The Big Picture Network: Elgin County
Also available is the 'Caring for Nature in Elgin County' factsheet, part of a Carolinian Canada wide series. This factsheet is an excellent overview of Carolinian Canada habitat restoration and conservation work being done in Elgin. The Elgin factsheet is available for download here (PDF 1.4 MB).
Elgin Landscape Strategy
Location: Elgin County
Partners: Elgin County Stewardship Council, West Elgin Nature Trust
The Elgin Landscape Strategy is an information tool to identify and prioritize potential stewardship actions throughout Elgin County. It maps out key natural heritage areas where focused conservation and restoration efforts would be most effective in retaining a healthy and functioning landscape.
The Strategy was developed with respect for the private land base in Elgin County and does not provide rules or regulations to landowners, telling them what to do on their land. Rather, it is intended to provide interested landowners and organizations with some information on how actions on their land can help improve the environment throughout Elgin County. For more information go to http://www.ontariostewardship.org/ontarioStewardship/mi_strategicDocuments/mi_strategicDocuments.asp.
© John Ha
Johnson Farm Restoration
Location: northwest of Rodney, West Elgin
Dates: xxx to present
Partners: John Johnson,
The Johnson family farm over 700 acres northwest of Rodney in the Municipality of West Elgin. They are avid outdoor enthusiasts with a keen interest in the environment. This interest has been the catalyst for increasing the natural cover on their marginal farmland and keeping the best acreage in agricultural production. After a personal assessment of their lands, they decided to retire 12 acres of their property over three years to native trees and wildlife shrubs, and tallgrass prairie. They are also considering more acreage in the future as part of a long term habitat management plan. John, being an avid hunter, remembers the days when coveys of Northern bob-white quail could be seen on along the hedgerows and field borders. While he also appreciates the wild turkey and white-tailed door that are abundant today, returning some of his land back to the habitat that the bob whites once used has become a strong motivator for these projects, in balance with the living they need to make from their land.
Miller Farm Woodland Stewardship
Location: near Port Glascow in West Elgin
The 300-acre Miller farm fronts Lake Erie in the municipality of West Elgin near Port Glascow. This property forms part of a significant natural area in Elgin County with deep interior forest habitat. The family owns 300 acres with approximately 176 acres in forest, and the remaining in agricultural production. Over the last 15 years, 40 acres of marginally productive agricultural land has been restored to natural cover including native hardwoods, conifers and tallgrass prairie. These plantings have been carried out to improve wildlife habitat and increase the enjoyment and use of their property. More restoration is planned on the unproductive agricultural lands in the next two years including 12.0 acres of “pits and mounds” with vernal pools, located in areas of highest erosion before draining into Ox Creek. These habitat features should help to slow the water providing moisture for the plantings and also reduce sediments before entering the Creek. The landowner also plans to participate in the Managed Forest Tax Incentive Program for the added tax savings and to have long term plans in place to manage both the new and existing forest cover.
Port Burwell Provincial Park
Location: Port Burwell west of Big Otter Creek
Dates: to present
Partners: Ontario Parks;
Port Burwell Provincial Park overlooks the tiny fishing village of Port Burwell along the shores of Lake Erie. The park contains a wide variety of environments, from wetlands to woodlands, from cliffs to meadows. Many of the landforms that you see in the park today are a result of the Glacial Lakes that once covered the entire area more than 12,000 years ago. The parks’ upper camping area was formed from glacial silt and sediment deposited here forming the Norfolk Sand Plain.
The steep bluffs, jutting up from the meadows near the waters’ edge were created by the waves and currents of Lake Erie. A popular feature of the park is the two kilometers of beach. A stroll to the eastern edge of the bluffs will provide the visitor with a sample of plant life in the area. Maple, beech and oak forests can be found growing in the shelter of the cliffs.
The history of Port Burwell Provincial Park is varied. Different groups of native Indians inhabited the Norfolk Sand Plain. The Neutral Indians in the 16 th century were eventually replaced with the Iroquois in the 1600’s. European settlers began arriving in the mid 19 th century. By 1850 Port Burwell was boasting a total of 29 sawmills that were producing lumber. After the down turn in logging, commercial fishing became the major industry in the area.
The Park is 231 ha (570 acres) steep bluffs, dunes and beaches along the Lake Erie shoreline. Habitats include stands of mature Oak and Maple-Beech, conifer plantations. beach savanna, dune ecosystems, shrub swamp and meadows. Spring and fall migrations of songbirds, raptors and Monarch Butterflies attract many to this gem in Norfolk’s ‘Deep South’. In the spring the deciduous woodlands are full of spring ephemerals such as Trilliums and Wild Geranium, while in late September the wet meadows are dotted with gentians, Grass of Parnassus and Ladies’ Tresses. For more information go to www.ontarioparks.com/english/portb.html.
Roberts Sustainable Woodlot Management
Location: near Sparta, south Yarmouth Township
Dates: 1840s to present
Partners: David Roberts
Good stewardship has been a lifetime effort of David Roberts of RR#1, Sparta. His family settled into the southern part of Yarmouth Township along Catfish Creek back in the 1840’s. The 640-acre farm has always passed from father to son, and today 300 acres has remained forest, though occasionally harvested in part with managed cuts. The farm is part of the Catfish Creek Slope and Floodplain Forest, one of Carolinian Canada’s Signature Sites. The forest is rich in Carolinian species, including tulip trees, sassafras and sweet chestnut. David and his son Darryl farm dairy, corn and hay in the 340 arable acres which are bisected by Catfish Creek, half in Central Elgin and half in Malahide Township.
Location: near Eden
Dates: 1990s to present
Partners: John and Jo-Anne Twinem,
In the 1990’s John and Jo-Anne Twinem of R.R.#1, Eden purchased 92 acres of marginal farmland that John says probably should never have been farmed in the first place. The property contained about 45 acres of woodlot that had been heavily logged. Of the remaining 47 acres of field, they decided to plant 35 acres of trees to reforest the property. In 1995 and 1996, the planted 28,000 trees, including white ash, white and red pine, and a selection of cherry and maple. They love to walk in their own woods and are pleased that the reforestation has brought back so many species that were rarely seen on the property. Woodcocks have made a triumphant and noisy return, as well as wild turkeys and bluebirds. Their farm is bounded on the north and west by Big Otter Creek.