Nature Conservancy of Canada helps local conservation-minded landowner protect her land legacy in Wolf Grove Wetlands Complex

The following released a few days ago by the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) announces the exciting news that a property in the Wolf Grove Wetlands Complex area of Mississippi Mills has been protected for conservation.

Nature Conservancy of Canada helps local conservation-minded landowner protect her land legacy in Wolf Grove Wetlands Complex

July 9, 2009

Nature Conservancy of Canada

Mississippi Mills, ON – The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) has protected a 225-acre (91-hectare) property in Mississippi Mills, eastern Lanark County thanks in part to the determination of Martha Webber to see her land protected. Mrs. Webber’s hopes were realized following successful fundraising for both the purchase and essential long-term management of the land.

“Martha Webber is a locally known and respected botanist and naturalist,” said NCC’s Eastern Ontario Program Manager, Gary Bell. “She had received offers from others wishing to buy her property but, quite admirably, preferred to see it protected for conservation.”

The property is the largest single landholding within the provincially significant Wolf Grove Wetlands Complex and contains some of the best examples of diverse hardwood forest and wetlands. The largest open body of water within the natural area, Bowley Lake, is completely contained within this newly protected property.

“That property has meant a lot to us over the years for camping and exploring,” remarked Mrs. Webber. “The more I learn about the variety of habitat, the more I am impressed with our luck in acquiring it and the need to preserve it. Now it provides for the future. Best investment we ever made.”

Existing inventory data revealed that a high number of regionally rare species were located on the property including endangered Butternut and globally-rare Rugulose Grapefern. Also supported on the property is the most easterly example of a rare Poison Sumac Swamp community and the Red-shouldered Hawk, a bird recently removed from the Species at Risk list. The protection of areas like this will help ensure the hawk stays off the list.

Significant funding for this project was obtained through the Nature Conservancy of Canada-Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources Greenlands Program under which NCC must match provincial funds. Matching private funds for this project were raised through dedicated efforts by the Ottawa Field Naturalists, the local community, and a generous donation from Mr. Leonard Lee, founder of Lee Valley Tools and Canica Designs.

This property will be owned and managed by NCC. A complete biological inventory of the property is currently being carried out, which will lead to a better understanding of the natural values of the property and how to best manage it for future generations. Mrs. Webber has used the property as a place to lead nature groups in the past and it is anticipated that this type of educational use will be continued.

The Wolf Grove Wetlands Complex is part of the larger Middle Mississippi River Wetlands Natural Area, a large series of interconnecting and isolated wetlands extending from Lanark to Pakenham. The natural area includes wooded swamps and marshes, fens, and associated aquatic systems and the terrestrial habitats that support them.


Gary Bell
Eastern Ontario Program Manager

Hugh Bennett
Eastern Ontario Major Gifts Officer



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