The Nature Conservancy of Canada has purchased nearly 300 acres of the Leland Wetlands near Loughborough Lake, located in South Frontenac Township.
The conservancy will be carrying on the legacy and wishes of John “Jack” Hunter Allum.
Allum purchased the land 40 years ago with the specific aim of protecting the land and forests, according to the Nature Conservancy of Canada.
Megan Quinn, the Conservancy’s biologist for Eastern Ontario, says Allum restored much of the area to its natural state when he owned it.
“In that time he planted over 20,000 trees to restore old agricultural fields into forest,” Quinn said.
The land is a mix of marshes, granite ridges, and mixed coniferous and deciduous forests.
It’s also home to the Eastern Whip-poor-will, a bird common to North America which the province added to its Species at Risk in Ontario (SARO) list in 2009.
That makes the land acquisition much more important, Quinn says.
“When we’re able to protect forested areas, we give those species a chance,” Quinn said.
“We give them a habitat where they’re able to successfully breed.”
The Leland Wetlands are also in the heart of the biologically-diverse Frontenac Arch, a UNESCO bioshphere reserve since 2002.
Quinn says the region is unique and is a critical area for conservation.
“It’s the last intact forest corridor in eastern North America, which makes it invaluable for species that migrate and species that need that natural cover.”
Quinn says the Frontenac Arch runs from approximately Algonquin Park to the Adirondack Mountains in the United States.
Quinn is days away from completing a land management plan for the newly-acquired property, for which she says the stewardship team gathered data over the summer.
“We did things like classify all the different vegetation communities, look for species at risk and try and find out if there was any threats,” she said, “so looking for things like invasive species.”