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eastern region (ontario)

VOLUME 31, NUMBER 1, 2010

DUC supports Canada's first Aboriginal Land Trust

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DUC is always keen to explore and create opportunities with likeminded organizations and individuals with similar conservation goals. Recently, Ontario DUC partners have created such a partnership with the Walpole Island Land Trust to help conserve some of the most important waterfowl staging habitat in southern Ontario. The Walpole Island First Nation Territory, located 50 kilometres northeast of Windsor, is a delta made of six islands nestled at the mouth of the St. Clair River on Lake St. Clair. A legacy of conservation practices cultivated by the Anishnaabe people (Potawatomi, Ojibwe and Odawa tribes) who have lived there for over 6,000 years has ensured that the land is remarkably alive with natural wonder. The community boasts an exceptional natural heritage of close to 3,000 hectares of world-class wetlands, over 1,600 hectares of deciduous forests and woodlands and more than 800 hectares of rare oak savannahs and tall grass prairie. At the convergence of three migratory flyways, these ecosystems provide habitat for over 60 of Canada’s rare and endangered wildlife species, including the provincially and nationally endangered northern bobwhite quail. Today, nearly every household is still connected in some way to hunting and fishing. Yet, the Walpole Island First Nation – or “Bkejwanong,” which means where the waters divide – community of 4,000 is under pressure to sustainably conserve its natural heritage in the face of modern social and economic pressures. Threats to the area’s wildlife habitat include a decline in cultural ties to the land, growing population, pollution from upstream sources, encroachment by non-native invasive species and the downturn in the economy. To address habitat loss and other conservation issues, the Walpole Island Land Trust – Canada’s first registered Aboriginal Land Trust – was created in 2008. The Land Trust aims to facilitate even greater conservation efforts through long-term protection of

Although northern pintail are primarily considered a western species, some follow the Mississippi Flyway stopping over at Walpole Island on their migrations.

significant habitats by integrating formal land conservation with traditional cultural ties to the land. For example, the Land Trust is working with community partners to conserve and restore a 69-hectare marsh on Walpole Island with support from DUC, Wildlife Habitat Canada, Walpole Island First Nation Economic Development and Friends of the St. Clair River. Funds raised for this pilot project will support management, ecological restoration, invasive species control, research and training as well as community initiatives to teach Walpole Island First Nation children how to sustainably harvest food and medicine. Anishnaabe language words, legends and stories that relate to the wetland ecosystem will be used to teach school-aged children about this remarkable natural resource. Youth will be mentored by elders and community members to learn ethical hunting practices, survival techniques and stories that relate their historical relationship with the land to ensure they know how to both live on, and protect, the resource. DUC has long been interested in working with the Walpole Island First Nation on wetland-related projects and hopes that a lasting partnership has been forged that will promote sustainable use of these critically important habitats and the wildlife that depend on them. S


Royal Ashburn FORE! Wetlands

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The Royal Ashburn Golf Club’s Paterson family has a longstanding commitment to the environment – Wilson Paterson has a Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) project on his land and he is a DUC member in perpetuity. Wilson and his twin sons Dave and Scott, also longtime DUC supporters, wanted to raise awareness and money for wetland conservation. As a result, the Royal Ashburn Golf Club’s first annual Wetland Conservation Golf Tournament was held on Sept. 29, 2009. Tournament day was blustery and damp but that didn’t stop 155 golfers from teeing up for conservation. Over $60,000 was raised, including almost $50,000 for Project Webfoot through $1,000 perhole sponsorships, which translates into 50 in-class resource kits, transportation subsidies and school field trips to a nearby DUC wetland project.

Along with their DUC memberships and the golf tournament, the Patersons also have a five-acre DUC wetland project on their golf course property. In 2008, DUC partnered with the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters and the Central Lake Ontario Conservation Authority to build the wetland. The grand unveiling of the completed wetland project took place on Sept. 17, 2009, and was attended by many dignitaries including the Honourable James M. Flaherty, Canada’s Minister of Finance; Donna H. Cansfield, Ontario’s Minister of Natural Resources; and Pat Perkins, Mayor of Whitby. All three levels of government spoke to the value of wetland habitats and the partnerships that restore and protect them. The Patersons have contributed greatly to wetland conservation and continue to do so. Golfers can look forward to the Royal Ashburn’s second annual Wetland Conservation Golf Tournament to be held Aug. 24, 2010. S

Shorebirds at West Perth

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Although rare in Ontario, five American avocets were sighted at Ducks Unlimited Canada’s (DUC) West Perth Wetlands Project located in Mitchell (site of the old municipal sewage lagoons) in October 2009. Shorebirds, especially those that breed in the Arctic, benefit immensely from DUC’s wetland habitat activities across Ontario. S


eastern region (ontario)

Lakeport Brewing donates to Ducks Once again, Lakeport Brewing has teamed up with Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) to raise funds for wetland conservation. During the month of November, Lakeport donated 50 cents from every 24 case of any Lakeport brand sold in participating beer stores across northern Ontario. In total, $15,520 was raised for DUC and will be directed toward Ontario wetland projects. A big thanks to Lakeport Brewing! S

Millions in federal funding for 72 Southern Ontario wetland project rebuilds

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Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) wetland projects are designed to have a productive lifespan of 25 to 30 years. Maintaining the structural integrity and productivity of these wetland projects is a costly and ongoing job and many southern Ontario projects are well overdue for an overhaul. When the federal government announced in November 2009 that up to $3 million in funding would be available through the Southern Ontario Development Project (SODP) to upgrade 72 of Ontario’s wetland projects, DUC was thrilled. Not only is this funding the largest DUC Ontario has ever received from the federal government, it comes at a time when many projects require urgent maintenance and upgrading. Through the federal investment, DUC will renew and repair nearly 50 per cent of its critical wetland infrastructure in southern Ontario by replacing water control structures and beaver fences, upgrading safety guards and repairing berms. These improvements promise immediate economic stimulus to local communities throughout southern Ontario via job creation, material procurement and project supervision. “DUC maintains an extensive inventory of publicly accessible wetland projects across Ontario,” says Jim Brennan, DUC’s Ontario manager of provincial operations. “Without the federal funding, DUC could not undertake such a large-scale effort – an effort that will greatly benefit Ontario waterfowl, wildlife and people for many years to come.”

The SODP is part of a series of initiatives introduced in the Government of Canada’s Economic Action Plan designed to address the short-term effects of the economic decline on communities across Canada and help prepare for long-term growth. S

The Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for FedDev Ontario (centre) and Colin Carrie, Member of Parliament for Oshawa (right) congratulate DUC vice president Tom Worden on federal funding that will see investment in maintenance work at up to 72 DUC wetland projects in Ontario..

DUC Ontario receives conservation Award of Merit Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) has received the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority’s (LSRCA) Conservation Award of Merit for work on the Beaver River Wetland Securement Projects. The provincially significant wetland complex supports some of the highest waterfowl pair densities in Ontario as well as many rare and threatened species. DUC contributed $170,000 toward the acquisition of six properties totalling 124 hectares and valued at over $283,000 – the largest contribution of all the LSRCA partners. Acquiring the properties ensures that these ecologically sensitive lands on the Lake Simcoe watershed are preserved and protected for future generations. S Left to right: Mark Gloutney, DUC; Virginia Hackson, Chair, Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority; Bobbie Drew, Vice-Chair, Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority; and Jim Brennan, DUC.


Creating a passion for conservation

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In Ontario, Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) is instilling a passion for conservation through a national network of secondary school Wetland Centres of Excellence (WCE). Ontario’s WCEs are located in Temiskaming, Mount Forest and Aylmer, and a fourth has just been added in Sioux Lookout. Growing out of J.W. McConnell Family Foundation’s Green Street program, each WCE undertakes long-term conservation projects at a local wetland. These may include wetland restoration or cleanup, installing nest boxes, assisting in research, constructing trails and boardwalks, or leading field trips for younger students. The last activity, the field trip mentoring program, benefits both elementary and secondary students, who each learn about wetlands and conservation first-hand. The mentors learn valuable skills as they prepare to answer questions and provide fun, engaging learning experiences for the younger students. They also become role models, demonstrating that it can be “cool” to be engaged in conservation. Duncan Sinclair, one of the teachers and longtime DUC volunteer, says it best: “The more opportunities we can provide for young people, the greater chance we have of stimulating their interests and creating a passion for conservation.” Timiskaming District Secondary School in New Liskeard was Ontario’s first WCE. Initially students banded and recorded birds for DUC at Hillardton Marsh, a large DUC partnership-restored wetland. Their research and conservation activities have continued and even include assisting at the local DUC dinner. The second WCE, part of the Community Environmental Leadership Program (CELP) at Wellington Heights Secondary School, Mount Forest, evolved because of the support shown to local Grade 4 classes by DUC volunteers. CELP uses Luther Marsh, a major waterfowl nesting and staging area, where they have built their own outdoor education centre. The third WCE at East Elgin Secondary School in Aylmer recognizes the excellent work already underway through their Environmental Leadership Program and their conservation and education efforts at the Herb Kebbel Wetland. DUC thanks Ontario’s WCE students for their contributions to conservation and for sharing their passion and commitment to wetlands and waterfowl with hundreds of younger students each year. S

eastern Region (ontario)

The Flyway newsletter is published by Ducks Unlimited Canada Oak Hammock Marsh Conservation Centre P.O. Box 1160, Stonewall, Manitoba R0C 2Z0 tel (204)467-3000 fax (204)467-9028 toll-free 1(800)665-DUCK Please direct your inquiries to the following: Eastern Region Atlantic: Marci Dube Quebec: Bernard Filion Ontario: Lynette Mader Western Region Prairie-Western Boreal: Marci Dube British Columbia: Wendy Thatcher Flyway production staff Director of Marketing: Madeleine Arbez Editor: Duncan Morrison Assistant: Deb Menard Art Director: Tye Gregg Graphic Designers: Christa Edwards, Lindsay Pikta-Marie, Aquila Samson, Jeope Wolfe © Ducks Unlimited Canada, 2010 Printed in Canada on 100% recycled paper including 100% post-consumer fibres

Ontario Area Contacts Director of Regional Operations Eastern Canada, Jamie Fortune (613) 565-2525 Manager of Provincial Operations Jim Brennan (705) 721-4444 Conservation Programs Owen Steele

(705) 721-4444

Landowner Programs Lynette Mader

(705) 721-4444

Education Program Coordinator Stephanie Walker (705) 721-4444 Government Relations Julie Cayley

(705) 721-4444

Fundraising Development Aaron Everingham James D. Lee

(705) 738-9929 (647) 345-3223

Provincial Manager of Event & Volunteer Programs Steve Stinkowji (705) 544-8437

The WCE program engages students in conservation activities and fun field trips to local wetlands

Event & Volunteer Customer Service (613) 389-0418 (866) 389-0418 publication agreement #40064849

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eastern region (ontario) Although northern pintail are primarily considered a western species, some follow the Mississippi Flyway stopping o...

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