Bray Lake Conservation Reserve Management Statement
This document provides policy direction for the protection, development and management of the Bray Lake Conservation Reserve and its resources.
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Statement of Conservation Interest
Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources
North Bay District
Approved Statement of Conservation Interest for Bray Lake Conservation Reserve (C72).
The Bray Lake Conservation Reserve has been selected as a site representing forested habitats, located on hilly uplands with sandy deposits left by glaciers. The glacial history of this site has created thirteen distinct habitats (combination of vegetation and landforms), including open wetlands and forests of balsam fir and old sugar maple. Further studies are required to identify other possible ecological associations and their significance. This 265–hectare parcel of Crown land is located approximately 10 km west of the village of Trout Creek and 8 km east of the village of Commanda on Hwy 552. The conservation reserve straddles the southern portion of Gurd Township, now in the municipality of Nipissing and Machar, in the Municipal Township of Machar, District of Parry Sound.
The Bray Lake Conservation Reserve is one of 378 new protected areas approved through Ontario’s Living Legacy Land Use Strategy (1999), a strategy aimed in part, at completing Ontario’s system of parks and protected areas. The site was regulated under the Public Lands Act on January 6, 2001.
Once a conservation reserve is regulated, the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) will complete one of two approved management planning documents, either a Statement of Conservation Interest (SCI) or a Resource Management Plan (RMP). Both documents address the administration of land uses and activities that occur within the regulated boundaries of the conservation reserve. The Bray Lake Conservation Reserve experienced no new issues, conflicts, uses and/or proposals beyond those addressed during land use planning for the Ontario’s Living Legacy Land Use Strategy. As a result, a SCI was completed. For conservation reserves having more complex issues, a RMP would be required.
When considering future permitted uses and/or developments, these must be consistent with the SCI. New uses are evaluated within the context of, but may not be limited to; Test of Compatibility, and appropriate Environmental Assessment (EA) requirements. Other protocols may be developed that address site specific sensitivities to identified features.
The goal of the Bray Lake Conservation Reserve is to protect natural heritage features while permitting compatible land use activities.
The purposes of this SCI are to:
a) Provide background information and identify and describe the values of the Bray Lake Conservation Reserve
b) Provide guidelines for the management of current and future activities while protecting natural, social, and cultural heritage value
During the Lands for Life planning process, the public was widely consulted and provided valuable input into what became Ontario’s Living Legacy Land Use Strategy. Comments received during that time, and consultation related to the formal Public Lands Act regulation of the boundaries of this conservation reserve, were generally supportive of the protection of this area. Stakeholders who provided comment during the boundary consultation for this site were consulted regarding the draft SCI and their comments were considered in the finalization of this document.
This SCI will be reviewed on an ongoing basis. Implementation of the SCI will include monitoring activities to ensure adherence to management guidelines. Should significant facility development be considered or complex issues arise requiring additional studies, further management direction or special protection measures, this SCI will be amended or a more detailed RMP will be prepared with full public consultation.
The district will evaluate the significance of any required changes. Minor changes, which do not alter the overall intent of this SCI, may be considered and approved by the District Manager without further public consultation and the SCI will be amended accordingly. In assessing major changes, the need for a more detailed resource management plan (RMP) will first be considered. Where a RMP is not considered necessary or feasible, a major amendment may be considered with public consultation. Such amendments will also be posted on the Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR) registry. The Regional Director has approval authority for any major amendments to this SCI.
The management and administration of the Bray Lake Conservation Reserve will be guided by the SCI. The North Bay District, Wasi Area Supervisor will manage the northern portion of this site in Gurd Township, while the southern portion in Machar Township will be managed by the Parry Sound District, Bracebridge Area Supervisor. The SCI governs the lands within the regulated boundary of the Bray Lake Conservation Reserve; however, to ensure MNR protection objectives are being fully met within the conservation reserve, activities on the surrounding landscape must consider the site’s objectives and heritage values. In addition, it is the intent of the SCI to create a public awareness that will promote responsible stewardship of protected areas and their surrounding lands in Ontario. With management partners such as Ontario Parks, industry, local governments, etc., the ministry will be able to pursue and advance sound environmental, economic and social strategies and policies related to the protection of this conservation reserve.
I am pleased to approve this Statement of Conservation Interest for the Bray Lake Conservation Reserve (C72).
This Statement of Conservation Interest (SCI) will provide guidance for the management of the conservation reserve and the basis for the ongoing monitoring of land use and resource activities. This conservation reserve is one of 378 new protected areas approved through Ontario’s Living Legacy Land Use Strategy (1999), a strategy aimed in part, at completing Ontario’s system of parks and protected areas.
During the Lands for Life planning process, the public was widely consulted and provided valuable input into what became Ontario’s Living Legacy Land Use Strategy. Comments received during that time, and consultation related to the formal Public Lands Act regulation of the boundaries of this conservation reserve, were generally supportive of the protection of these areas. Stakeholders who provided comment during the boundary consultation for this site were provided the opportunity to review the draft SCI and their comments were considered in the finalization of this document.
Direction for establishing, planning and managing conservation reserves is defined under the Public Lands Act and current policy. "Ontario’s network of natural heritage areas has been established to protect and conserve areas representative of the diversity of the natural regions of the province, including species, habitats, features and ecological systems which comprise that natural diversity." (Policy 3.03.05, MNR 1997). The forests around Bray Lake grow on hilly uplands with sandy deposits left by glaciers. The glacial history has created habitats such as open wetlands and forests of balsam fir and sugar maple. These habitats are currently not protected elsewhere in the province.
The management and administration of the Bray Lake Conservation Reserve will be guided by this SCI. Although significant changes to the current pattern of land use activities and resource management practices are not envisioned, more intensive recreational activity and/or scientific study and resource management practices may require a change in management direction and potentially amendments to this plan.
The northern portion Bray Lake Conservation Reserve will be managed under the direction of the Wasi Area Supervisor, North Bay District while the southern portion will continue to be managed by the Bracebridge Area Supervisor, Parry Sound District, of the Ministry of Natural Resources.
Recommendation For Approval
Date: February 28, 2003
Date: May 30, 2003
Ontario boasts a varied and diverse landscape. Many demands are placed on its resources for both social and economic benefit. The value of these resources was recognized as part of the preparation of Ontario’s Living Legacy Land Use Strategy for the management of 39 million hectares of Crown lands and waters in a planning area covering 45 % of the province. This strategy is committed to completing Ontario’s system for protected areas, recognizing the land use needs of the resource–based tourism industry and enhancing angling, hunting and other Crown land recreation opportunities.
The Bray Lake Conservation Reserve has been selected as a conservation reserve as part of this strategy. This conservation reserve has been selected as a site representing forested habitats, located on hilly uplands with sandy deposits left by glaciers. The northern portion of the site in North Bay District is in Gurd Township, and southern portion in Parry Sound District is in Machar Township. The preparation of a Statement of Conservation Interest (SCI) is a means in which to identify the values of this conservation reserve and to set out guidelines for the management of current and future activities while protecting the natural, social and cultural heritage values of the conservation reserve.
This document has been prepared in accordance with MNR’s Policy for Conservation Reserves (PL 3.03.05). In addition to recognizing a number of existing uses, this SCI provides the opportunity for new uses, which may be considered, provided they meet the Test of Compatibility (see Appendix A), set out in the MNR policy.
This SCI governs all lands within the regulated boundary of the Bray Lake Conservation Reserve. MNR recognizes the need to work with other Ministries and/or proponents of adjacent land use activities, to encourage minimizing the potential risk of negative impacts on the conservation reserve. It is recognized that public awareness and public education will play a role in the stewardship of all protected areas and it is essential to pursue and promote sound environmental, economic and social strategies to reinforce the principles of wise stewardship.
2.0 Goal and Objectives
2.1 Goal of the Statement of Conservation Interest
The goals of the Bray Lake Conservation Reserve SCI are to provide background information, to identify and describe the values of the conservation reserve and provide guidelines for the management of current and future activities while protecting natural, social and cultural heritage values.
2.2 Objectives of the Statement of Conservation Interest
2.2.1 Short Term
- To identify the State of the Resource with respect to natural heritage values and current land use activities for the conservation reserve
- To manage the conservation reserve to protect the integrity of its natural values via specific guidelines, strategies and prescriptions detailed in this plan
- To meet planning requirements by designing this SCI document to address the immediate planning and management needs of the conservation reserve
2.2.2 Long Term
- To establish representative targets (e.g. future forest conditions) and validate the site as a potential scientific benchmark
- To identify research/client services and marketing strategies
- To give direction to evaluate future new or economic ventures (i.e. through use of a Test of Compatibility evaluation)
3.0 Management Planning
3.1 Planning Context
3.1.1 Planning Area
The planning area for this SCI is the regulatory boundary of the conservation reserve (see Location Map). As noted earlier MNR encourages the consideration of conservation reserve values in land use and resource management activities on the surrounding landscape. Any strategies noted within this plan related to the conservation reserve boundary or beyond, will be presented for consideration within a larger planning context. The forest management planning process is an example of how adjacent land management may consider features within the conservation reserve boundary.
3.1.2 Management Planning Context
Ontario’s Living Legacy Land Use Strategy provides the context for planning for protected areas within the system of parks and protected areas. The categorization of land use areas, their associated goals, objectives and permitted uses are reflected in this SCI. Conservation reserves, which are created by regulation under the Public Lands Act, are managed by policies and procedures set out in the Conservation Reserves Policy and Procedure, 1997 (PL 3.03.05).
The Bray Lake Conservation Reserve was regulated as a conservation reserve on January 6, 2001, by Ontario Regulation (O. Reg. 686/00).
When considering future permitted uses and/or development(s), there are established mechanisms in place to evaluate these proposals. These include, but may not be limited to: Procedural Guideline B – Land Uses – Test of Compatibility Policy PL 3.03.05 (OMNR 1997); and applicable Environmental Assessment (EA) requirements, with accompanying Environmental Checklists. Other protocols may be developed that address site specific sensitivities to identified features within the conservation reserve.
Consideration for proposals, such as new structural development, significant clearing of vegetation or altering of land within the conservation reserve will adhere to a screening process for cultural heritage resources such as through the Ministry of Culture; Conserving a Future for our Past: Archeology, Land Use Planning & Development in Ontario, Section 3, "Reviewing Development Applications for Archaeological Conservation Purposes," (formerly MCzCR, 1997) and MNR’s AOC Descriptions and Prescriptions.
3.2 Planning Process
Once a conservation reserve is regulated, there is a need to determine the level of management planning required to fulfill protection targets. The SCI is a directional document that provides background information, identifies values to be protected and establishes management guidelines for the conservation reserve. The SCI was selected since there were no new issues beyond those addressed during land use planning for Ontario’s Living Legacy or during consultation prior to site regulation.
The implementation of policy will be the responsibility of the MNR at the district level. Associations with various partners may also be sought to assist in the delivery of the management program for the conservation reserve. It should be noted that the SCI is a working document and it will be necessary to make revisions to it from time to time. If changes are required, they will occur through a standard process of minor or major amendment.
4.0 Background Information
4.1 Location and Site Description
The following table describes the location and provides administrative details of the conservation reserve:
|Name||Bray Lake Conservation Reserve (C72)|
|OMNR Administrative Region/District/Area||Northeast/North Bay/Wasi Southcentral/Parry Sound/Bracebridge|
|Total Area||265 ha|
|Municipality||Corporation of the Township of Nipissing and Municipal township of Machar|
|Site Region– Site District (Hills, 1959)||5E (Georgian Bay), 5E–8 (Huntsville)|
|Land Ownership||100% Crown Land|
|Topographic Maps||31 E/14 South River|
|Ontario Base Maps||2017 6100 50800|
|Latitude||46° 56’ N|
|Longitude||79° 29’ E|
|First Nations||Robinson–Huron Treaty|
|Regulation Date||January 6, 2001 O. Reg. 686/00|
|General||10 km west of Trout Creek, 8 km west of Commanda – Hwy. 522|
4.1.2 Site Description
184.108.40.206 Physical Description
The Bray Lake Conservation Reserve is a 265 ha parcel of Crown land, which is located approximately 10 km west of the village of Trout Creek via highway 522, within the Corporation of the Township of Nipissing and the municipal township of Machar. The conservation reserve straddles the two MNR administrative districts; North Bay and Parry Sound.
Access into this conservation reserve is limited and can be achieved either via a snowmobile trail in the winter only. The Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) has a connector trail, which runs through a portion of the conservation reserve. Access to the site from the OFSC trail is restricted during the spring, summer and fall months to prevent the degradation of private property. There is a private gate located west of the conservation reserve on adjacent patent land. The gate can be seen from the tertiary road. As mentioned, the tertiary road is an alternate means of access to the conservation reserve. The road runs approximately 300 meters above the northern boundary, off Highway 522. This access would be a walk–in route only. Only the extreme northern portion of the site is not surrounded by patent land (see Tenure map). The OFSC trail and bridge leading into the site has a no trespassing sign posted. Access from the tertiary road would include non–trailed access to the site through wetland area and through a deep creek.
Most of the landscape associated with this conservation reserve is upland in nature with only a few small wetland pockets. The open hardwood forests and rolling terrain rationalize the sites moderate but scenic attractiveness to a variety of user groups. Aside from the northern most limits, most of the boundary abuts patent land. The Bray Lake Conservation Reserve legal boundary consist of a series of vectored lines for both North Bay and Parry Sound portions of the conservation reserve.
Forested upland tree species identified within the boundary consist primarily of sugar maple, white and yellow birch, beech and black cherry. A series of connected wetland communities consisting of open water marsh, thicket swamps and beaver meadows can be found throughout the northern and southern limits of the conservation reserve. Most of these areas have been modified by frequent beaver activity.
A combination of uplands, low lying forests and wetlands can be found within this conservation reserve. This organization provides a moderate level of vegetative diversity.
Disturbance levels within the conservation reserve are relatively low. An old logging road, now and OFSC trial, traverses through the central portion of the site. Evidence of past harvesting is also seen, although the landscape now shows little sign of this activity.
4.2 Administrative Description
The legal boundaries of the Bray Lake Conservation Reserve were certified by the Surveyor General of Ontario in the Ministry of Natural Resources at Peterborough on October 20, 2000. The conservation reserve was passed into regulation on January 6, 2001 (O.Reg. 686/00).
The following table indicates what survey work has been done within the conservation reserve and what is required:
|Life Science||Merchant B., 2002 Life Science Checksheet: Bray Lake Conservation Reserve (C72).||Determine site’s potential as an Inventory Monitoring Assessment and Reporting (IMAR) site.|
|Earth Science||Aerial photography. (1987). Kristjansson R.F.J., 2002. Earth Science Checksheet and aerial reconnaissance survey: Bray Lake Conservation Reserve (C72).|
|Recreational||Roberts, S.K., 2002. Recreational Inventory Checksheet: Bray Lake Conservation Reserve (C72).|
|Map Resources||MNR Values Map Series August 2002: Location, Recreational, Tenure, Forest, Commercial, Cultural Heritage. MNR, Human Use and Disturbance Inventory Map, December 11, 2001. MNR, Ontario’s Living Legacy Land Use Strategy, July 1999, Queen’s Printer.|
5.0 State of the Resource
In late May 1997, the MNR (Natural Heritage Information Centre and Natural Heritage Section) carried out a natural heritage "gap analysis" project for Site District 5E–8, in conjunction with Ontario Living Legacy’s Land Use Planning.
The purpose of the gap analysis was to identify different vegetation and landform combinations that were not included in protected areas at that time. Geographic Information Systems technology was used and applied to the following criteria: 1) representation of landform–vegetation patterns; 2) diversity; 3) condition; 4) ecological considerations; and 5) special features (Crins and Kor 1998). This conservation reserve was identified through this gap analysis. It is estimated that this site contains 12 landform/vegetation combinations. The forests around Bray Lake grow on hilly uplands with sandy deposits left by glaciers.
Life Science Features
The Bray Lake Conservation Reserve exhibits a combination of landform vegetation types that contribute to the site’s distinctiveness. The upland–forested areas are dominated by tolerant to mid–tolerant hardwood species on rich till, including sugar maple, yellow birch, beech and black cherry. The sugar maple, black cherry and yellow birch grow on silt loam soil of high productivity, as indicated by the healthy mature black cherry. The forest canopies are diverse with age, composition and crown closure; the understory richness varies between moderate and high. Springs located high on the hills contribute to the moisture regime on shallow sites (Merchant, 2002).
The wetland communities are present in northern and southern portions of the conservation reserve. The northern wetland communities drain through the center of and spread out again in the southern half. These low–lying communities have been modified by beaver activity. Marsh communities are present and have been identified adjacent to streams, which flow through the conservation reserve. Other wetland communities such as alder and thicket swamps are setback from the marsh communities, most of these swamp communities are in–turn surrounded by black spruce and balsam fir swamp. The presence of cedar, larch, yellow birch and white elm, identify richer swamp conditions on lacustrine deposits.
Earth Science Features
Kristjansson (2002) describes this conservation reserve as being underlain by felsic, plutonic rocks, including derived gneisses of the Central Gneiss Belt (Ontario Geological Survey, 1991, Map 2544). The upland areas of bedrock dominate the terrain geology of this site, although minor bedrock exposure (associated with a thin, relatively continuous drift cover) are generally anticipated.
The North Bay portion of the conservation reserve (northern section) appears to be immediately underlain by areas of bedrock–drift complex glaciolacustrine deposits and organic deposits. Bedrock knob or knoll forms with intervening, somewhat lower elevation areas are characteristic. In general, minor bedrock exposures associated with a thin, relatively continuous cover of sandy silt till are anticipated within areas of bedrock–drift complex. Also anticipated are areas of organic deposit, which immediately overlie bedrock and/or till.
The conservation reserve also includes a combination of north, central and south lowlands. These low land areas are dispersed across the conservation reserve and they appear to be immediately underlain by glaciolacustrine deposits, probably fine grained, glaciolacustrine deposits (i.e. silt and clay), and Organic deposits. Deposits of glaciolacustrine clayey silt immediately underlie the northern lowland area (North Bay section), and extensive areas of organic deposits directly underlie the remaining portions of the lowland areas.
5.1.1 Quality of the Representation
The quality of the representation or the current characteristics of the natural features found within a conservation reserve are as important as the overall representative features that are being protected. A number of factors are considered in evaluating the quality of a conservation reserve’s representative features. They include diversity, condition, ecological factors, special features and current land use activities.
Diversity is a measure of the conservation reserve’s earth and life science variety. The evaluation is based on the number and range (assortment) of landscape features and landforms for earth science values and the relative richness and evenness of the site’s life science components.
The Bray Lake Conservation Reserve contains a relatively moderate to high level of vegetative diversity, represented by a combination of upland and wetland habitats. Generally speaking, the upland hills are dominated by tolerant hardwood species while lower slopes support poplar–birch mixedwoods, and conifer lined swamps (Merchant, 2002). Wetlands consist of treed and shrub swamps, open marshes and small cold water lakes. These ecosystems grow atop of a variety of physiographic site types. These are created by exposed bedrock, shallow to deep till, and glaciofluvial, lacustrine and organic deposits.
The diversity of ecosystems within this conservation reserve is expected to result in a high level of associated wildlife diversity as well. A reconnaissance survey by Merchant, 2001 indicated the presence of such species as moose, beaver, fisher, and a variety of waterfowl.
Overall, the conservation reserve is in very good condition, with respect to its natural features. Natural disturbances in the form of beaver activity have been observed within the associated wetland communities. Human disturbances in the form of past harvesting, which occurred in the hardwood stands has left little trace of its presence. Also, remnant white pine stumps are indicative of these past practices. An old logging road traverses the center of the conservation reserve, and is currently used by OFSC as part of a connector trail. Some erosion has occurred where the trail crosses shallow–to–bedrock–areas. Recreational uses within this area include hunting, angling and trapping. However, these activities have little impact on the core values of the conservation reserve.
A tertiary road, which provides an access point, lies only a few hundred meters from the northern boundary. This could place additional pressure on the conservation reserve by user groups, however the area is mainly used for low impact hunting and trapping purposes.
(c) Ecological Factors
The design of this conservation reserve has utilized the boundaries of surrounding patent lands in its organization. Aside from the northernmost limits, this conservation reserve is completely bordered by these private lands.
(d) Special Features
The conservation reserve contains special Life Science features including moose aquatic feeding areas and waterfowl staging areas. The bedrock and surficial geology associated with conservation reserve are commonly encountered across site district 5E–8 (Huntsville), and are considered to be of local significance.
(e) Current Land Use Activities
Activities that occur in the conservation reserve include hunting and snowmobiling during winter months. There is an active Bear Management Area which overlaps with the conservation reserve and is accessible for this species as well as for other sport hunting permitted on crown land. There are no registered traplines within the North Bay portion of the conservation reserve, however some resident trappers may use this area. There is a trapline immediately located adjacent to the southern portion site. There are two registered baitfish harvesters for the North Bay Township of Gurd and one for the Parry Sound Township of Machar. Baitfish licenses are issued on a township basis and existing harvesting can occur anywhere within the licensed agreement.
There are no existing mining, timber harvesting, aggregate extraction or utility activities within the conservation reserve. However these activities may occur on adjacent lands.
None of the identified land use activities have contributed to any notable impact on the internal values of the conservation reserve.
The Bray Lake Conservation Reserve contains a moderate number of vegetative communities. The upland forested communities growing on the sandy glacial deposits is an important feature for life science study. The conservation reserve is in good physical condition and is host to generally low impact land use activities.
5.2 Social/Economic Interest in the Area
(a) Linkage to Local Communities
The Bray Lake Conservation Reserve consists entirely of Crown land. The accessible nature of the site has contributed to the existing land use activities of hunting, trapping, baitfish harvesting and snowmobiling. The conservation reserve has suitability for many activities given its size and ecological diversity. This landscape provides opportunities beyond those identified, low impact activities such as photography, bird watching, nature study, and interpretation are supported in this conservation reserve.
(b) Heritage Estate Contributions
The Bray Lake Conservation Reserve contributes to the province’s parks and protected areas system through its regulation, representation and the long–term management of its natural heritage values. As noted in section 5.1, this site was identified for protection in order to fill gaps in vegetation/landform representation, as identified in MNR’s gap analysis. This site is estimated to contain 12 combinations of vegetation and landforms.
By allocating these lands to the parks and protected areas system through regulation, the province has ensured a certain level of permanence by distinguishing the conservation reserve and its values from the larger general use or more extensively managed landscape. In addition, the conservation reserve’s natural features are, and will be available for present and future generations to enjoy and explore.
The conservation reserve’s ecological features make a number of contributions to the province’s natural heritage estate. Its distinguished glacial sand deposits and associated upland forests along with other mixed aquatic and terrestrial communities contribute significantly to the provincial parks and protected areas system. The lack of recreational infrastructure allows for a certain level of backcountry opportunities and experiences.
Long–term management must consider public access to the conservation reserve and its protection objectives. Future managers will have to balance between maintaining the quality of the current representation and the needs of recreational and other users.
(c) Aboriginal Groups
All Aboriginal and treaty rights will continue to be respected throughout the management of this SCI. Any future proposal(s) and/or decision(s) that have potential impact(s) on the individual aboriginal and or communities values will involve additional consultation with the affected aboriginal groups.
(d) Mining Industry
There are no known current mining interests, claims and/or leases within the Bray Lake Conservation Reserve. Mining and surface rights have been withdrawn from staking within the conservation reserve’s boundaries under the Mining Act (RSO 1990 Chapter M.14).
There is currently no mining land in the general vicinity of the conservation reserve. The patented lands surrounding the conservation reserve have both surface and mineral rights.
(e) Forest Management
Commercial forest harvesting is not permitted in the regulated boundaries of the conservation reserve nor are personal use permits issued for wood harvesting. Commercial harvesting is permitted in adjacent areas, which form part of the Nipissing Forest and the French–Severn Forest Management Plan. Harvesting activities are subject to work plans approved by the Ministry of Natural Resources within prescribed harvesting practices. Harvesting is permitted in adjacent areas, as approved in the Forest Management Plans and is permitted up to the conservation reserve boundary.
There are no existing commercial utilities associated with the conservation reserve.
5.3 Natural Heritage Stewardship
Preliminary analysis of the life science targets based on landform/vegetation combinations estimates that the conservation reserve contains 12 such combinations. Disturbance for the conservation reserve was rated low with only small traces of past logging practices.
5.4 Fisheries and Wildlife
There have been no detailed wildlife studies undertaken within the conservation reserve. The importance of the conservation reserve to wildlife species has yet to be determined, particularly for those species, and habitats thereof, that may be vulnerable, threatened or endangered.
Should any vulnerable, threatened or endangered (VTE) wildlife and/or plant species be identified within or adjacent to the conservation reserve, their value will be protected. Although the species may be identified as residing within the conservation reserve, their location will remain undisclosed.
The Loring Deer yard is located northwest of the conservation reserve and spans the townships of Pringle, East Mills and Hardy.
5.5 Cultural Heritage Stewardship
There are no archeological sites identified within the conservation reserve. The North Bay District portion of the map has some identified high potential heritage areas (see cultural heritage values map). High potential cultural heritage areas are identified using a computer based predictive modeling program. Based on a series of pre–defined parameters, the program identifies candidate areas, which are most likely to be culturally significant.
5.6 Land Use/Existing Development
There are no buildings found in the Bray Lake Conservation Reserve. A private recreational camp and a single permanent structure are located approximately 0.5km outside of the northwestern and southwestern boundary respectively.
5.7 Commercial Use
There are non–industrial commercial uses which occur in the conservation reserve. Adjacent activities include trapline NB–78 west of the conservation reserve North Bay District and trapline BR–35 that is directly adjacent to the Parry Sound portion of the reserve. Bear management area NB–47–22, overlaps with the North Bay portion of the conservation reserve, and both Gurd and Machar Townships are licensed for commercial baitfish harvesting.
5.8 Tourism/Recreation Use/Opportunities
With the exception of the OFSC trail, there is no known infrastructure supporting any recreational activity within the conservation reserve. No additional trails have been identified within the conservation reserve.
Recreational activities such as hunting and snowmobiling do occur within the conservation reserve.
5.9 Client Services
Presently, client services include district responses to public inquiries. No formal information or interpretive facilities currently exist within the conservation reserve. There is a fact sheet available to the public, which summarizes information for this conservation reserve.
6.0 Management Guidelines
6.1 Management Planning Strategies
The land use intent outlined in Ontario’s Living Legacy Land Use Strategy provides context and direction to land use, resource management, and operational planning activities on Crown land. Commitments identified in the above strategy and current legislation (Policy 3.03.05 PLA) will form the basis for land use within Bray Lake Conservation Reserve (Appendix C). Management strategies for these uses must consider both the short and long–term objectives for the conservation reserve. For up to date information on permitted uses refer to the Crown Land Use Atlas.
The conservation reserve will be managed by allowing natural ecosystems and associated processes to occur naturally, with minimal human interference.
Proposed uses and development within the boundaries of the conservation will be reviewed on a case–by–case basis. A Test of Compatibility, (Procedural Guideline B – Land Uses, PL. 3.03.05) must be passed before they are deemed acceptable. The emphasis will be on ensuring the natural values of the conservation reserves are not negatively affected by current or future land use activities. Therefore, any application for new specific uses will be carefully studied and reviewed. The Ministry, partner organizations and/or proponents may undertake such studies.
6.2 State of the Resource Management Strategies
Administrative responsibility for the Bray Lake Conservation Reserve lies with the MNR’s North Bay District, Wasi Area Supervisor for the northern portion while the southern portion will continue to be managed by the Bracebridge Area Supervisor, Parry Sound District MNR. Implementation of this SCI will primarily involve monitoring activities to ensure adherence to the management guidelines. The following management strategies have been created to achieve the goals and objectives stated earlier in this directional document:
- The management direction will allow for the ongoing economic benefits derived from bear management, baitfish harvesting and trap line activities, which may occur in the conservation reserve
- Educational opportunities may be developed and encouraged in order to create an awareness of natural systems in the area
Natural Heritage Stewardship
- MNR recognizes the need for forest fire disturbance to maintain certain types of ecosystems. These accepted disturbances are part of the life regeneration cycle of our natural forested landscape
- The principles of sensitive "Light on Land" fire suppression techniques will be practiced, where possible, in the Bray Lake Conservation Reserve. Fire response initiatives can include full, modified and monitored response depending on the anticipated fire impacts on the site, adjacent property, local infrastructure and the protected resource
- Prescribed burning may be utilized if deemed necessary to emulate natural disturbances and renew forest communities, prepare seed beds for research and/or education purposes or to meet additional objectives determined within a separate vegetative management plan. All scheduled prescribed burns (PBs) within the boundaries of this conservation reserve will be conducted as directed by the current PB Policy AF.03.23.02
- The management intent for the Bray Lake Conservation Reserve is to allow for natural ecosystems, processes and features to operate undisturbed with minimal human interference while providing educational, research and recreational activities. An exception could be made for fire suppression, or selected forest pest and disease control where significant values may be threatened
- All earth and life science features will be protected by defining compatible uses and applying a "Test of Compatibility" to all new land use proposals and or developments. Enforcing regulations and monitoring and mitigating the impacts will apply to all existing and any new approved land use activities
- New Permits for fuel–wood will not be issued
- Activities that do not pass a Test of Compatibility will be prohibited (MNR Policy 3.03.05, 1997)
- The introduction of exotic and/or invasive species will not be permitted.
- Programs may be developed to control forest insects and diseases where there is a concern that significant values may be threatened. Remedies must focus on the outbreak or infestation. Biological or non–intrusive solutions should be applied wherever possible
- The collection/removal of vegetation and parts thereof will not be permitted; however, subject to a Test of Compatibility, the Area Supervisor may authorize the collection of plants and/or parts for purposes of rehabilitating degraded sites within the conservation reserve, collecting seeds for maintaining genetic stock and/or research
- Detailed ecological surveys concerning vegetation are warranted to achieve a better understanding of the area’s existing conditions and biodiversity
- Research, education and interpretation will be encouraged to provide a better understanding of the management and protection of the natural heritage values and will be fostered through local and regional natural heritage programs, initiatives and partnerships
Fisheries and Wildlife
- Fish and wildlife resources will continue to be managed in accordance with policies and regulations prevailing in the area and under the direction of the Wasi Area Supervisor. Provincial legislation and policy will dictate management and enforcement objectives for this area
- The management direction will endeavour to verify wildlife species present, ecological functions and habitat requirements
- First Nation Treaty rights will be respected (see Aboriginal Interests)
- Sport hunting will be permitted within the conservation reserve
- There are no known cultural heritage resources on–site and or associated with the conservation reserve
- Should cultural heritage values be identified within and or associated with the conservation reserve they will be documented as encountered, and the protection of these values will be maintained
- Research/education to provide a better understanding of the management and protection of cultural heritage values will be encouraged
Land Use/Existing Development
- The management direction is to provide for land use activities, which complement and support educational and conservation objectives
- Existing land uses and development within the conservation reserve that conflict with the protection objectives (Test of Compatibility) will be identified and discontinued if impacts can’t be mitigated
- New roads, sale of Crown land and utility corridors are prohibited
- Mechanized recreational travel (ATV, snowmobile) will be allowed to continue, provided they do not adversely affect the natural heritage values being protected. In general new mechanized recreation trails will be discouraged within the conservation reserve
- Existing non–industrial commercial uses such as trapping, baitfish harvesting and the operation of bear management areas will be permitted. These activities will continue to be monitored in order to ensure they do not deplete natural resources and that they impose a minimal impact on the features identified for protection
- Consideration for new non–industrial commercial activities (i.e., bear management, baitfish harvesting and traplines) which overlap with the conservation reserve can be considered subject to a "Test of Compatibility", consistent with provincial direction
- There are no known current mining interests within the Bray Lake Conservation Reserve. Mining and surface rights have been withdrawn from staking within the conservation reserve’s boundaries under the Mining Act (RSO 1990 Chapter M.14)
- Industrial activities such as commercial timber harvesting, prospecting, mining, hydro generation, new utility, transportation corridors and MNR resource roads will not be permitted within the conservation reserve
- New trap line cabins will not be permitted
- Commercial enterprises offering ecotourism experiences within the conservation reserve will be considered providing these activities are low in intensity (small scale encroachments), and would not have a significant negative impact on the site values and are compatible with other uses
- Aboriginal treaty rights will continue to be respected throughout the management of this SCI. Any future proposal(s) and or decision(s) that have potential impact(s) on individual aboriginal values and/or communities will involve additional consultation with the affected aboriginal groups
- The earth and life science features and their protection shall be the overall theme for tourism
- ATV use on trails will be permitted to continue provided this use does not adversely impact the values being protected
- Seasonal gated trail restrictions on adjacent patent land are the right of the respective property owner and must observed
- Non–trail snowmobiling or ATV use may be permitted for retrieval of game only
- Conflict resolution between recreational uses will be undertaken, where necessary and with input from relevant user groups
- In general new mechanized recreation trails (ATV and snowmobile) will be discouraged within the conservation reserve
- New activities such as facility infrastructure will be considered on a case by case basis provided they are consistent with the intent and maintain the values of the site and pass a "Test of Compatibility"
- Emphasis will be placed on activities that have a low impact on the conservation reserve environment. Therefore, applications for new specific uses or facility infrastructure will be carefully studies and reviewed
- Information regarding the Bray Lake Conservation Reserve may be delivered from different sources, however, MNR will be the lead agency for responding to inquiries
- A management agreement may be pursued with an appropriate partner to share responsibilities for information services and the delivery of other aspects of this SCI
6.3 Specific Feature/Area/Zone Management Strategies
Presently there are no specific strategies in place for sub–zones within the conservation reserve.
6.4 Promote Inventory, Monitoring, Assessment and Reporting (IMAR)
There are limited opportunities in a conservation reserve of this size. Non–destructive research may be promoted as an asset for procuring an understanding of the natural features and ecological functions of the conservation reserve and their comparative value to other conservation reserves and/or to landforms bordering the conservation reserve.
6.5 Implementation and Plan Review Strategies
This SCI will be reviewed on an ongoing basis. Implementation of the SCI will include the monitoring of activities to ensure adherence to management guidelines.
Implementation of the SCI and management of the conservation reserve are the responsibility of the Wasi Area Supervisor (North Bay) and Bracebridge Area Supervisor (Parry Sound) of MNR. Partnerships may be pursued to address management needs. If changes in management direction are needed at any time, the significance of the changes will be evaluated. Minor changes, which do not alter the overall intent of the SCI, may be considered and approved for the northern portion by the North Bay District Manager and for the southern portion by the Parry Sound District Manager without further public consultation and the SCI will be amended accordingly.
In assessing major changes, the need for a more detailed resource management plan (RMP) will be considered. Where a RMP is not considered necessary or feasible, a major amendment may be considered with public consultation. Such amendments will also be posted on the Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR) registry. The Regional Director has approval authority for any major amendments to this SCI.
6.6 Marketing Strategies
Messages should focus on the area’s natural heritage features representation, recreation opportunities, nature appreciation and education.
Chambers, B.A., Naylor, B.J., Merchant, B. and Uhlig, P. 1997. Field Guide to Forest Ecosystems of Central Ontario.
Crins, W.J. and P.W.C. Uhlig. 2000. Ecoregions of Ontario: Modifications to Angus Hills’ Site Region and Districts – Revisions and Rationale. Crins, W.J. pers. comm., 2002
Crins, W. J. and Kor, P. S. G. Natural Heritage Gap Analysis Methodologies Used by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. Unpublished Paper. Peterborough: OMNR, 1998.
EMR Canada. 1994. Topographic Map 1:50,000. South River. Sheet 31 E/14. Kristjansson, R.F.J., December 10, 2001. Earth Science Checksheet: Bray Lake Conservation Reserve (C72).
Merchant, B., May, 2002. Natural Heritage Area – Life Science Checksheet: Bray Lake Conservation Reserve (C72).
Mitsch, W.J., and Gosselink J.G., 2000. Wetlands: Third Edition. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Glossary: 771–784.
NTS Topographic Mapping.
OFRI. 1994a. Boreal East Landforms Mapping – Satellite Imagery.
OMNR. July 1999. Ontario’s Living Legacy, Land Use Strategy. Queen’s Printer.
OMNR. 1997. Public Lands Directive Manual: Natural Heritage–PL 3.03.05.
OMNR. 1:20,000 1987 Aerial Photos.
OMNR. 1997c. Ontario Watershed Mapping.
OMNR. Lakes 1:60,00,000 Mapping.
OMNR. MTO Roads 1:600,000 Mapping.
OMNR. Patent 1:600,000 Mapping.
OMNR. Railway 1:600,000 Mapping.
OMNR. Townships 1:600,000 Mapping
OMNR. Transmission Lines 1:600,000 Mapping.
OMNR. North Bay District. 2002. C72 Bray Lake Conservation Reserve File. OMNR. North Bay District. 1998. Forest Resources Inventory Mapping (Age Corrected to 2002).
Roberts, S.K., February 4, 2002. Recreational Inventory Checksheet: Bray Lake Conservation Reserve (C72).
Rowe, J.S. 1972. Forest Regions of Canada.
Procedural Guideline B – Landuses –
Test of Compatibility
Public Lands Act Policy PL 3.03.05 (procedure 3.03.05)
The Conservation Reserve policy provides broad direction with regard to the permitted uses. The policy provides only an indication of the variety of uses that will be considered acceptable in Conservation Reserves. The only caution is that "any new uses, and commercial activities associated with them will be considered on a case by case basis, they must pass a test of compatibility to be acceptable". What does a "test of compatibility" mean?
An examination of this must start from the premise of why an area is set aside – specifically, its representative natural heritage values. Criteria are then identified to guide compatibility considerations. These criteria apply to the long–term acceptability of both existing uses and new uses.
Conformity to SCI/RMP: SCI describe values for which an area has been set aside and the range of appropriate uses that will be permitted in the area. SCI may also speak to the acceptability of other 'new' uses currently not occurring in the area.
The first 'test' is: "do proposed new land uses and/or commercial activities conform to the direction of the SCI/RMP for the conservation reserve? Would the new use(s) depart from the spirit of appropriate indicator land uses in the SCI/RMP?"
- Impact Assessment: If the proposed use(s) pass test 1 it is important to determine their impact on the area before they are approved. This should include the following:
- Impact on natural heritage values: "will the new use(s) impact any natural values in the area? If so how and to what degree? Is it tolerable?"
- Impact on cultural values: "will the new use(s) impact an historical or archaeological values in the area?"
- Impact on research activities: "will the new use(s) affect research activities in the area?" Impact on current uses: "will the new use(s) have any negative impact on the array of current uses?"
- Impact on area administration: "will the new use(s) increase administrative costs and/or complexity?" (For example, the cost of area monitoring, security and enforcement).
- Impact on accommodating the use outside the conservation reserve: "Could the use(s) be accommodated as well or better outside the conservation reserve?"
- Impact on socio-economics of the area: "will the new use(s) affect the community(ies) surrounding the area in a positive or negative way?" (For example, will the new use make an area less remote thereby affecting a local tourism industry that is dependent on the area’s remoteness for its appeal?"
- Impact on area accessibility: "does the new use(s) give someone exclusive rights to the area or a portion of the area to the exclusion of other existing uses?"
Glossary of Terms
Bedrock–Drift Complex: Bedrock terrain including area of moderate bedrock exposure (estimate 25 to 75 percent bedrock outcrop) and discontinuous drift, and areas of apparently bedrock controlled topography (estimate <25 percent bedrock outcrop) overlain by a thin, relatively continuous drift cover. The associated drift cover is commonly composed of till deposits, although the cover sediment types can be dominant; local areas of relatively thick till deposits may be present, as well as colluvial deposits associated with the bedrock slopes.
Biodiversity: The total variability of life on earth, including the diversity of genes, species and ecosystems.
Forest Ecosystem Classification (FEC): 100 m2 (10 m x 10 m) research plot used by MNR to sample forest cover types. Sample plots are located in mature uniform forest stands with uniform conditions. Sampling is undertaken based on a pre–determined hierarchical strategy (Hill’s 1959 ecodistrict, forest cover type, soil texture, depth and moisture class) and scientific data collection protocols.
Information obtained during FEC sampling provides important information on the overstorey species composition, stand structure and the understory vegetation and soil–site characteristics. Resource managers are able to use this data to help manage and conserve forested ecosystems and landscapes. Also, these permanent plots provide an opportunity to monitor forest change over time.
Glaciolacustrine Deposits: fine sand, silt and clay deposited in beach and near shore environments; glaciolacustrine deltas representing significant delta progradiation are also classified with this map unit designation (as deltic valley fills). The deltaic valley fill succession includes delta plain (sand and gravel), delta front (sand), and prodelta (silt and clay) deposits. The delta plain or delta top–set deposits represent progradiation of glaciofluvial outwash system; the deltaic valley fill succession may be variously exposed by erosion.
Hydric Soils: 1Soils that formed under conditions of saturation, flooding, or ponding long enough during the growing season to develop anaerobic (oxygeneless) conditions in the upper part.
IMAR: An integrated, ministry–wide framework for Inventory, Monitoring, Assessment, and Reporting that supports the management of our natural resources in an ecologically sustainable way.
Marsh: 2 A frequently or continually inundated wetland characterized by emergent herbaceous vegetation adapted to saturated soil conditions.
Organic Deposits: Primarily consists of peat and muck. 3Peat (fabric organic soil material, with virtually all of the organic matter allowing for the identification of plant forms).4 Muck (sapric organic soil mater decomposed, not allowing for the identification of plant form); organic sediment which has accumulated in poorly drained depressions and other poorly drained areas in terrestrial settings, or has infilled various shallow aquatic environments.
Site Region: Ontario has a total of 13 site regions. Site regions are broad climatic zones distinguished by their north–south temperature and east–west precipitation gradient.
Site District: Ontario has a total of 65 site districts. Site districts are the distinctive physiographic areas found within the site regions. Each site district contains landform patterns and biological productivity traits that distinguish it from other site districts. Finer landscape units are defined in each site district based on reoccurring landform patterns. Close to one half of these landform patterns and the vegetation and species they support are found within Ontario’s provincial parks.
Swamp: 5 Wetland dominated by trees or shrubs.
Vector: A series of distinct points, which makes up a line which, defines a portion of a conservation reserve’s boundary. This artificial boundary is created with the use of Geographic Information System (GIS) computer software.
Wetland: 6 Generally they have the presence of shallow water or flooded soils for part of the growing season and have organisms adapted to this wet environment, and have soil indicators of this flooding such as hydric soils.
Ontario’s Living Legacy (OLL) Conservation Reserve Permitted Use Table
Table 4: Summary of Permitted Uses in Conservation
|Use||Existing Conservation Reserves||New Conservation Reserves in the Planning Area|
|Commercial timber harvest, commercial hydro development||Not permitted.||Not permitted.|
|Mineral exploration and mining||Not permitted.||Not permitted.|
|Bait fishing, commercial fishing commercial fur harvesting, wild–rice harvesting||Existing use permitted to continue, unless there are significant demonstrated conflicts. New operations can be considered subject to the "Test of Compatibility" .||Existing use permitted to continue, unless there are significant demonstrated conflicts. New operations can be considered subject to the "Test of Compatibility".|
|Sport fishing||Permitted, except in specific fish sanctuaries.||Permitted, except in specific fish sanctuaries.|
|Seasonal recreation camps "hunt camps"||Existing camps permitted to continue, and may be eligible for enhanced tenure, but not purchase of land (see 6.1.8).||Existing camps permitted to continue, and may be eligible for enhanced tenure, but not purchase of land (see 6.1.8).|
|Commercial Bear Hunting||Existing use permitted to continue. New operations not permitted.||Existing use permitted to continue. New operations not permitted.|
|Tourism facilities (for resource based tourism) and recreational trails||Existing authorized facilities and trails can continue, unless there are significant demonstrated conflicts. No new tourism facilities permitted. New trails can be considered as part of planning for an individual reserve.||Existing authorized facilities and trails (motorized and non–motorized) can continue, unless there are significant demonstrated conflicts. Tourism facilities can apply to upgrade tenure from LUP to lease. New tourism and trails facilities can be considered as part of planning for an individual reserve.|
|Land Disposition||Sale of land is not permitted. Renewals of existing leases or land use permits are permitted; requests for transfer of tenure will be considered in the context of a Statement of Conservation Interest (SCI) or a Resource Management Plan (RMP). New leases or land use permits permitted for approval activities.||Sale of land is not permitted. Renewals of existing leases or land use permits are permitted; requests for transfer of tenure will be considered in the context of a Statement of Conservation Interest (SCI) or a Resource Management Plan (RMP). New leases or land use permits permitted for approval activities.|
|Roads||Existing roads can continue to be used, but new roads for resource extraction will not be permitted.||Existing roads can continue to be used, but new roads for resource extraction will not be permitted.|
This table is from the 1999 Ontario’s Living Legacy Land Use Strategy, page 24.
The Public Lands Act, specifically, Conservation Reserve Policy PL 3.03.05 and the Crown Land Use Atlas governs uses and management activities not listed in this permitted use table.
Bray Lake (C72)
|Generic (Yes, No, Maybe)||(C72) Specific (Yes, No, Maybe)|
|Non–trail ATV use||Maybe7||Maybe7||Maybe8|
|Cross–Country Skiing trails||Yes||Maybe||Maybe7|
|Horse riding trails||Yes||Maybe||Maybe7|
Science, Education & Heritage Appreciation
Bray Lake (C72)
|Photography and painting||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Bray Lake (C72)
|Wild rice harvesting||Yes||Maybe||N/A|
Bray Lake (C72)
|Featured species management||Maybe||Maybe||Maybe|
|Natural systems management||Maybe||Maybe||Maybe|
Bray Lake (C72)
|Energy transmission corridors||Yes||No||No|
|Resource roads (MNR)||Yes||No||No|
Bray Lake (C72)
1 Mitsch, W.J & Gosselink J.G., 2000.
2 Mitsch, W.J & Gosselink J.G., 2000.
3 Mitsch, W.J & Gosselink J.G., 2000.
4 Mitsch, W.J & Gosselink J.G., 2000.
5 Mitsch, W.J & Gosselink J.G., 2000.
6 Mitsch, W.J & Gosselink J.G., 2000.
7 New uses will be considered on a case by case basis provided they do not impact the natural heritage values for which the area was established, and must pass a test of compatibility to be acceptable.
8 For retrieval game only.
9 Transfer requests will be considered in the context of a Statement of Conservation Interest (SCI) or Resource Management Plan (RMP) for each conservation reserve.
10 Existing authorizations are permitted to continue, however, as opportunities arise the Ministry will acquire and/or remove them outside of the conservation reserve.
11 Transfer requests will be considered in the context of a Statement of Conservation Interest (SCI) or Resource Management Plan (RMP) for each conservation reserve.