‘Whip-poor-will Woods’: Thousand Islands Watershed Land Trust secures crucial conservation property

An adult male whip-poor-will. Photo by Frode Jacobsen.

Thousand Islands Watershed Land Trust (TIWLT) has announced its acquisition of a 147-acre property northeast of Charleston Lake, to be named Whip-poor-will Woods, after the local but endangered bird.

This property is a crucial link in the Gananoque River System watershed, connecting Charleston Lake Provincial Park to crown lands and adjoining 200 acres under TIWLT’s conservation easements, bolstering the organization’s conservation efforts, according to TIWLT.

“Leeders Creek, which feeds directly into Charleston Lake, runs through this property,” stated TIWLT Executive Director Calder Schweitzer in a media release. “It’s a beautiful, big-picture puzzle piece of wetlands and forests that together form the headwaters of an enormously vital and scenic water system that ultimately flows into the St Lawrence River. It’s perfect in all respects for helping us preserve our area [forever].”

Don Ross, President of TIWLT, emphasized the property’s significance within the watershed, highlighting its role as a crucial migration corridor in eastern Canada.

“Hundreds of different species of plants and animals move through here, which helps explain why so many people from Ottawa south to Kingston and Brockville, choose to vacation here or have cottages. This TIWLT property will go a long way to protecting what they love,” Ross said in a statement.

TIWLT set a fundraising target of $250,000 in the fall of 2023 to facilitate the purchase of this and other conservation properties. Thanks to a generous TIWLT donor, matching funds up to $50,000 were offered for donations, alongside a partial grant towards the acquisition.

Ontario’s Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, Andrea Khanjin, underscored the significance of the property in terms of biodiversity and migration bird corridors.

“That’s why our government is working alongside conservation partners, including private landowners, to permanently protect this area for future generations. With our support, Thousand Islands Watershed Land Trust will be able to protect 147 acres – equal to more than 79 soccer fields,” she said.

Funding for the project was provided by Environment and Climate Change Canada’s ‘Nature Smart Climate Solutions Fund’ and the Province of Ontario’s Greenlands Conservation Partnership, aimed at conserving ecologically important natural areas and mitigating the effects of climate change. To learn more about this environmental achievement, visit TIWLT’s website and access their latest ‘Conservation Matters’ newsletter.

This article was originally published by Brockvilleist.

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