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New Habitat Project For the Birds

Kingsville – Migrating birds will have one more feeding and resting stopover in the Essex Region, thanks to a new habitat restoration project being undertaken at The Jack Miner Migratory Bird Sanctuary. This project is being managed by the Essex Region Conservation Authority (ERCA) with funding from Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) and the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP).

“This habitat restoration project has many ecological benefits including increasing biodiversity and natural areas cover in the Essex Region, as well as expanding on and creating a connection with existing Carolinian forest habitat at the site,” said Kate Arthur, Restoration Biologist with Essex Region Conservation. “This will provide habitat for numerous wildlife, including species at risk.”

Arthur cites Scarlet Ammannia, an endangered wetland plant species, Short-eared Owls, Barn Swallows, Bobolinks, Eastern Meadowlark, Blanding’s Turtle, Snapping Turtle, Monarch butterfly and Eastern Foxsnake as just some of the species at risk that will benefit from this project.

Additionally, the project will help to improve water quality by capturing surface water flow from adjacent agricultural lands and filtering it with native wetland plants, while also helping to mitigate the effects of climate change by planting numerous native plants and trees in marginal agricultural land.

The entire project includes a one-acre wetland feature, a surrounding 1.5 acre native prairie grass/wet meadow buffer, and approximately 11.5 acres of afforestation with 8400 native trees and shrubs. Additional project funding has been generously contributed by Forests Ontario, Ontario Power Generation and the Canadian Wildlife Federation.

“This project fits the direction of the Sanctuary because we are taking land that once was wetland and restoring it to its former glory,” added Tom Coke, Executive Director at the Jack Miner Migratory Bird Sanctuary. “This new wetland will attract hundreds of different species of animals all while providing a wonderful habitant for native plants and species with an opportunity to thrive.  This wetland fits our vision of conservation and our founder Jack Miner would have approved of the effort.  We cannot thank Kathryn Arthur and the folks at DUC enough for partnering on this project.”

“The restoration of this wetland further enhances a critically important rest stop for migratory birds, waterfowl and other wildlife, while providing essential services like water filtration, flood mitigation, carbon sequestration and recreational opportunities for visitors”, said Linda Warren, conservation program specialist for DUC. “Ontario’s wetlands are among the province’s most ecologically valuable and productive habitats. We are fortunate to work together with partners like the Essex Region Conservation Authority, the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, and forward-thinking landowners like the Jack Miner Migratory Bird Sanctuary, to make such positive impacts on our ever-changing landscape.”

“Wetlands are areas rich in biodiversity, providing homes for species at risk, like the Short-eared Owl and Blanding’s Turtle. Wetlands also act as a filter that helps keep our water clean, and stores carbon to mitigate climate change,” said Andrea Khanjin, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks. “Through our ongoing partnerships with organizations like the Essex Region Conservation Authority and Ducks Unlimited Canada, we are working to preserve and improve wetlands for future generations.”

Located in Kingsville, Ontario’s most southern town, Jack Miner Migratory Bird Sanctuary is home to countless migrating geese and ducks. In the spring and the fall, the grounds will be filled with birds passing through using the sanctuary as a safe resting place for food, water, and shelter.

Ducks Unlimited Canada have been proud stewards of Canada’s wetlands since 1938. DUC is a passionate community of people who believe that nature is the foundation of strong communities, a prosperous economy and a sustainable future that supports the hopes and dreams of the next generation. Together with partners, it conserves and restores some of the most valuable and threatened landscapes on the planet.

The Essex Region Conservation Authority is a public sector organization established by the Province of Ontario in 1973 and governed by local municipalities. For more than 50 years, it has delivered programs and services that further the conservation, restoration, development and management of natural resources in watersheds in the Windsor-Essex-Pelee Island region.  

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