The Nature Conservancy of Canada has purchased 335 acres of wetland, shoreline, fields, and forests in Norfolk County.
The 302-acre Flight Club Marsh, formerly a private hunt club dating back to the late 1800s, provides important habitat for waterfowl and other species, according to a news release from the NCC.
The nearby 33-acre Hahn’s Woods contains important nesting and breeding habitat for wood ducks among its 23 acres of swamp forest.
Both properties protect Lake Erie shoreline and are located in the Big Creek watershed. They are adjacent to the Big Creek National Wildlife Area, managed by Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Canadian Wildlife Service, and are part of the Long Point Provincially Significant Wetland Complex.
“Wetlands are among the most productive and important ecosystems on Earth. They provide habitat for wildlife, act as nurseries for fish, reduce flooding and clean our water,” said Kristen Bernard, program director for Southwestern Ontario. “The Nature Conservancy of Canada is proud to be the new owner of the Flight Club Marsh and part of a landscape-scale collaboration to ensure the Big Creek marshes continue to provide critical habitat for waterfowl and other species.”
Private hunting clubs have played a role in the conservation of wetlands surrounding Long Point for over 150 years.
“From their early interest in protecting these lands from poaching, drainage and development, to the present day where sustainable harvest practices and diligent land protection and restoration remain a strong focus, these clubs have been and continue to be conservation leaders,” said the release.
Over the next year, NCC will undertake biological inventories and community partner consultations to develop a long-term management plan for these properties.
The land purchases were made possible by several donors, including SC Johnson, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, through the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, the Government of Canada, through the Natural Heritage Conservation Program, part of Canada’s Nature Fund, and private donations.