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Kawartha Land Trust Conserves Five New Properties

Red Trillium at Roussel-Steffler Memorial Sanctuary in Douro-Dummer Township, Kawarthas

The Kawarthas’ regional charitable land trust protects five new properties comprising a total of 224 acres in Douro-Dummer Township, Selwyn Township, and City of Kawartha Lakes.

Kawartha Land Trust (KLT) is thrilled to head into spring with more positive conservation news for the Kawarthas. We’re pleased to share with you that through the support of individual donors like you and funding from Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) and Wildlife Habitat Canada (WHC) (full details below), KLT has protected an additional five properties: Roussel-Steffler Memorial Sanctuary, O’Leary Family Wetland, Wittek Property, Found Property, and Roscarrock Conservation Easement.

“It’s always exciting to be able to announce the protection of more of the land we love in the Kawarthas and even more so when we’re able to share the news of five newly protected areas at the same time,” said John Kintare, Executive Director. “The conservation of these lands is the result of the incredible investments made by our donors, partners, and volunteers over the past 20 years.”

“Ontarians value their natural surroundings greatly. Working together with partners like the Kawartha Land Trust and generous landowners, we are dedicated to protecting, restoring, and enhancing wildlife habitats,” said the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change.

“This effort strengthens ecosystems and helps them absorb and store carbon while helping to protect species at risk, like the Monarch Butterfly and the Western Chorus Frog. With support from the Government of Canada through programs like the Natural Heritage Conservation Program, the Ecological Gifts Program, the Nature Smart Climate Solutions Fund, and the Habitat Stewardship Program, we are actively helping Canada reach its goal of conserving 30 percent of land and water by 2030.”

The protection of these new nature reserves and conservation easement contributes to Kawartha Land Trust’s commitments to conserve land and biodiversity in the Kawarthas and engage in focused climate action. KLT now protects 39 properties comprising over 6,950 acres of land.

We’re grateful for the trust and vision of the land donors who have ensured their lands will be protected for future generations. You can learn more about KLT’s newest nature reserves and conservation easement below.

Whether you are a landowner who cares deeply about the conservation legacy of your land, a landowner looking to find a use for the “unproductive” land you own, or someone who cares deeply about the world around you, KLT offers a variety of conservation solutions to align with your goals.

If you have questions about conservation opportunities about your land or how you can support conservation in the Kawarthas, reach out to us at [email protected], 705-743-5599, or visit our website to learn more about protecting forests and wetlands, farms and woodlots, and/or contributing to the community and landscape.

If you’re interested in learning more about KLT’s in-office or in-the-field volunteer opportunities, visit the Give Time page on our website and sign up for our e-newsletter to learn about upcoming opportunities and fieldwork days.

Learn more about KLT’s newest protected properties:

Roussel-Steffler Memorial Sanctuary
Cedars at Roussel-Steffler Memorial Sanctuary
Eastern White Cedar trees at the Roussel-Steffler Memorial Sanctuary in Douro-Dummer Township. (Photo: KLT)

Located in the heart of Douro-Dummer Township, the 102-acre Roussel-Steffler Memorial Sanctuary protects a variety of vital habitats including a portion of a Provincially Significant Wetland (PSW), forest, fields and a meadow – land, that because of Marlene Roussel and the Roussel-Steffler family’s generosity, will be protected forever.

The family sold their cottage along the Otonabee River in the 1980s to purchase the land they would call “The Sanctuary” and have enjoyed it, and the trails they created, ever since.

Dan Roussel, one of Marlene’s two sons, noted the abundance of wildlife they have seen on the property throughout the years — from turtles, snakes, and salamanders to Red Fox, Porcupine, and Coyote, and occasional sightings of Black Bear, Moose, Fisher, and Mink. And, as Dan describes, “too many birds to list.”

In the last 25 years, the family has invested significant efforts in enhancing the habitat on the property to benefit local wildlife.

By donating the land to KLT, they were able to ensure all of the stewardship work that they had undertaken on the land will not be lost to development in the future and that wildlife can thrive.

Paul Roussel's sign at Roussel-Steffler Memorial Sanctuary
“The Sanctuary” sign that Paul Roussel had originally hung on the property. (Photo: Dan Roussel)

Mike Roussel, Marlene’s other son, who, along with Dan, has stewarded the property for over two decades, notes that the donation of the land serves as an important legacy for the family.

“We have enjoyed the property over the years as our own private park, improving it with trails and planting trees,” said Roussel.

“We also want to give back to the community as others have done. We often go hiking in other conservation and park areas such as Mark S. Burnham Provincial Park, Peter’s Woods Provincial Park, Sherwood Park, and others, which have been an inspiration.”

He also noted that the donation is his family’s contribution to the fight against climate change.

We’re also very pleased to share that, at the request of the donors, the Roussel-Steffler Memorial Sanctuary will become home to a public memorial forest. Details regarding the memorial forest will be shared later this year.

Learn more about the Roussel-Steffler Memorial Sanctuary.

O’Leary Family Wetland
Fungi on a tree
Snag trees (dead trees that are still standing) like this one at the O’Leary Family Wetland are vital for wildlife species that use them for shelter and to store food. (Photo: Sam Clapperton/KLT)

The O’Leary Family Wetland, a 25-acre treed swamp in the City of Kawartha Lakes, was donated to Kawartha Land Trust by Patrick O’Leary. One hundred percent of this wetland is located within the Emily Creek No. 2 Provincially Significant Wetland (PSW).

The property is contiguous with KLT’s Emily Creek Wetland property, which improves landscape connectivity in the Emily Creek area to the benefit of wildlife in the area.

“This new nature reserve is a great example of how Kawartha Land Trust can offer conservation solutions that just make practical sense,” said Thom Unrau, Director of Community Conservation.

“Mr. O’Leary called me in the spring and told me about a parcel of land that he had inherited years ago. While he wondered what to do about the property all these years, this 100% wetland parcel had been doing exactly what it is meant to do — providing space for wildlife and ecosystem services to people downstream.”

After seeing that the donation of the land was a practical option, KLT handled the details and administration of the transfer and was able to provide the donor with a tax receipt in return.

“Mr. O’Leary also received the peace of mind that he was supporting a healthy environment in the Kawarthas,” said Unrau. “It was a win-win.”

Learn more about the O’Leary Family Wetland

Wittek Property and Found Property
Wetland at Wittek Property
View of the Wittek Property in Selwyn Township. (Photo: KLT)

While smaller in acreage than the other properties that KLT has protected in 2023, the protection of the Found and Wittek properties proves that good things can come in small(er) packages.

At just under five acres combined, these newly protected lands host a variety of habitats.

The Wittek Property, located in Selwyn Township, was generously donated to KLT through the final estate of Eugene Wittek. While only two acres, the land contains marsh, coniferous forest, and deciduous forest habitats that support wildlife in the area.

A large, Provincially Significant Wetland exists approximately 50 metres southwest of this property, enabling the property to potentially serve as a wildlife corridor to the larger system.

While KLT’s Wittek Property is fragmented habitat on the landscape, the protection and stewardship of the lands such as this one can provide opportunities to restore networks of wildlife habitat and corridors to their original, unfragmented state.

Marsh at Found Property in City of Kawartha Lakes
Marsh at the newly protected Found Property in City of Kawartha Lakes. (Photo: KLT)

At the Found Property in the City of Kawartha Lakes, 100% of the two-and-a-half-acre property comprises natural cover, making it an important natural site in an area of cottage development. Additionally, the marsh ecosystem that exists on the property provides habitat for wetland species.

The property, which was generously donated through the final estate of Kenneth Found, is located directly adjacent to the Queen Elizabeth II Wildlands Provincial Park and adds further natural and protected land to the area.

Learn more about the Found Property.

Learn more about the Wittek Property.

Roscarrock Conservation Easement
Natural shoreline at Roscarrock CEA
Natural shoreline at Roscarrock CEA. (Photo: KLT)

Located along Moore Lake near Lakefield, the Roscarrock Conservation Easement protects 93 acres within the Buckhorn/Lovesick Lake subwatershed.

KLT Trustee Kate Ramsay shared that Roscarrock has been her home and its woods, fields, and shoreline have given her “comfort and joy” for more than 40 years.

“Our family wants to ensure that an ecosystem that has nurtured us so well will continue to support the species that have been here for hundreds of years, and that others will cherish and steward it as we have tried to do,” said Ramsay.

The property’s almost 60 acres of mixed forest are home to Eastern White Cedar, White Birch, American Elm and Endangered Black Ash. Eastern Wood-Pewee, listed as a species of Special Concern on Ontario’s Species at Risk list, has been seen in the woods on this property.

The 17 acres of hayfield are critical habitat for birds that rely on fields to breed, eat, and nest, including the at-risk Bobolink, and the meadow provides habitat for our all-important pollinators.

Ramsay shared that she decided to work with KLT to protect her land because of her familiarity with the organization.

“I was familiar with KLT, its mission, values, and the experience of the organization in securing and protecting important pieces of our natural landscape in a variety of ways,” said Ramsay.

Because of Ramsay’s forward-thinking protection efforts, Roscarrock Conservation Easement will remain a natural gem for years to come.

Learn more about Roscarrock CEA.

Kawartha Land Trust could not have protected these lands without the critical support from individual donors, funding partners, volunteers, and supporters like you.

Funding Recognition

Kawartha Land Trust (KLT) is extremely grateful to individual donors and the funders who helped protect KLT’s newest properties.

The Roussel-Steffler Memorial Sanctuary was protected through the Natural Heritage Conservation Program — Land Trusts Conservation Fund (NHCP-LTCF) Grant Programs.

The Government of Canada’s Natural Heritage Conservation Program (NHCP) is a unique partnership that supports the creation and recognition of protected and conserved areas through the acquisition of private land and private interest in land. To date, the Government of Canada has invested more than $470 million in the Program, which has been matched with more than $982 million in contributions raised by Nature Conservancy of Canada, Ducks Unlimited Canada and the country’s land trust community leading to the protection and conservation of nearly 800,000 hectares of ecologically sensitive lands.
ECCC and WHC logos

The Roussel-Steffler Memorial Sanctuary, O’Leary Family Wetland, Wittek Property, and Found Property were secured with funding from Environment Canada and Climate Change’s Nature Smart Climate Solutions Fund (NSCSF).

Canada’s Nature Smart Climate Solutions Fund (NSCSF) is a $1.4 billion, ten-year fund (2021–2031) administered by Environment and Climate Change Canada to help conserve, restore, and enhance the management of ecosystems such as wetlands, forests, and grasslands, in order to help tackle the dual crises of climate change and biodiversity loss. The NSCSF will focus on three main objectives: (1) conserving carbon-rich ecosystems at high risk of conversion to other uses that would release their stored carbon; (2) improving land management practices to reduce their greenhouse gas emission-causing impacts on Canada’s ecosystems; and (3) restoring degraded ecosystems. Overall, these projects will contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and increased carbon sequestration, while also providing benefits for biodiversity and human well-being.

ECCC logo

Roscarrock Conservation Easement was secured with support from Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Habitat Stewardship Program.

The Government of Canada established the Habitat Stewardship Program for Species at Risk in 2000 as part of Canada’s national strategy for the protection of species at risk. Environment and Climate Change Canada administers Habitat Stewardship Program funds for terrestrial stewardship projects that contribute directly to the recovery objectives and population goals of species at risk listed on Schedule 1 of the Species at Risk Act and that prevent others from becoming a conservation concern.

ECCC logo

A portion of the Roussel-Steffler Memorial Sanctuary and Found Property projects were donated to Kawartha Land Trust (KLT) under the Government of Canada’s Ecological Gifts Program.

Canada’s Ecological Gifts Program provides a way for Canadians with ecologically sensitive land to protect nature and leave a legacy for future generations. Made possible by the terms of the Income Tax Act of Canada and the Quebec Taxation Act, it offers significant tax benefits to landowners who donate land or a partial interest in land to a qualified recipient. Recipients ensure that the land’s biodiversity and environmental heritage are conserved in perpetuity.

ECCC logo

Header photo: Red Trillium at Kawartha Land Trust’s newly protected Roussel-Steffler Memorial Sanctuary in Douro-Dummer (KLT).

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