Arran Lake Wetlands
Thank you Sharon and James Westenberg for your donation of 193 acres of Provincially Significant Wetland (PSW) to the Escarpment Biosphere Conservancy (EBC)! Sharon and James have severed the wetland from their Property and donated this beautiful piece of land to EBC.
Our new Property is west of Tara, right on the southern shore of Arran Lake. From this point south, the entire property is part of the Arran Lake Wetland Complex. A large flat wetland dominated by Eastern White Cedar, Tamarack and Red Maple but is treeless in some areas.
The mature mixed hardwood forest is located on a drumlin raised above the surrounding wetland. The forest has been harvested periodically. This hardwood forest is dominated by Sugar Maple, White Ash, Black Cherry and American Beech and to a lesser extent Ironwood, Basswood, Red Oak and Eastern Hemlock. The understory in this area is dominated by Sugar Maple seedlings and saplings.
There is a smaller forested wetland north of the farm fields on the south side of the Property. A stream passes through this smaller wetland. The area contains a variety of tree species including Balsam Fir, White Spruce, Red Pine, Trembling Aspen and some Willow spp., Dogwood spp., Balsam Poplar and Paper Birch. The understory in this area is dominated by grasses where openings in the canopy occur.
Many bird species at risk have been confirmed on the property including those typical of grasslands and those typical of forested wetlands. The Eastern Meadowlark (Sturnella magna) and the Bobolink (Dolichonyx oryzivorus) are both threatened grassland birds. They are commonly found in hay fields and old meadows. These species likely do not occur in the forested wetlands on the Property owned by EBC but likely occur on the Westenberg property to the south and other adjacent farmland. The Eastern Wood-Pewee (Contopus virens) and the Wood thrush (Hylocichla mustelina) are both woodland birds ranked Special Concern and Threatened respectively. The Wood thrush is found in moist, deciduous hardwood or mixed stands with dense undergrowth during breeding season. The Eastern Wood-Pewee tends to breed in mature and
intermediate-age deciduous and mixed forest. The protection of the forest in this area will support the persistence of these populations into the future.
The wetlands on the Property support a variety of flora and fauna, most markedly the Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentine) a species ranked as Special Concern both provincially and federally. The flowing stream and the bank present on the property create a great habitat for turtles as well as provide nesting sites for females.
Thank you again to our generous donors, we look forward to being the stewards of this magnificent wetland!