South River Forest Conservation Reserve Management Statement
This document provides policy direction for the protection, development and management of the South River Forest Conservation Reserve and its resources.
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Statement of Conversation Interest (C71)
Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources
North Bay District
We are pleased to approve this Statement of Conservation Interest (SCI) for the South River Forest Conservation Reserve (C71).
South River Forest Conservation Reserve is a 180 hectare site located in the geographic townships of Gurd and Himsworth, within the Township of Nipissing and Municipality of Powassan respectively. The conservation reserve is situated in Ecodistrict 5E-5 approximately 10 km west of the Town of Trout Creek south of Highway 522 (figure 1). The site borders the South River and contains significant life science values including mixed deciduous forest, highly diverse wetlands, a deer yard and important coldwater seeps and springs.
During the Lands for Life planning process the public was widely consulted and provided valuable input into what became Ontario’s Living Legacy. South River Forest Conservation Reserve was recognized for protection in Ontario’s Living Legacy Land Use Strategy which is now part of the Crown Land Use Policy Atlas. Comments received during that time, and during 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 expressed an interest in the planning of this site were also notified regarding the draft SCI and given a two week review period. Any comments, including input from previous consultation, were considered in the finalization of this document. Little interest and no new issues or concerns were expressed by the public during the review of this draft SCI. The draft was reviewed by MNR district specialists located on area teams who are responsible for the management of particular areas within the district, which include this conservation reserve.
This basic SCI provides guidance for the management of the conservation reserve and the basis of the ongoing monitoring of activities. More detailed direction is not anticipated at this time. Should significant facility development be considered or complex issues arise requiring additional studies, more defined management direction or special protection measures, a more detailed Resource Management Plan will be prepared with full public consultation.
South River Forest Conservation Reserve is managed under the direction of the District Manager and the Wasi Area Supervisor, North Bay District, Ministry of Natural Resources.
District Planning Intern
Date: March 2005
Acting District Manager
North Bay District
Date: March 29, 2005
Date: April 5, 2005
The purpose of this Statement of Conservation Interest (SCI) is to identify and describe the values of South River Forest Conservation Reserve. This SCI outlines the activities that occur within the conservation reserve and provides guidelines for the management of current and future activities in the context of protecting the natural, social and cultural values of the conservation reserve. An SCI is prepared under the authority of Procedural Guideline A - Resource Management Planning (PL. Procedure 3.03.05).
South River Forest Conservation Reserve is a 180 hectare parcel of Crown land located approximately 35 km south of North Bay and 10 km west of the Town of Trout Creek. The boundary of the conservation reserve follows the South River and Highway 522 (figure 1). The mixed deciduous and coniferous forests provide optimal habitat for a variety of wildlife and thus recreational hunting opportunities within the conservation reserve.
Conservation reserves are established by regulation under the Public Lands Act. South River Forest Conservation Reserve will be established under the authority of the Public Lands Act (O. Reg. 804/94) in 2005. The planning area for this SCI is the final boundary established through internal and public review and consultation. This site is currently in the process of being regulated.
1.1 Planning context
Ontario’s Living Legacy Land Use Strategy was approved in 1999. The objectives of the Land Use Strategy are to complete Ontario’s system of protected areas; recognize the land use needs of resource-based tourism industry; provide forestry, mining and resource industries with greater certainty around land and resource use; and enhance hunting, angling and other Crown land recreational opportunities. South River Forest Conservation Reserve was created as part of the expansion of protected areas.
Conservation reserves protect natural heritage values on public lands, while permitting compatible land use activities. By allocating these lands to the parks and protected areas system through regulation (in progress), 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.
The Land Use Strategy (1999) and the Crown Land Use Policy Atlas outlines the general land use policy and management direction for new conservation reserves. Each new conservation reserve will have a planning document, either a SCI or, in more complex situations, a Resource Management Plan, that details site-specific management direction.
Comments received during the Lands for Life process, and during consultation related to boundary regulation of the site were generally supportive of the establishment of this area as a conservation reserve. Any comments, including input from previous consultations, were considered in this SCI planning document.
Although more detailed direction is not anticipated at this time, should significant facility development be considered or complex issues arise requiring additional studies, more defined management direction or special protection measures, a more detailed Resource Management Plan will be prepared with full public consultation.
1.2 Background information
South River Forest Conservation Reserve is a mixed deciduous forest with patches of conifer cover located west of Highway 11 and south of Highway 522 along the southern edge of MNR's North Bay District boundary. The site is located in the geographic townships of Gurd and Himsworth in the Municipal Township of Nipissing and Municipality of Powassan, respectively District of Parry Sound. The site formerly in Site District 5E-8 (Hills, 1959) now falls within Ecodistrict 5E-5 (Crins and Uhlig, 2000) in the revised version of Hills original Site Regions and Districts. The conservation reserve is surrounded by both patent and Crown land. Some of the patents are Crown owned. A trail defines the western boundary while portions of the eastern boundary follow the South River (figure 3). This 180 hectare area was protected in order to preserve valuable life science features. These features include stands of poplar and poplar mixedwoods, wildlife habitat including wetland and riparian habitat as well as numerous springs and seeps that form the headwaters for several coldwater streams. The area can be accessed via Highway 522 and by the western most trail that forms the boundary of the conservation reserve.
The following chart summarizes administrative information for South River Forest Conservation Reserve:
|Name and OLL ID Number||South River Forest Conservation Reserve (C71)|
|Ecoregion/Ecodistrict (Hills, 1959; Crins, 2000)||5E (Georgian Bay), 5E-5 (North Bay)|
|OMNR Administrative Region/District/Area||Northeast Region/North Bay District/North Bay|
|Total Area (ha.)||180|
|Regulation Date||Anticipated Regulation in 2005|
|Township(s)||Geographic Township of Gurd, Township of Nipissing and Geographic Township of Himsworth, Municipality of Powassan, District of Parry Sound|
|First Nations||Nipissing First Nation- area of interest- through the Robinson Huron Treaty|
|OBM map sheets||1017 6200 50850-1017 6200 50900|
|Topographic Map Name/Number||South River 31 E/14|
|UTM coordinates||522,500 m E 5,090,700 m N|
|General Location, Description, Access||Approximately 10 km west of Trout Creek. Site contains mixed deciduous forest. Access to the site can be achieved by a trail located west of the site and from Highway 522.|
The goals of this SCI are:
- To provide background
- To identify and describe the values of the conservation
- To provide guidelines for the management of current and future activities while protecting natural, social and cultural heritage
The following objectives are identified as a means to achieve the above-stated goals.
- To describe the state of the resource with respect to natural heritage values and current land use
- To manage the conservation reserve to protect the integrity of its natural values via specific guidelines, strategies and
- To meet planning requirements by addressing the management intent of the conservation reserve and addressing planning and management
- To create a public awareness of the values within the conservation reserve and promote responsible stewardship of the protected area through partnerships with local
- To determine long-term management goals of the conservation reserve by identifying research, client services and marketing
- To identify scientific values on the site in relation to provincial benchmarks and identify the necessary monitoring and/or research to maintain the integrity of those
- To provide direction to evaluate new uses or economic ventures through the application of a Test of Compatibility (Procedural Guideline B) - Land Uses - 3.03.05) (Appendix 1). MNR's Class Environmental Assessment for Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves.
The following table provides a summary of the life science, earth science and cultural heritage values, as well as recreational opportunities.
Life science representation:
Eight forest communities and two wetland types lie on glaciolacustrine and till deposits on rolling water-laid lowlands broken by bedrock outcrops. The following landform types and vegetation associations are found (Merchant et al., 2003):
- Mixed deciduous forest with stands of coniferous forest on glacial moraine deposits and outwash
- Poplar stands make up over 50% of the site
- Pure poplar stands found on till
- Mixed poplar, yellow birch, cedar and balsam fir are on glaciolacustrine deposits
- Stands of predominately balsam fir contain some old growth
- Open muskeg and brush/alder swamps present
- High wetland diversity along South River and interior creeks
- Wetlands are thought to be extremely sensitive to rutting and compaction
- Numerous springs and seeps form the headwaters of several coldwater streams that provide critical brook trout habitat
- Deer wintering area in southern cedar stand
- Wildlife is abundant including moose, bear, beaver and ruffed grouse
- Yellow birch located on southern outwash plain may be of regional significance
Earth science representation:
South River Forest Conservation Reserve lies on the Tilden Lake and Nepewassi domains of the Central Gneiss Belt of the Grenville Structural Province. The area is characterized by glacial moraine with varying sized boulders, rocks, sand, silt and clay deposited by glacial ice and glacial outwash. The lowlands consist of water-laid lacustrine soils interspersed with glacial moraine found in the upland. The quaternary geology coverage of Ontario shows glaciolacustrine deposits as the dominant landform with an area of till located along the midwestern and central interior portion of the site. A very small area of bedrock is located in the southwestern most tip of the site.
Cultural heritage values:
South River Forest Conservation Reserve was identified as having high potential heritage areas within the site (see section 2.3). A portion of the site is located along the South River, a historic trade route. The conservation reserve is in the area of interest for the Nipissing First Nation. More in-depth research concerning cultural heritage values has not been completed to date.
South River Forest Conservation Reserve offers a narrow range of recreational opportunities due to the limited access to and small size of the site. Hunting as well as potentially cross-country skiing, berry picking, camping activities and exploration can be carried out within the conservation reserve (Tremblay, 2003).
1.6 Survey work
The following table provides an overview of inventories completed, their level of detail, and any further inventories that are required.
|Survey Level||Life Science||Earth Science||Cultural||Recreational|
|Reconnaissance||Henderson, A.D., 1971, A Plan for the Trout Creek Resource Management Area|
Merchant, B. et al. 2003, Life Science Checksheet Aerial and Ground Survey
|Kristjansson, F.J.,2003, Earth Science Checksheet, Aerial Survey (in progress)||First Nations Interviews, 1998 & 2003, Native Background Information Report and Values Maps, related to Forest Management Planning||Tremblay, D., 2003, Recreational Inventory Checklist, Aerial and Ground Survey|
|Requirement||None||None||None||Monitor on on-going basis|
2.0 State of the resource
The conservation reserve is located entirely within Ecodistrict 5E-5 (Crins, 2000). Values include life science, earth science, cultural and recreational/aesthetic with an emphasis on the life sciences.
Significance is determined on the basis of the following criteria: representation, diversity, condition, ecological considerations and special features (Crins and Kor, 1998).
Representation: South River Forest Conservation Reserve is comprised of mostly mixed deciduous forest with some coniferous forest and small sections of wetland vegetation surrounding interior lakes and streams (figure 2).
There are eight forest communities and two wetland types found within South River Forest Conservation Reserve. About half of the forest communities within the conservation reserve contain pure or mixed poplar stands which grow on the upland hills moraine deposits (Merchant et al., 2004). Pure poplar stands cover the middle and eastern most section of the conservation reserve and account for approximately 30% of the site. Mixed poplar stands dominate the northern portion of the site and cover approximately 25% of the land base while yellow birch mixedwoods and stands of predominantly cedar cover the southern portion the site in 8% and 11% of the site respectively. Other forest communities include stands of pure, predominant and mixedwood balsam fir as well as scattered remnant red pine, white pine, white spruce and red maple. The stands of predominant balsam fir are defined as old growth. All of these different communities may also be defined by ecological habitat units which consist of poplar and rich upland mix understory making up more that half of the site along with lowland understory cedar, spruce-fir closed canopy and spruce-fir understory. Understory vegetation includes species such as bracken fern, bush honeysuckle, starflower, bunchberry and wild raisin (Merchant et al., 2004).
Wetlands made of brush/alder swamp and open muskeg account for 15.5% of the area of the conservation reserve. A diversity of species can be found within and surrounding these wetlands including alder thickets, willow thickets, black ash clumps in slightly elevated wetland areas as well as extensive cattail marshes, elderberry, meadow-sweet, raspberries, joe pyeweed, winterberry holly, wild raisin, spagnhum, woodland horsetail and various grasses and sedges. Black spruce, balsam fir and tamarack separate the low lying wetlands from more upland areas. Most of these wetlands surround the intermittent creeks in middle and northwestern portion of the site, which drain into the South River. A few scattered wetlands are also present along the northern, northeastern and southwestern boundary of the site. A section of wetland is also located in the eastern most portion of the site.
The conservation reserve is known to encompass numerous springs and seeps that form the headwaters for several cold-water streams, which provide brook trout habitat. A large deer yard is present in the southern portion of the conservation reserve that helps provide protection and sustenance during the winter months. The division of upland and lowland areas create excellent habitat opportunities for a variety of wildlife including species such as white tailed deer, bear, moose, rabbit, ruffed grouse and beaver (Merchant et al., 2004; Tremblay, 2003).
Diversity: 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.
Preliminary analysis shows South River Forest Conservation Reserve would likely have an overall moderate diversity rating. The site has distinct upland and lowland areas, which, add to the diversity of the site (Tremblay, 2003). Merchant (2004) believes that the diversity and dispersion of upland sites within the conservation reserve is low because few cover types are represented. However, the diversity of ages is well represented, as is the diversity in wetlands. The diversity found in the wetland complex within the site is of local significance. Wetlands of variable size and composition as well as the association between yellow birch and cedar with understory species and riparian ecosystems creates an even wider range of diversity within the conservation reserve. The yellow birch found in the southern portion of the conservation reserve on outwash plains may be of regional significance (Merchant et al., 2004)
Condition: Condition refers to the amount of disturbance a site has experienced to date, and includes both human and nonhuman activities, as well as natural disturbance.
South River Forest Conservation Reserve has a high disturbance rating. An overgrown logging road that forms the western boundary of the site serves as evidence of a past harvests. Harvesting has occurred within and around the conservation reserve prior to 1950 with most stands having been logged at least once. Numerous small sawmills were located in the area and logging operators are known to have carried out logging activities under contract with the Hydro Electric Power Commission of Ontario. An extensive pine-planting program was carried out over the next 20 years that followed cutover and other open areas (Henderson, 1971). Scots Pine, a non-native species, was noted near the northwestern boundary of the site (Merchant et al., 2004) and may have been planted along with red and white pine. A blow down in 1991 caused logging activities to take place between 1991 and 1995. This salvage operation took place through the middle section of what is now conservation reserve (Verwey, 2004). The site was allocated for harvest in the 1994-1999 Forest Management Plan, but this harvest did not take place due to OLL interim protection.
Tractor ruts were noted during a 2003 ground survey running through the marsh on the west side of the creek. These ruts were full of water while the rest of the wetland had already dried up, indicating, that the organic layer and lacustrine deposits below may be susceptible to soil compaction (Merchant et al., 2003).
Other human-induced disturbances may include recreational activities such as hunting, potentially berry picking, camping, cross country skiing, exploration and nature activities. These activities generally have a low impact on the site, especially since access within the site is somewhat limited. However, hunting may have a more moderate impact if carried out in conjunction with ATV use, which may cause soil compaction in wetland areas. A variety of authorized commercial activities such as baitfishing and bear management also occur in and around the area. However, these activities are believed to have little impact on the core ecological values of the site.
There is no known recent fire disturbance however several small fires have occurred in the area during the 1930's and 1960's. Other natural disturbances, such as beaver activity have been observed within associated stream tributaries.
Ecological considerations: South River Forest Conservation Reserve is a small 180 hectare area comprised of Crown land that forms part of the South River The conservation reserve is bordered by both patent and Crown land. The South River forms the southeastern boundary of the site while a former logging road/trail forms the western boundary of the site (Photo 1). The remaining boundaries of the conservation reserve are vectored, with the southern margin following the North Bay District MNR line. Thus, the conservation reserve is bounded by biological, cultural and vectored boundaries (Merchant et al., 2004). Trails, often used for hunting, surround the site. A secondary road and snowmobile route are also present southeast of the site. This same snowmobile trail also runs south and west of the conservation reserve. Recreational activities such as hunting occur within and in the general area of the site. ATV and snowmobile use occur outside the site, along existing trails and secondary roads in proximity to the site. Thus, there is potential for these activities to occur within the site, though no evidence was found during the 2003 Recreational Inventory. In addition, due to the poorly marked boundaries of the site, accidental trespass for forest harvesting or farming activities, which are known to occur in the area, have the potential to occur within the site and thus have ecological impacts (Merchant et al., 2004). There is a large parcel of patent land surrounding the conservation reserve. There is limited use of the area and access directly into the conservation reserve is difficult, thus the site is somewhat protected. The trail along the western boundary is overgrown and the South River offers limited canoe access because of the short steep drops, narrow openings and rocky rapids that are present. Thus, most of the current recreational activities are limited to low impact hunting.
The core life science values within the site have been adequately protected when using the 200 meter forest edge buffer as a guideline toward the western portion of the site (Merchant et al., 2004). However, the eastern section of the site requires more protection thus, consideration could be given to including an addition which is located east of the conservation reserve in Himsworth Township. The addition will increase the buffer area surrounding the eastern section of the site and encompass old growth spruce fir forest as well as Freeman Chutes.
- Special Features: The most unique feature of the conservation reserve is that it contains an abundance of mixed deciduous and coniferous forest including poplar and yellow birch as well as stands of cedar and balsam fir growing over glacial moraine deposits and outwash The yellow birch located on southern outwash plain may be of regional significance (Merchant et al., 2004). The southern cedar stand provides a wintering area for deer. The site is located in the area of the Loring Deer Yard. Several stands of predominantly balsam fir have been classified as old growth forest. Wetlands within the interior of the site, as well as along interior creeks and adjacent to the South River are believed to contain a high level of diversity and are of local significance. These wetlands are thought to be extremely sensitive to rutting and compaction (Merchant et al., 2004). There are also numerous springs and seeps that form the headwaters for several coldwater streams providing critical brook trout habitat.
2.1 Life science
Gap analysis is a method of identifying gaps in representation of all landform/vegetation features within the Ecodistrict, and to identify potential sites that best fill those gaps. The objective of gap analysis is to complete representation of all vegetation community and landform types within protected areas (Bergsma, 1995). This conservation reserve was identified through gap analysis and contains eight different forest communities as well as two different wetlands communities.
The conservation reserve consists of mostly mixed deciduous forest with a few stands of coniferous forest. Poplar, mixed poplar, yellow birch, white cedar and balsam firm make up the majority of the forest cover. Wetlands of open muskeg and brush/alder swamp are also present along the South River and interior creeks. The mixed presence of upland and lowland areas provide a wide range of habitat types and thus greater diversity. The site contains a winter deer yard, a number of seeps and springs that provide brook trout habitat and generally valuable habitat for a wide range of wildlife including moose, bear, ruffed grouse and various others.
2.2 Earth science
South River Forest Conservation Reserve is located within Georgian Bay Ecoregion 5E and North Bay Ecodistrict 5E-5 (Crins and Uhlig, 2000). The Ecodistrict is characterized by weakly broken basinal plain consisting of extensive areas of wave-washed bedrock and lacustrine sand, silt and clay flats occupying shallow basins. Bedrock is the dominant landform type. The Ecoregion is dominated by moderately rolling bedrock-controlled Precambrian uplands covered by a thin mantel of stony sandy till with localized pockets of glaciofluvial sand and gravel deposits. Regional vegetation consists of hard maple, yellow birch, hemlock and white pine. White spruce and balsam fir can be found on fresh clays and in cooler valleys mixed with hardwoods in higher altitude areas. Black spruce and tamarack can be found in cold, wet areas. The climate type is mid-humid, warm boreal (Hills 1959; Noble 1991).
The conservation reserve contains poplar, yellow birch, cedar and balsam fir growing over glacial moraine deposits and outwash area. Seasonally flooded lowlands and glacially formed uplands characterize the area. The lowlands consist of very moist lacustrine silt loam and organic soils that were washed out by flowing water beyond the glacier while the upland areas consist glacial moraine deposits made up of a variety of sized boulders (Photo 2), rocks, sand, silt and clay deposited by glacial ice (Merchant et al., 2004). The quaternary geology of Ontario coverage shows glaciolacustrine deposits as the dominant landform with an area of till located along the western and central portion of the site. Bedrock outcrops can be found at the southwestern most tip of the site.
2.3 Cultural values
There are no archeological sites identified within the conservation reserve. There are some identified high potential heritage areas. 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. The conservation reserve is located along the South River, which has a rich history and has been traveled by many aboriginal peoples, fur traders and explorers. The conservation reserve is within the area of interest of the Nipissing First Nation.
2.4 Recreational/aesthetic values
Recreational activities such as large mammal and upland bird hunting are popular activities within the conservation reserve. The area is known for its hunting appeal due to the many white tailed deer, moose, bear, rabbit and ruffed grouse that are present in the area. Local residents are known the frequent the site. The upland pine stands provide a suitable area for camping activities (Photo 3) and the plentiful wild raspberries and strawberries provide opportunities for berry picking. Other activities that may be carried within conservation include exploration, identification of the abundant wildlife, cross-country skiing in the winter and general nature activities. Canoeing and kayaking may also take place along the South River however this section of river is known to have short steep drops, narrow openings and rocky rapids and is found outside the bounds of the conservation reserve. The location of the conservation reserve may be appealing to many local individuals due its proximity to the City of North Bay but may also be unappealing because of its small size and limited access. The site can be accessed by land via Highway 522 and an old logging road that serves as the western boundary of the site.
2.5 Heritage estate contributions
The conservation reserve has been set aside in order to protect the representative life science features associated with the site. The site was identified as possessing significant life science values through gap analysis during the Lands for Life planning process. Key features include:
- High wetland diversity and riparian ecosystem along the South River
- Important deer wintering area in the southern portion of the site
- Numerous springs and seeps that provide headwaters for brook trout habitat
- Yellow birch on outwash sands that may be of regional significance
Additional values and features not described here can be found in sections 2.0 and 2.1. Should a new, significant key value be identified, current management guidelines may be modified to ensure its protection.
3.0 Management guidelines
3.1 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 (PL Procedure 3.03.05) will form the basis for land use within South River Forest Conservation Reserve. For up-to-date information on permitted uses refer to the Crown Land Use Policy Atlas at /page/crown-land-use-policy-atlas/.
Existing permitted uses within the conservation reserve may continue, unless they are shown to have a significant negative impact on the values within the site.
Proposed uses and development within the conservation reserve will be reviewed on a case-by case basis. A Test of Compatibility (Appendix I) 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 current or future land use activities. Therefore, any application for new specific uses will be carefully reviewed. The Ministry, partner organizations and/or proponents may undertake such studies. Requirements under MNR Class Environmental Assessment for Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves will also be met.
3.2 Land tenure
South River Forest Conservation Reserve and the surrounding area was previously part of the Trout Creek Resource Management Area. This 1,327 hectare area was first purchased by the Hydro Electric Power Commission of Ontario in 1918 for future hydro power development and flooding. In 1969, Ontario Hydro decided that this property was in excess of their needs and sold it to the Ministry of Public Works, now the Ontario Reality Corporation. In 1971 the Department of Land and Forests developed a management plan for the area. This plan encompassed existing recreational activities such as hunting, camping and canoeing with the intention to develop a demonstration area for studying resource management activities, such as deer habitat management. The plan was never implemented to the full extend described in the document and management of the site was transferred to Bracebridge District in 1988. The site is currently held under patent for the Ontario Reality Corporation. In the future this patent will be transferred to the Ministry of Natural Resources, and then depatented. The conservation reserve is currently surrounded by both patent Crown and patent land.
There are no recreation camps, land use permits or snowmobile trails within South River Forest Conservation Reserve.
The sale of Crown lands within the conservation reserve is not permitted. The transfer and depatent of Crown lands from Ontario Reality Corporation, formerly the Ministry of Public Works, to the Ministry of Natural Resources for the purpose of resource management needs to occur.
New recreation camps are not permitted.
Unauthorized occupations of lands within the conservation reserve will be handled in accordance with approved policy, and any required structural removal will be at the owner’s expense.
3.3 Development and access
There are no developed areas present within the conservation reserve. Access to the site can be achieved by both land and water. An overgrown unmaintained trail, located along the western most boundary of the site, provides access to the site. This trail is suitable for cross-country skiing. The trail entrance can be located via Highway 522 (figure 3). The site can also be accessed via canoe or kayak along the South River. However, the short steep drops, narrow openings and rocky rapids make this area of the river difficult to navigate (Photo 4). There are no other trails located inside the conservation reserve, however trails are present just outside the site. A snowmobile trail is located southeast, directly south and directly west of the conservation reserve. This Club D trail follows a secondary road that is also present southeast of the site. Various other trails, often used for hiking, can be found in the proximity of the site.
New roads for resource extraction and/or private use will not be permitted, nor will additions to existing roads or upgrading of existing private roads.
New trails are not encouraged, however they may be considered when compatible with other recreational uses and the maintenance of environmental integrity. Any new trail development must go through a Test of Compatibility to ensure the quality of the life and earth science representation and any additional values (e.g. aesthetics, landscape views, sensitive areas) are maintained.
Consideration for new snowmobile trails will occur on a case-by-case basis, but will not be encouraged. Public consultation will be an important part of the process.
In the case of ATV's, the demand, as well as the environmental impact of this activity, will be determined before specific trails are designated or constructed. In general, ATV trails will be strongly discouraged due to negative impacts of rutting and compaction on wetland soils.
The use of existing unauthorized trails will be monitored to ensure that conservation reserve values are not being adversely impacted. Depending on the results of the monitoring, some of the unauthorized trails may need to be redirected from sensitive areas or eliminated completely.
The district may sometime in the future consider developing a trails strategy to ensure the values within the conservation reserve are fully protected while maintaining current permitted uses to occur. Access to resources will include both direct access (e.g. current roads or trails) and/or more waterway opportunities. Such planning could include public consultation.
Facility infrastructure and development for recreation may be considered in future if there is a demonstrated need for such facilities. A more detailed management plan would be required prior to construction.
3.4 Recreational activities
Existing recreational uses include hunting of both large mammals and upland birds. Other potential recreational activities include cross-country skiing, berry picking, camping, wildlife identification, general nature activities and exploration.
Most recreational activities that have traditionally been enjoyed in this area can continue provided they pose no threat to the natural ecosystems and features protected by the conservation reserve.
Mechanized travel is permitted only on the existing trail. Off-trail mechanized travel is permitted for retrieval of game only.
New recreational activities will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Emphasis will be placed on activities that have a low environmental impact on the core values found within conservation reserve.
3.5 Industrial activities
South River Forest Conservation Reserve is located within the Nipissing Forest but has been removed from the licensed area. An examination of the possible impact of activities on adjacent lands should be considered in the Forest Management Plan.
There are no existing mining, timber harvesting, aggregate extraction or utility activities within the conservation reserve.
Mining and surface rights have been withdrawn from staking within the conservation reserve under the Mining Act (RSO Chapter M.14).
Conservation reserve regulations do not permit mining, commercial forest harvesting, hydroelectric power development, the extraction of aggregate and peat or other industrial uses (Public Lands Act, Ontario Regulation 805/94).
3.6 Commercial activities
Two active baitfish licenses are present in both Gurd and Himsworth Township and can thus be applied within the site. There is no trapping license within the conservation reserve however, there is a bear management area NB-47-22. The Ministry of Natural Resources authorizes these existing activities.
Existing non-industrial commercial uses such as baitfish harvesting will be permitted to continue.
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.
New non-industrial commercial activities (i.e. traplines), which overlap with the conservation reserve, may be considered subject to a Test of Compatibility (Appendix 1), consistent with provincial direction. Any new trails associated with the new non-industrial commercial activities must also be considered subject to a Test of Compatibility.
New trap cabins will not be permitted in the conservation reserve.
Existing commercial bear hunting operations are permitted to continue but the introduction of new operations will not be allowed.
The issuance of Licenses to Provide Bear Hunting Services will be allowed where areas have been licensed or authorized under agreement for the activity since January 1, 1992 (there must be documentation in Ministry files that commercial bear hunting has been licensed during the period January 1, 1992 to present) unless:
- The Government has taken action to discontinue the activity; or
- Proceeding would create/aggravate resource sustainability issues (e.g., wildlife management reasons, imparts on values); or
- Licensing or permitting should be deferred due to Aboriginal issues.
Licenses to Provide Bear Hunting Services will not be issued in areas where issuance has not occurred since January 1, 1992.
3.7 Aboriginal interests
This site is located within the Robinson-Huron Treaty Area of 1850, and as such the general area of this conservation reserve is known to be within the area of interest of Nipissing First Nation.
All aboriginal and treaty rights will continue to be respected and are not affected by the establishment of this conservation reserve.
Any future proposals or decisions that have potential impact(s) on the individual or aboriginal or community values will involve additional consultation with the affected aboriginal groups.
3.8 Natural resource stewardship
South River Forest Conservation Reserve is mixed deciduous forest with some coniferous forest lying on glacial moraine and outwash. This forest contains poplar, poplar mixedwoods, yellow birch, cedar and balsam fir as well as various other remnant species. Stands of yellow birch lying on outwash plain may be of regional significance while stands of predominately balsam fir contain some old growth as well as various remnant trees throughout the site. In addition to various forest communities, there is also the presence of fairly diverse wetlands that surround interior creeks and the South River. There are also numerous springs and seeps that form the headwaters of coldwater streams and provide critical brook trout habitat.
South River Forest Conservation Reserve is an important area for wildlife. The southern cedar forest provides excellent winter habitat for white-tailed deer. Other wildlife also inhabit the site including moose, bear, beaver and ruffed grouse. This conservation reserve offers unique nature study opportunities.
The conservation reserve will be managed by allowing natural ecosystems and processes to function as they would with minimal human interference.
The MNR recognizes fire as an essential process fundamental to the ecological integrity of conservation reserves. In accordance with existing Conservation Reserve Policy and the Forest Fire Management Strategy for Ontario, forest fire protection will be carried out as on surrounding lands.
Whenever feasible, the MNR fire program will endeavor to use "light on the land" techniques, which do not unduly disturb the landscape in this conservation reserve. Examples of light on the land techniques may include limiting the use of heavy equipment or limiting the number of trees felled during fire response efforts.
Opportunities for prescribed burning to achieve ecological or resource management objectives may be considered. These management objectives will be developed with public consultation prior to any prescribed burning, and reflected in the document that provides management direction for this conservation reserve. Plans for any prescribed burning will be developed in accordance with the MNR Prescribed Burn Planning Manual, and the Class Environmental Assessment for Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves.
Personal use permits for wood harvesting will not be permitted.
The recreational human induced impacts on the forest and wetland communities will be monitored and restricted in some areas, if deemed necessary. Activities such as ATV use may have the potential to disturb and damage ecologically sensitive wetlands through soil compaction and rutting.
Any potential future trail development must consider the values found within the boundaries of the conservation reserve, the rationale for developing trails within the site and the availability of current access through the site and surrounding areas. Any new trail development will require a Test of Compatibility.
Programs may be developed to control forest insects and diseases in the conservation reserve where these threaten significant values in or adjacent to the site. Where insects or disease threaten significant values, in or adjacent to the site, control will be directed as narrowly as possible to the specific insect or disease. Biological control will be used whenever possible. Regard shall be had for the Test of Compatibility.
Guideline-fish 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.
3.9 Cultural resource stewardship
There have been no specific cultural studies or inventories undertaken by the MNR within the conservation reserve and no specific cultural resource values that have been evaluated or identified to date. However, areas of high potential heritage have been identified within the site.
Should the MNR consider new structural development, significant clearing of vegetation or altering of land within this conservation reserve, the MNR will adhere to the cultural heritage resource screening process as is identified in its Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Ministry of Culture (MCL). While the purpose of this MOU is to provide a process to identify and protect cultural heritage resources when the MNR is reviewing work permits or disposing of Crown rights under the authority of the Public Lands Act, the considerations and criteria would also enable the MNR to identify high potential cultural heritage areas for other purposes within conservation reserves. If the screening process indicates that the site of a proposed activity is within an area of high cultural heritage potential, the MNR will consult with the MCL to determine the appropriate cultural heritage assessment requirements and will undertake a preliminary archaeological assessment if appropriate.
3.10 Client services
There are currently no client services associated with this conservation reserve.
The focus will remain on low key information and self-interpretation of conservation reserve features. Messages should focus on the area’s natural heritage features, recreation opportunities, nature appreciation and education.
Information regarding the South River Forest 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.
Consideration will be given to the strategic location of signs where roads or trails cross the conservation reserve boundary. There are no other plans for structural development within this conservation reserve.
3.11 Monitoring, assessment and research
Research and assessment to date has included earth science, life science and recreation checksheets. Future initiatives should include the examination of the inclusion of a spruce-fir forest located northeast of the conservation reserve. This addition will provide greater buffering capacity for the conservation reserve’s core values. Other recommendations were also provided in the checksheets and have been used in the assessment of this site.
Consideration will be given to inventory and documentation of natural and cultural values, and the assessment of use/activity impacts. All research will be carried out in a non-destructive manner. Research proposals must follow Procedural Guideline C- Research Activities in Conservation Reserves (PL 3.03.05).
The collection/removal of vegetation and parts thereof will not be permitted; however, subject to a Test of Compatibility (Appendix 1), the Area Supervisor may authorize the collection of plants and/or parts for purposes of rehabilitating degraded sites within the conservation reserve and collecting seeds for maintaining genetic stock 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.
There has been no marketing of this conservation reserve to date. Promotion and information about this site has been primarily through the Ontario’s Living Legacy planning process and public consultation regarding the boundaries of this site.
Marketing activities of this conservation reserve will be kept to a minimum.
Implementation of the SCI and management of the conservation reserve are the responsibility of the Wasi Area Supervisor, North Bay District of the Ministry of Natural Resources.
Emphasis will be placed on awareness information highlighting conservation reserve values and appropriate uses.
Long term management will consider balancing the needs of recreation and other users while maintaining the quality of the representation of the resource.
5.0 Review and revision of the statement of conservation interest
South River Forest Conservation Reserve SCI will be reviewed on an ongoing basis and will include the monitoring of activities to ensure adherence to management guidelines. Partnerships may be pursued to address management needs.
This SCI will be amended through a standard process of minor and major amendments. Minor amendments will be processed in a relatively informal manner and will require the approval of the Wasi Area Supervisor. These amendments will deal with uses and activities that do not affect any of the policies in this SCI (e.g. new uses and/or activities that are consistent with existing permitted uses).
Uses and/or activities that were not anticipated in the approved SCI and which may have an impact on the values of the conservation reserve will require a major amendment. This will include an opportunity for public comment and input and will require the approval of the North Bay District Manager and Northeast Regional Director.
Bergsma, B. et al. 1995. Gap Analysis and Candidate Area Selection for Life Science Representation in Site District 5E-6. Ecological Services for Planning Limited.
Chambers, B.A., B.J. Naylor, B. Merchant and P. Uhlig. 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 Regions and Districts. Unpublished Paper. Peterborough: OMNR.
Crins, W. I. and P. S. G. Kor. 1998. Natural Heritage Gap Analysis Methodologies Used by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. Unpublished Paper. Peterborough: OMNR.
EMR Canada. 1986. Topographic Map 1:50,000. South River. Sheet 31 E/14.
First Nations Interviews. 1998 & 2003. Native Background Information Report and Values Maps related to Forest Management Planning.
Henderson, A.D. 1971. A Plan for the Trout Creek Resource Management Plan. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources.
Hills, G.A. 1959. A ready reference to the description of the land of Ontario and its productivity. Ont. Dept. of Lands and Forests, Division of Research, Maple, Ontario.
Kristjansson, F.J., 2003. Earth Science Inventory Checklist Site District 5E-5, South River Forest Conservation Reserve (in progress).
Merchant, Barbara et al. 2004, Life Science Inventory Checklist Site District 5E-5, South River Forest Conservation Reserve.
Noble, T.W. 1991. Assessment of Natural Areas and Features for the Northern Portion of the Southern Boreal Forest Region Site Region 5E.
Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. 1989. Aerial Photos.
Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. 1991. Aerial Photos
Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. 1997. Public Lands Directive Manual: Natural Heritage PL 3.03.05.
Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. 1999. Ontario’s Living Legacy: Land Use Strategy. Peterborough: Queen’s printer for Ontario.
Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. North Bay District. 2004. C71 South River Forest Conservation Reserve File.
Tremblay, D. 2003. South River Forest Conservation Reserve Recreational Inventory Checklist.
Verwey, M. 2004. Personal Communication.
Photos of South River Forest Conservation Reserve (C71)
Photo 1: Overgrown logging road located along the western boundary of the site
Photo 2: Glacially deposited boulder
Photo 3: Upland pine stand suitable for camping activities
Photo 4: Historical photo of rocky rapids at Freeman’s Chutes, South River
Figure 1: Location map
Figure 2: Forest values map
Figure 3: Recreational values and tenure map
Appendix 1 Procedural Guideline B - Land Uses - Test of Compatibility (PL 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, and, 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?"
The following table provides a guide of indicator uses for the consideration of uses that may be permitted within conservation reserves. For any specific conservation reserve the test of compatibility should be applied to determine which specific uses are acceptable.
Appendix 2 - Public Lands Act Policy (3.03.05) Conservation Reserve Permitted Use Table
Indicator Uses for a Conservation Resources
|Permitted activities||Generic: Existing||Generic: New||(C71) Specific: New uses|
|Non-trail ATV use||Maybe1||Maybe1||Maybe2|
|Trails: X county skiing||Yes||Maybe||Maybe1|
|Trails: Horse riding||Yes||Maybe||Maybe1|
Science, education & heritage appreciation
|Permitted activities||Generic: Existing||Generic: New||(C71) Specific: New uses|
|Photography and painting||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Permitted activities||Generic: Existing||Generic: New||(C71) Specific: New uses|
|Wild rice harvesting||Yes||Maybe||N/A|
|Permitted activities||Generic: Existing||Generic: New||(C71) Specific: New uses|
|Featured species management||Maybe||Maybe||Maybe|
|Natural systems management||Maybe||Maybe||Maybe|
|Permitted activities||Generic: Existing||Generic: New||(C71) Specific: New uses|
|Energy transmission corridors||Yes||No||No|
|Resource roads (MNR)||Yes||No||No|
1New 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.
2For retrieval of game only.
3 Transfer requests will be considered in the context of a Statement of Conservation Interest (SCI) or Resource Management Plan (RMP) for each conservation reserve.
*Existing dispositions will continue, however, as opportunities arise the Ministry will acquire and/or remove them outside of the conservation reserve.
Appendix 3 - glossary of terms
Cultural Heritage: Collective term describing examples of a society’s evolution (e.g. history, anthropology and archaeology) worthy of study and preservations
Cultural Resources: Sites, features or artifacts related to the Province’s archaeology, anthropology or history, preserved in a natural settings
Ecodistrict: An ecological landscape unit (ranging in resolution in hundreds of square kilometers) characterized by a distinct patterns in landform
Ecoregion: An ecological landscape unit (ranging in resolution from hundreds of thousands to tens of thousands of square kilometers) characterized by distinct patterns of responses to climate as expressed by soils, hydrology, vegetation (species ranges and productivity), and fauna
Glaciolacustrine deposits: Material ranging from fine clay to sand derived from glaciers and deposited in glacial lakes by water originating mainly from the melting of glacial ice
Lacustrine: Of or relating to lakes
Loam: Soil composed of a mixture of sand, clay, silt and organic matte
Moraine: A knobby ridge either of (a) boulder clay built or by a thrust of a glacier or of (b) gravel and sand deposited at the edge of glacier escaping meltwater
OBM: Ontario Base Map, refers to a geographic division of Ontario according to lines of longitude into mapsheets based on the UTM map projection system
Outwash: Sediment deposited by streams flowing away from melting glacier
Overstory: The uppermost layer of foliage that forms a forest canopy
Patent: An exclusive right or title
Understory: An underlying layer of vegetation, especially the plants that grow beneath a forest’s canopy
UTM: Universal Transverse Mercator
- footnote Back to paragraph OMNR. 1992. Ontario Provincial Parks: Planning and Management Policies: 1992 Update. OMNR
- footnote Back to paragraph Crins, William J and Peter W.C. Uhlig. 2002. Ecoregions of Ontario: Modifications to Angus Hills' Site Regions and Districts Revisions and Rationale.
- footnote Back to paragraph OMNR. 1996. Forest Management Planning Manual. Toronto: Queen’s Printer for Ontario
- footnote Back to paragraph http://www.onlakepartners.org/acrogloss/dsp_wordpopup.cfm?word_id=185. Website.
- footnote Back to paragraph Dictionary.com. 2003. Lexico Publishing Group. www.dictionary.com
- footnote Back to paragraph Chapman, L.J, and D.F. Putnam. 1984. The Physiography of Southern Ontario, Third Edition. Ontario Geological Survey