property is home to several species at risk listed under Canada’s Species at Risk Act (SARA) including Little Brown Myotis (endangered), Monarch Butterfly (endangered), Midland Painted Turtle (special concern), Wood Thrush (threatened) and others.
This project was undertaken with the financial support by the Government of Canada through the Natural Heritage Conservation Program, part of Canada’s Nature Fund. It was also supported by the Echo Foundation, Gosling Foundation, Consecon Foundation and many supporters in this community and beyond. A portion of this project was donated by Mr. and Mrs. Whitney to the The Couchiching Conservancy with support from the Government of Canada’s Ecological Gifts Program. This program provides enhanced tax incentives for individuals or corporations who donate ecologically significant land.
Creating connections like this makes all the difference to species who call this region home. Roadways, habitat destruction and fragmentation disrupt the natural processes and their chances of survival. In Ontario alone, there are over 200 species of plants and animals at risk of disappearing according to the provincial Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks. Protecting and maintaining natural wildlife corridors is a key goal of the Conservancy, in order to create protected corridors for wildlife migration.
“The conservation of the Whitney property, with support from the Canada Nature Fund’s Natural Heritage Conservation Program and the Ecological Gifts Program, will protect nature in Ontario for generations to come. By working with partners like the Couchiching Conservancy and generous landowners like the Whitneys, we are making progress toward conserving a quarter of Canada’s land by 2025.”
– The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change