Fish Bay Conservation Reserve Management Statement
This document provides policy direction for the protection, development and management of the Fish Bay 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 Fish Bay Conservation Reserve (C152).
The Fish Bay Conservation Reserve has been selected as a site representing provincially significant wetland and aquatic communities. Furthermore, it contributes a richness of cultural and social values, and fulfills many social requirements both locally and provincially. Further studies are required to identify other possible ecological associations and their significance. This conservation reserve is 411 hectares in size and falls within the geographic township of Nipissing. Fish Bay is a smaller bay located at the southern end of Lake Nipissing’s South Bay. South Bay Provincial Park is located adjacent to the western border of this conservation reserve.
The Fish Bay 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. This site was regulated under the Public Lands Act on December 07, 2002 by O. Reg 313/02.
Once a conservation reserve is regulated, the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) is to complete one of two approved planning documents, either a Statement of Conservation Interest (SCI) or a Resource Management Plan (RMP). Either document addresses the administration of land uses and activities that occur within the regulated boundaries of the conservation reserve. The Fish Bay 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.
Proposed uses or developments must be consistent with the SCI. When considering permitted uses 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 all current Environmental Assessment (EA) requirements. Other protocols may be developed that address site specific sensitivities to identified features.
The goal of the Fish Bay Conservation Reserve is to protect natural heritage features while permitting compatible land use activities.
The purposes of this SCI are to:
- Provide background information and identify and describe the values of the Fish Bay Conservation Reserve
- Provide guidelines for the management of activities while protecting natural, social, and cultural heritage values
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 (1999). 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 Statement of Conservation Interest 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 the 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 for this SCI.
The management and administration of the Fish Bay Conservation Reserve will be guided by the SCI and administered by the North Bay District MNR, Wasi Area Supervisor. The SCI governs the lands within the regulated boundary of the Fish Bay 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 Fish Bay Conservation Reserve (C152).
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 (1999). 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.
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 Fish Bay Conservation Reserve offers a landscape with representative life and earth science features, of which the most notable feature is the provincially significant wetland that provides important waterfowl staging areas as well as excellent nursery habitat for northern pike.
The management and administration of the Fish Bay 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 Fish Bay Conservation Reserve will be managed under the direction of the Wasi Area Supervisor, North Bay District, Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR).
District Manager Recommendation
Date: March 12, 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 (1999) 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 Fish Bay Conservation Reserve was selected as part of this strategy. The preparation of a Statement of Conservation Interest (SCI) is a means by which to identify the values of this conservation reserve and to set out guidelines for the management of 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, set out in the MNR policy.
This SCI governs all lands within the regulated boundary of the Fish Bay 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 Goals and objectives
2.1 Goals of the Statement of Conservation Interest
The goals of the Fish Bay 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 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 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)
- MNR to work with the municipality and private landowners to protect private land portions of the wetland
- To explore opportunities for acquisition of adjacent properties that would contribute to the natural heritage values of the conservation reserve.
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. 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 such as creating working relationships with the municipality and encouraging stewardships with adjacent land owners.
3.1.2 Management planning context
Ontario’s Living Legacy Land Use Strategy (1999) 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).
The Fish Bay Conservation Reserve was on December 07, 2002, by Ontario Regulation 313/02.
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 all current 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 pertaining to cultural heritage resources may be screened 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 amendments.
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||Fish Bay Conservation Reserve|
|Total Area Hectares (ha)||411|
|Site Region- Site District (Hills, 1959)||5E (Georgian) 5E-5 (North Bay)|
|Land Ownership||100% Crown Land|
|Topographic Maps||31 L/4 Nipissing|
|Ontario Base Maps||2017 6100 51000|
|Latitude||46° 07' N|
|Longitude||79° 31' E|
|UTM Coordinates||5108200 N 6125000 E|
|First Nations||Robinson-Huron Treaty,|
Nipissing Traditional Area
|Regulation Date and O. Reg.||December 07, 2002 O. Reg 313/02|
|General||Located at the south end of South Bay on Lake Nipissing|
4.1.2 Site description
184.108.40.206 Physical description
The Fish Bay Conservation Reserve is located south of Lake Nipissing’s South Bay within the township of Nipissing. This 411 hectare conservation reserve consists mainly of open water including Fish Bay and a portion of the South River. It also includes all parts of Crown shoreline, Crown land islands and abuts the South Bay Provincial Park on the site’s northwest boundary. This area holds one of Lake Nipissing’s largest wetlands. With its wide range of fish and waterfowl habitats, this provincially significant wetland is important to the health of Lake Nipissing.
This conservation reserve is comprised of a large and extensive network of provincially significant wetland habitats, including marshes, swamps, bogs and fens. Stands of red oak, white pine and patches of interspersed red pine, dominate the upland areas, while trembling aspen and small amount of tolerant and intolerant hardwoods dominate the lower slopes. The wetland complex consists mostly of a mixture of shallow and deep marshes, including vegetation types such as; robust emergent, narrow-leafed emergent, free floating and submerged plants as well as areas of naturally occurring wild rice.
Access into this conservation reserve can be gain by Wade’s and Chapman’s landings. There are existing trails that pass through the west side of the conservation reserve, suitable for ATV travel which becomes an established Ontario Federation Snowmobile Club trail in the winter months.
4.2 Administrative description
The Fish Bay Conservation Reserve was passed into regulation on December 07, 2002 by O. Reg 313/02.
The following table indicates what survey work has been done within the conservation reserve and what is required:
|Survey Level||Reconnaissance||Detailed||Future Requirements|
|Life Science||Merchant, B., Natural Heritage Area – Life Science Checksheet, October 9, 2002.|
Noble, T.W. Assessment of Natural Areas and Features for the Northern Portion of the Southern Boreal Forest Site Region 5E-5, March 1991.
OMNR, Fish Bay Wetland Evaluation, 1993
|Earth Science||Kristjansson, F.J., Interim Earth Science Checklist, October 8, 2002.||N/A||N/A|
|Recreational||Roberts S. & Sheppard C. Recreational Inventory Checksheet, September 9, 2002.||N/A||N/A|
|Map Resources||MNR Map Series: Location Map, Recreational Values Map, Tenure Map, Forest Values Map, Fish & Wildlife Values Map, Commercial Activities Map, Cultural Heritage Values Map, January 2002|
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
Life science features
Merchant (2002) describes the Fish Bay conservation reserve as complex upland and lowland environments with extensive areas of open water. These environments typically exhibit habitats formed by the wetland vegetation and the effluence of the South River into Lake Nipissing’s South Bay. The wetlands that have been created provide an important filtering function, protecting the health of Lake Nipissing. It is also a provincially significant wetland that provides important waterfowl staging, molting and breeding as well as northern pike nursery habitat. The vegetation found in the marsh areas include submerged, robust emergent, narrow-leaved emergent and floating forms, all in distinct areas and forming a mosaic of ecosites. A small area of wild rice is present in Fish Bay. Along both sides of the South River are various sized fens and alder swamps.
On the west side of the river, a line of hills separates the river from another wetland complex composed mostly of fen representations. These hilltops support white pine and red oak stands, with small patches of red pine interspersed. Trembling aspens dominates the lower slopes while small amounts of mixed tolerant and intolerant hardwoods are also present.
Earth science features
Kristjansson (2002) describes the Fish Bay Conservation Reserve as an area of underlying bedrock-drift complex. Glaciolacustrine deposits, alluvial deposits, organic deposits and extensive areas of open water are also present.
The Fish Bay Conservation Reserve consists of several areas of bedrock- controlled uplands, with both bedrock ridge and bedrock knob (or knoll) forms. Bedrock-drift complex dominates the surficial geology of these uplands. Moderate bedrock exposures associated with a discontinuous to thin discontinuous cover of drift are anticipated within these areas, likely predominantly glaciolacustrine sediment. The conservation reserve also contains several areas of lowlands. Although minor areas immediately underlain by glaciolacustrine deposits and alluvial deposits appear to be present, the surficial geology of these lowlands is dominated by relatively extensive areas of organic deposits.
These geological features are commonly encountered in the general area of Lake Nipissing, and are considered to be of local significance.
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.
The Fish Bay Conservation Reserve contains a mosaic of wetland types including marsh, swamp, fen and bog representations. These wetlands, diverse in both size and type, are well dispersed throughout Fish Bay. The vegetative communities of this conservation reserve consist of a minimum of 50 plant communities. The upland areas show less diversity. Although they include conifer, intolerant and tolerant hardwood types, white pine, red oak and poplar dominate these areas.
The number of aquatic birds, mammals and fish species supported by the existing habitats reflects the conservation reserve’s level of diversity. Northern pike and muskellunge spawning and nursery sites can be found as well as a number of Osprey nesting sites. In 2002, six species of ducks were observed within the wetland; hooded merganser, mallard, black duck, ring-necked duck, wood duck and green winged teal. (Duck Banding 2002)
The wetland communities within the Fish Bay Conservation Reserve are in excellent condition. The upland forests found on the shores of the South River on the west side of the conservation reserve also show little sign of disturbance. This conservation reserve is fully developed as a recreational area for activities such as hunting and fishing. A number of buildings occur along the shorelines on privately owned land and are excluded from the protected area. Access to the site is obtained easily by these local cottages, lodges and area marinas. Boats are common and use the area for fishing purposes. However the vegetation appears to be otherwise undisturbed. Despite containing some disturbances within and adjacent, the conservation reserve and its core values remain relatively undisturbed.
(c) Ecological factors
The Fish Bay Conservation Reserve may be vulnerable to potential overuse. Access to the site is easily obtained, and it is known as an area of high recreational use. The wetlands within this conservation reserve represent sensitive core values and are important as they provide a filtering function for the waters of Lake Nipissing. This extensive system also represents important breeding areas for a variety of fish and waterfowl species. Signs may be needed to reduce the stress in these areas during the breeding seasons. The use of canoes and electric motors may also be encouraged to reduce noise pollution and the damage to vegetation in the wetland areas. Consideration in the surrounding landscape planning will have to occur to ensure that values are protected along the conservation reserves sensitive boundaries.
(d) Special features
The Fish Bay Conservation Reserve contains a number of special features. These features include: a provincially significant wetland consisting of large diverse marsh, swamp and fen habitats, areas of naturally occurring wild rice, osprey nesting sites, waterfowl staging areas as well as excellent nursery habitat for a number of warm water fish species. The upland areas of the conservation reserve include stands of red oak, white and red pine stands on shallow sandy lacustrine drifts over outwashed bedrock.
(e) Current land use activities
The location of this conservation reserve, in relation to Lake Nipissing and to surrounding roads, allows for easy access. Activities include hunting, trapping, fishing, boating and snowmobiling. The conservation reserve is included within a bear management area (NB-47-22), and is accessible to this species as well as to other hunted species (waterfowl, moose etc). A registered trapline (NB-63) also encompasses the conservation reserve while the township of Nipissing is currently assigned as a baitfish harvest area.
There are no mining, timber harvesting or aggregate extraction activities within the conservation reserve.
The Fish Bay Conservation Reserve contains a good diversity of vegetative communities formed by the effluence of the South River into Lake Nipissing’s South Bay. Immediately underlain by areas of bedrock-drift complex, glaciolacustrine deposits, alluvial deposits as well as organic deposits, the provincially significant wetland habitats that have been created represent the majority of these vegetative communities. The wetlands play an important filtering function, protect the health of Lake Nipissing and provide important waterfowl staging and breeding as well as northern pike and muskellunge nursery habitat. An extensive area of open water is also present. These portions of the conservation reserve consist of shallow open water with a sandy bottom. At the outermost edge of the reserve, close to boating channels, the depth appears to be at the most 3 m. Known as an area of high recreational use, lodges, cottages and marinas are established along Fish Bay’s shoreline. These establishments create easy access to excellent fishing and waterfowl hunting opportunities.
5.2 Social/Economic interest in the area
(a) Linkage to local communities
The Fish Bay Conservation Reserve consists entirely of Crown land. Its location in relation to Lake Nipissing and to surrounding roads provides easy access to users engaging in hunting, trapping, baitfish harvesting, fishing and boating. This access, coupled with the exceptional wetland values within, provides this conservation reserve with a strong potential for educational and nature appreciation pursuits.
(b) Heritage estate contributions
The Fish Bay 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.
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 wetland habitats and surrounding forests contribute significantly to the provincial parks and protected areas system.
Long-term management must consider public access to the conservation reserve and its protection objectives. 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 values and or communities will involve additional consultation with the affected aboriginal groups.
(d) Mining industry
There are no known current mining interests related to the 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).
(e) Forest management
Commercial forest harvesting is not permitted in the conservation reserves nor are personal use permits issued for wood harvesting. Commercial harvesting is permitted in adjacent areas, which form part of the Nipissing Forest Management Plan. Harvesting activities are subject to work plans approved by the Ministry of Natural Resources within prescribed harvesting practices.
Underwater hydro lines pass through the conservation reserve leading to private lands excluded from the protected area. These utility lines are found in the north and northeast sections of the conservation while another is found on the east side leading to Dad’s Rest Island.
5.3 Natural heritage stewardship
A minimum of 50 vegetative communities exist within the conservation reserve, consisting mainly of wetland habitats of marsh, fen swamp and bog representations. These wetland communities attract numerous aquatic birds to the area. A number of osprey nests have been established ant the wetland is one of the site district’s most important waterfowl staging and breeding areas. The deep and shallow marsh shorelines also provide excellent nursery habitat for northern pike and muskellunge.
5.4 Fisheries and wildlife
The diverse habitats created by the different ecosites found in the Fish Bay Conservation Reserve are important to a number of wildlife species. MNR uses Fish Bay on a yearly basis for wildlife studies. Early spring ice out trap netting has been conducted on an experimental basis for the past three years to assess northern pike and muskellunge populations. The site is also used yearly for the provincial airboat duck banding program.
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 site, their exact location normally will remain undisclosed.
5.5 Cultural heritage stewardship
There are no archeological sites identified within the conservation reserve. High potential heritage areas have been identified within the conservation reserve (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
Although there are five private tourism establishments which abut the conservation reserve, no permanent buildings are included in the Fish Bay Conservation Reserve.
5.7 Commercial use
Present non-industrial commercial uses include trapping, baitfish harvesting and a bear management areas.
5.8 Tourism/Recreation use/Opportunities
Access to the conservation reserve can be gained by boat from Wade’s and Chapman’s landing or via the numerous lodges along Fish Bay’s shoreline. Presently, there are five lodges that have been established along Fish Bay’s shoreline that support recreational and commercial activity such as fishing, hunting, hiking, boating and snowmobiling. An existing trail enters the southwest portion of the conservation reserve and leads to a lodge on the shore of South Bay.
5.9 Client services
Presently, client services include district responses to public inquiries. No formal information or interpretive facilities exist within the conservation reserve. There are fact sheets available to the public, which summarize information for the conservation reserve.
6.0 Management guidelines
6.1 Management planning strategies
The land use intent outlined in Ontario’s Living Legacy Land Use Strategy (1999) 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 the Fish Bay Conservation Reserve. Management strategies for these uses must consider 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 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 that the natural values of the conservation reserve are not negatively affected by land use. Therefore, any application for new 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 Fish Bay Conservation Reserve lies with the MNR's North Bay District, Wasi Area Supervisor. 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 awareness of natural systems in the area
Natural heritage stewardship
- Regeneration or naturalization of natural forested ecosystems is an essential part of the overall long-term management prescription applied to this protected area. Renewal of natural forested ecosystems can be prescribed through the application of a range of fire responses and or approved prescribed burning activities
- MNR recognizes the need for forest fire disturbance to maintain certain types of ecosystems. These accepted disturbances are part of the regeneration cycle of natural forested landscape
- The principles of sensitive "Light on Land" fire suppression techniques will be practiced, where possible, in the Fish Bay Wetland 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
- Fire Management Plans, will be developed for specific conservation reserves, where the use of fire is required to ensure the long-term health and viability of the protected area. Detailed conservation reserve "Fire Management Plans" will be considered when the Provincial Forest Fire Management Strategy is approved
- 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.
- With the exceptions of fire suppression and selected forest pest and disease control, the management intent for the Fish Bay 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
- All earth and life science features will be protected by defining compatible uses, enforcing regulations and monitoring and mitigating the impacts of land use activities
- Permits for fuel-wood will not be issued
- Other 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 compromised. 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 degrade sites within the conservation reserve, collecting seeds for maintaining genetic stock and/or research
- 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 Area Biologist. Provincial legislation and policy will dictate management and enforcement objectives for this area. The management direction will endeavor 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
- Although there are no known cultural heritage resources on-site, recognition will be given to the historic value of the South River used as a travelway by aboriginal peoples, fur traders and explorers
- Should cultural heritage values be identified within 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.
- Existing non-industrial commercial uses such as trapping, baitfish harvesting and the operation of bear management areas will be permitted. Such 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
- There are no known current mining interests related to the 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 harvest, mining and hydro development will not be permitted within the conservation reserve
- New trap line cabins will not be permitted
- Commercial enterprises offering ecotourism experiences will be permitted providing these activities are low in intensity and are compatible with other uses
Aboriginal treaty rights will continue to be respected throughout the management of this SCI. Any proposal(s) or decision(s) that have potential impact(s) on individual aboriginal values 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
- Off-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
- Information regarding the Fish Bay Conservation Reserve may be delivered from different sources, however, MNR will be the lead agency for responding to inquiries regarding access, permitted and restricted activities, values and recreation opportunities
- 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
Over the long term, management of the provincially significant wetland habitats may be enhanced through undertaking more specific inventories and developing vegetative management plans.
6.4 Promote inventory, monitoring, assessment and reporting (IMAR)
The easy accessibility and size of this conservation reserve provides a good range of opportunity within. Non-destructive research will 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 of MNR (North Bay). 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 by the District Manager (North Bay) 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.
EMR Canada. 1988. Topographic Map 1:50,000. Nipissing. Sheet 31 L/4. Gosselink, J.G. and W.J. Mitsch. 2000. Wetlands, Third Edition. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Harris, A.G., S.C. McMurray, P.W.C. Uhlig, J.K. Jeglum, R.F. Foster and G.D. Racey. 1996. Field Guide to the Wetland Ecosystem Classification for Northwestern Ontario. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resrouces, pp 74.
Kristjansson, F.J., October, 2002. Interim Earth Science Checksheet, Fish Bay Conservation Reserve (C152).
Merchant, B., October, 2002. Natural Heritage Area – Life Science Checksheet, Fish Bay Conservation Reserve (C152).
Noble, T.W., March 1991. Assessment of Natural Areas and Features for the Northern Portion of the Southern Boreal Forest Region Site Region 5E. OMNR. 1989, Aerial Photos.
OMNR, December 2001. Bear Management Area Map.
OMNR. 1993 Fish Bay Wetland Evaluation.
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, July 2002. Tomiko/Wasi Area Traplines Map.
OMNR, North Bay District. 2001. Baitfish Townships
OMNR. North Bay District. 2002. C152 Fish Bay Conservation Reserve File.
OMNR, Provincial Series, 1:100 000, North Bay, Sheet 31L/SW
Tremblay, D., September, 2002. Field Reconnaissance Notes.
Sheppard, C., September, 2002. Recreational Inventory Checksheet- Fish Bay Conservation Reserve (C152).
Appendix A - 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?"
Appendix B - Glossary of terms
Alluvial1: The floodplain of a river, where soil deposits were carried in by the overflowing river.
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.
Bog2: A peat accumulating wetland that has no significant inflow or outflows and supports mosses, particularly Sphagnum.
Fen3: Peatland with water table at or above the surface with very slow water movement through communities via seepage that results in a more mineral, nutrient and oxygen-rich environment than bogs. Generally fens contain peat accumulations greater than 40 cm deep. Sometimes floating mat with sedges, mosses, shrubs and sparse tree layers are present. (Harris et al. 1996).
Glaciolacustrine Deposits: Fine sand, silt an clay deposited in beach and near shore environments; glasciolacustrine 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.
Marsh4: A frequently or continually inundated wetland characterised by emergent herbaceous vegetation adapted to saturated soil conditions.
Organic Deposits5: Primarily consists of peat and muck. Peat (fabric organic soil material, with virtually all of the organic matter allowing for the identification of plant forms). Muck (sapric organic soil mater decomposed, not allowing for the identification of plant form); organic sediment which has accumulated in poorly drained areas in terrestrial settings, or has infilled various shallow aquatic environments.
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.
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.
Swamp6: Wetland dominated by trees or shrubs.
Wetland7: 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.
Appendix C - Ontario’s Living Legacy (OLL) Conservation reserve permitted use table
Table 4: Summary of Permitted Uses in Conservation Reserves within the Planning Area
|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
|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|
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 authorized 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 nonmotorized) 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 govern uses and management activities not listed in this permitted use table.
Appendix D - Public Lands Act policy (3.03.05) Conservation reserve permitted use table
|Permitted Activities Fish Bay (C152)||Generic Existing||Generic New||(C152) Specific New Uses|
|Non-trail ATV use||Maybe1||Maybe1||Maybe2|
|Cross country skiing||Yes||Maybe||Maybe1|
Science, education & heritage appreciation
|Permitted Activities Fish Bay (C152)||Generic Existing||Generic New||(C152) Specific New Uses|
|Photography and painting||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Permitted Activities Fish Bay (C152)||Generic Existing||Generic New||(C152) Specific New Uses|
|Wild rice harvesting||Yes||Maybe||Maybe|
|Permitted Activities Fish Bay (C152)||Generic Existing||Generic New||(C152) Specific New Uses|
|Featured species management||Maybe||Maybe||Maybe|
|Natural systems management||Maybe||Maybe||Maybe|
|Permitted Activities Fish Bay (C152)||Generic Existing||Generic New||(C152) Specific New Uses|
|Energy transmission corridors||Yes||No||No|
|Resource roads (MNR)||Yes||No||No|
|Permitted Activities Fish Bay (C152)||Generic Existing||Generic New||(C152) Specific New Uses|
Yes1 Food gathering (i.e. berry picking) is for personal consumption only and shall be conducted in a sustainable manner provided it does not harm the values of the conservation reserve
Yes2 Transfer requests will be considered in the context of a Statement of Conservation Interest (SCI) or Resource Management Plan (RMP) for each conservation reserve.
Maybe1 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.
Maybe2 For retrieval of game only
* Existing dispositions will continue, however, as opportunities arise the Ministry will acquire and/or remove them outside of the conservation reserve.
Appendix E - Work permit application chronology and details
During the Lands for Life and Ontario’s Living Legacy planning processes, Fish Bay Wetland was identified as a proposed conservation reserve. Fish Bay Wetland is provincially significant and is important to the health of Lake Nipissing.
Public consultation regarding boundary fine-tuning for the proposed conservation reserve occurred in June 2001, and the site was regulated under the Public Lands Act on December 7, 2002. The conservation reserve is located in Nipissing Township and is approximately 411 ha in size.
The North Bay District office received a work permit application in August 2001, from a lodge owner who operates a tourism establishment that primarily caters to anglers on Lake Nipissing and which is located adjacent to the conservation reserve.
Access to the lodge by clients has traditionally been by boat. There is an existing road over Crown land and within the boundaries of the conservation reserve that can be used to access the lodge, however, it is very rough and normally would only be used by ATVs and four-wheel drive vehicles. The lodge owner applied to upgrade the approximately 2.5 miles of trail to allow for reconstruction of the main lodge building which had recently burned down as well as to undertake upgrades to the septic system and replacement of docks. He has future plans for further development of the facility and would prefer a permanent and easily traversed access road into the lodge.
North Bay District MNR staff have inspected the site and have engaged in continued discussion with the property owner. In December 2001, MNR refused the work permit application based on policy direction from Ontario’s Living Legacy. However, in support of this tourist operator’s hardship and desire to reconstruct, and in recognition of the value of the tourist industry to Ontario’s economy, MNR worked with the lodge owner to permit temporary access improvements to allow for the immediate reconstruction work to be undertaken. MNR also agreed to give the application further consideration during the planning process for the conservation reserve.
North Bay District entered a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the lodge owner to allow a temporary upgrade of the existing road to complete septic work and repairs to the lodge. The MOU has now terminated and the road will be naturally abandoned through cessation of maintenance, upgrade and use. If the road does not naturally deteriorate, necessary action will be taken to ensure that the road is physically disabled and returned to its original condition.
In August 2002, MNR notified adjacent landowners and stakeholders with an interest in Fish Bay that MNR would be preparing the draft Statement of Conservation Interest (SCI) for the conservation reserve. A SCI is a directional document that describes the values of the site. It also provides guidelines for the management of current and future activities, while protecting the identified natural heritage, social and economic values. The notification also indicated that MNR would be assessing a proposal to allow upgrading of a private access road, and that the draft SCI would be available for a one-month review period. Comments received in response to the August 2002 notification were given consideration during the decision making process.
Following the refusal of the work permit, MNR agreed to give the application further consideration during SCI planning. MNR has carefully reviewed the application and our review concludes with the decision to refuse the work permit application for road upgrading.
Rationale for refusal to issue the requested work permit includes the following:
1) Conservation Reserve Policy
While new uses may be considered during planning, such uses must be recognized in the policy for conservation reserves. New private access roads and the upgrading of existing access roads are not permitted in conservation reserves. The intent of this policy is to protect these sites from increased accessibility. Allowing the temporary upgrade of the road was a broad interpretation of the policy to allow for the completion of septic work and repairs to the lodge, and it was clear that it was a temporary measure.
Separate work permit applications have now been submitted to MNR for maintenance and for upgrading the road. Based on our understanding of the condition and use of the road, the application is for upgrades.
2) Protection of Natural Heritage Features
The conservation reserve was created to protect the provincially significant wetland and associated habitat. Road access to the lodge is located west of the South River. West of the South River there is a wetland complex composed mostly of fen that drains into the river. The upland areas support pine-oak ecosystems on shallow drift. (See Appendix B- Glossary) This area acts as a transition zone between the wetland and the upland area. The western boundary of the conservation reserve was delineated to include water bodies and creeks in the site. Although the evaluated portion of the wetland is particularly sensitive to development, protecting the area west of the river contributes the overall protection objective of the conservation reserve.
3) Guarding Against New/Increased Access
Permitting the upgrading would allow for road use to a capacity greater than the historic or existing use. The municipality has indicated that the road has no official status and is considered to be a snowmobile trail. It is MNR's opinion that this road was historically used for local access or for resource extraction and that by today’s measures it normally would only be accessible by four-wheel drive or all terrain vehicles.
Refusing the work permit means that access to the lodge has not changed and will continue via historic means. The operator was given temporary permission to be able to use the road to transport materials to rebuild his facility. Permission for this was temporary, and was granted in consideration of hardship circumstances. In the long term the conservation reserve is protected from a level of access that had not previously occurred. It would be contrary to policy and Ontario’s Living Legacy Land Use Strategy to provide new access to this location.
1 Mitsch, W.J & Gosselink J.G., 2000.
2 Mitsch, W.J & Gosselink J.G., 2000.
3 Harris, A.G., McMurray, S.C., Uhlig, J.K., Jeglum, R.F., Foster & Racey, G.D., 1996.
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 Mitsch, W.J & Gosselink J.G., 2000.