Ste. Therese Ground Moraine Conservation Reserve Management Statement
This document provides policy direction for the protection, development and management of the Ste. Therese Ground Moraine Conservation Reserve and its resources.
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Statement of Conservation Interest
Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources
Ministère des Richesses naturelles
I am pleased to approve this Statement of Conservation Interest for the Ste. Thérèse Ground Moraine Conservation Reserve.
The Ste. Thérèse Ground Moraine Conservation Reserve was created to protect an area of moderately and weakly broken ground moraine dominated by poplar and an open wetland area in Ecodistrict 3E-1. Regulated in June 2003, this 150 hectare conservation reserve is located in the Territorial District of Cochrane, in Northeastern Ontario and is composed entirely of Crown lands and waters.
Direction for establishing, planning and managing conservation reserves is defined under the Public Lands Act and current policy. The specific direction for managing this conservation reserve is in the form of a basic SCI, which defines the area that is being planned, the purpose for which the conservation reserve has been proposed, and it outlines the Ministry of Natural Resources' intent for the protected area. This Statement of Conservation Interest will provide for the ongoing management of the conservation reserve and the basis for monitoring activities. More detailed direction at this time is not anticipated. Should significant facility development be considered or complex issues arise that require additional studies, more defined management direction will be sought and a more detailed Resource Management Plan will be prepared with full public consultation.
The public was informed and consulted prior to the regulation of the Ste. Thérèse Ground Moraine Conservation Reserve under the Public Lands Act as well as during the preparation and review of this Statement of Conservation Interest.
The Ste. Thérèse Ground Moraine Conservation Reserve will be managed under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Natural Resources' Hearst District under the supervision of the Hearst Area Supervisor as designated by the Hearst District Manager.
Recommended for approval by:
Date: Signed on March 21, 2005
Date: Signed on April 10, 2005
The purpose of this Statement of Conservation Interest (SCI) is to identify and describe the values of the Ste. Thérèse Ground Moraine Conservation Reserve. The SCI also outlines 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 and cultural values within the reserve.
The site, 150 hectares in size, is located north of the town of Hearst, between Ste. Thérèse and Pivabiska Lake in the Hanlan and Casgrain Townships (Map1). The conservation reserve was designated to protect a small area of moderate and weakly broken ground moraine dominated by poplar (Populus tremuloides) stands with an open wetland area.
Management direction specified in this SCI will serve to protect the conservation reserve for the benefit of all Ontario residents. This direction will comply with the land use intent stated in the Ontario’s Living Legacy Land Use Strategy (LUS) (OMNR 1999) and associated policy clarification statements (OMNR 2000). Additionally, this conservation reserve will be managed under the Public Lands Act (OMNR 1997a), and will comply with all legal requirement as specified under the Environmental Assessment Act (R.S.O. 1990, Chapter E.18).
1.1 Provincial context
On July 16, 1999, the Ontario Government released the LUS to guide the planning and management in central and parts of northern Ontario. The LUS focuses on four specific objectives:
- completing Ontario’s system of parks and protected areas
- recognizing the land use needs of the resource-based tourism industry
- providing forest, mining, and other resource industries with greater land and resource use certainty; and
- enhancing angling, hunting and other Crown land recreation opportunities
The first objective was accomplished through the designation of new conservation reserves and provincial parks, and additions to existing provincial parks. The Ste. Thérèse Conservation Reserve (C1538) is part of this expansion of Ontario’s protected areas system.
Conservation reserves complement provincial parks in protecting representative natural areas and special landscapes. Most recreational (e.g. hiking, skiing, tourism, related uses and nature appreciation) activities that have traditionally been enjoyed in the area will continue, provided that these uses do not impact on the natural features needing protection. Hunting and sport fishing are permitted within all new conservation reserves proposed through the LUS.
2.0 Goals and objectives
2.1 Goal of the Statement of Conservation Interest
The goal of a conservation reserve is to protect the natural heritage values on public lands while permitting compatible land use activities. This SCI will provide a framework to guide the management direction for the Ste. Thérèse Conservation Reserve and meet this goal through short and long-term objectives.
2.2 Short term objectives
The three short-term objectives are addressed with the development of this SCI:
- To describe the current state of the resource including natural heritage values and current land use activities for the Ste. Thérèse Conservation Reserve
- To protect the integrity of the natural values within the Ste. Thérèse Conservation Reserve through the specific guidelines, strategies and prescriptions detailed in this SCI
- To meet planning requirements (e.g. the development of this SCI)
2.3 Long term objectives
The three-long term objectives highlight some of the future work associated with this site:
- To establish representative targets and validate the Ste. Thérèse Conservation Reserve as a potential scientific benchmark
- To identify research opportunities, client services, marketing strategies and partnership opportunities to promote the Ste. Thérèse Conservation Reserve and the Hearst area
- To provide direction to evaluate new uses or economic development ventures, including details within this document and applying the Test of Compatibility to evaluate potential impacts of new uses (Appendix A)
3.0 Management planning
3.1 Planning process
A Conservation Reserve is a protected area designation that is regulated under the Public Lands Act. This designation permits many traditional land uses to continue while excluding activities such as commercial timber harvest, mining and hydro electrical development.
The Ste. Thérèse Conservation Reserve was originally proposed as option E76 and presented in the LUS as site C1538 (OMNR 1999). Public consultation on the boundary was undertaken in September 2000.
The site was regulated under the Public Lands Act on May 21, 2003 (O. Reg. 208/03).
There are two types of documents that can be produced to direct the management of conservation reserves a Statement of Conservation Interest (SCI) or a Resource Management Plan (RMP). SCIs fulfill the minimal requirement for providing management direction while RMPs are used to deal with more complex issues (OMNR 1997b). If major issues arise during the development of an SCI and a need to make decisions beyond the direction provided in the LUS (OMNR 1999) is identified an RMP will be developed. As with the majority of conservation reserves, a decision has been made to develop a SCI to lend management direction for the Ste. Thérèse Conservation Reserve.
First Nations and the general public were notified of management planning for this and five other conservation reserves in the Hearst District through newspaper advertisements and a mail out in December 2004. There were 17 responses to these notices. The public was notified in February, 2005 and given an opportunity to review the draft SCI. One comment was received.
Any future proposals or significant changes in management direction will be done with full public consultation including a posting on the Environmental Bill of Rights Registry.
3.2 Planning area
This SCI applies only to the area within the regulated boundary. The MNR will continue to work with adjacent land managers and users to promote and protect the natural and cultural values of this conservation reserve.
4.0 Background information
4.1 Site location
The Ste. Thérèse Conservation Reserve is located approximately 2.5 kilometres northwest of the community of Lac-Ste-Therese and 7 kilometres north of the town of Hearst in the townships of Casgrain and Hanlan (Map 1). The conservation reserve is straddled between Pivabiska Lake and Pivabiska Narrows.
The conservation reserve can be accessed off Highway 11 by traveling north on Highway 583.
The interior of the site is very accessible via a number of roads and trails that run through the conservation reserve. Road access to the adjacent cottages is gained through conservation reserve.
4.2 Physical site description
The Ste. Thérèse Conservation Reserve is located within Cochrane Ecodistrict 3E-3 (Hills 1959). The Ecodistrict boundaries were recently revisited and as a result the conservation reserve now falls within the Smokey Falls Ecodistrict 3E-1 (Crins 2000).
The Smokey Falls Ecodistrict (3E-1) is characterized by a smooth plain of clay and loam, moderate to high in lime, shallow to moderately deep over bedrock with a fairly high percentage of muskeg.
The Smokey Falls Ecodistrict is found within a larger area called the Lake Abitibi Ecoregion 3E, which is characterized as flat to gently rolling, glacial clay and sandplain with locally extensive peatlands and wetlands, broken throughout by glacial features such as moraines, eskers and kame and kettle complexes with Canadian Shield exposures (Hills 1959).
The conservation reserve is located in the Hearst Chain of Lakes area which is part of the Moose River Basin within 4LK tertiary watershed (OMNR 2002). The chain of lakes flows into the Pivabiska River which empties into the Missinaibi River. The Missinaibi River flows north where it joins the Moose River and flows into James Bay.
The Ste. Thérèse Conservation Reserve is within the Northern Clay Section of Rowe’s (1972) Boreal Forest Region. The Northern Clay Section is characterized by widespread black spruce stands on both the gently rising uplands and the lowland flats coexisting with sedge fens and sphagnum-heath bogs. Tamarack is occasionally found with black spruce and is more common in younger stands. Extensive areas of black spruce-cedar swamp occur more commonly in the western portion of this section. Areas with improved drainage contain hardwood or mixedwood stands of trembling aspen, balsam poplar, balsam fir, white spruce and black spruce. Drier areas such as old beaches, eskers, and outwash deposits are dominated by stands of jack pine and white birch.
The forest climate for this site is mid-humid, mid-boreal (Hills 1959, Poser 1992). The Hearst area receives a minimal annual precipitation of 79 centimeters and 2.79 metres of snow. On average there are 90 frost free days in the Northern Clay Belt resulting in a growing season of approximately 160 days.
Table 1: Location and administrative details for the Ste. Thérèse Conservation Reserve
|Name||Ste Thérèse Ground Moraine Conservation Reserve|
|Total Area (hectares)||150 ha|
Eco-District (Hills 1959)
Eco-District (Crins 2000)
|OMNR Administrative Region District Area||North East Region Hearst District Hearst Area|
|Forest Management Unit||Hearst Forest|
|Watershed||Moose River Basin within 4LK tertiary watershed|
|Wildlife Management Unit||24|
|Townships||Casgrain and Hanlan|
|Regulation Date||June 2003|
|OBM map Sheet||30552|
4.3 Administrative description
The legal description of the Ste. Thérèse Conservation Reserve, regulated as Schedule 203 in Ontario Regulations 208/03 made under the Public Lands Act on May 21, 2003 and published on June 7, 2003 amending Ontario Regulation 805/94, reads:
In the geographic Townships of Casgrain and Hanlan, in the Territorial District of Cochrane, containing 150 hectares, more or less, being composed of that part of the said township designated as Part 1 on a plan known as C1538 Ste. Thérèse Ground Moraine Conservation Reserve, filed on February 14th, 2003 with the Office of the Surveyor General of Ontario in the Ministry of Natural Resources.
The conservation reserve is located within the Ministry of Natural Resources, Hearst District and within the legal boundaries of the Hearst Forest Sustainable Forest Licence.
4.4 History of the site
Hearst, the nearest town, is located 7 kilometres south of the site. The town, established in 1913, has relied on the rail road, agriculture and more recently forestry. Although no records exist, it is probable that some selective harvesting occurred on the moraine for softwood saw logs during the 1940's (Quist pers. comm.).
The present vegetation within the conservation reserve is predominantly poplar. The poplar stands within and adjacent to the site have been identified as being in declining health. It is believed that this decline is the result of successive years of forest tent caterpillar infestation in combination with other factors, likely drought (Quist pers. comm. 2003).
The Ste. Thérèse Conservation Reserve is located in the Hearst Chain of Lakes area. This area is known as "cottage country" for the people of Hearst. This intensive recreational use has resulted in a series of trails and roads being constructed on the moraine. The access varies from a maintained gravel road to trails that are used for walking, all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and snowmobiles.
Inventory conducted to date as well as future priorities for inventory are outlined in Table 2.
Table 2: Inventory information for Ste. Thérèse Conservation Reserve
|Survey Level||Earth Science||Life Science||Cultural||Recreational||Other|
|Reconnaissance||2003 (Kristjansson) Aerial Photo Interpretation Geological mapping||2001 (Thompson et al.)||Aerial||Disturbance Survey: (Thompson 2001, Malenfant 2001, Quist 2003)|
|Detailed||Not required||Required||Not required||Not required||Not required|
|Further Requirement||None||Aerial and ground reconnaissance||Ground reconnaissance||Monitoring of natural, human disturbances.|
5.0 State of the resource
The goal of the Natural Heritage Areas Program is "to establish a system of protected natural heritage areas, representing the full spectrum of the province’s natural features and ecosystems" (OMNR 1997c). The natural heritage of Ontario contributes to the economic, social and environmental well-being of the province and its people. Protecting areas of natural heritage is important for many reasons such as maintaining ecosystem health and providing a range of habitat in order to maintain species diversity and genetic variability. Protected areas also provide scientific and education benefits, they can generate tourism and they provide places where people can enjoy and appreciate Ontario’s natural diversity while enhancing their own health and well-being. In order to protect this vital natural heritage, Ontario has established a provincial parks and protected areas system to try to represent the entire suit of natural features and ecosystems within the province. This representation and the criteria used to determine the current quality of that representation are detailed below (OMNR 1997c).
Ontario’s natural heritage areas system is meant to protect representative samples of Ontario’s natural and cultural diversity. The LUS (OMNR 1999) describes the Ste. Thérèse Conservation Reserve as a small area of flat topography consisting of moderately and weakly broken ground moraine dominated by poplar with some young spruce and an open wetland area.
The conservation reserve was chosen for its representation of the landform/ vegetation combination of moderately broken ground moraine with young poplar stands (Ritchie and Thompson 1998). This was based on provincial landform coverage and Forest Resource Inventory (FRI). More detailed inventories that were carried out for the completion of this SCI revealed some inaccuracies in this information.
According to the provincial landform coverage, the site is largely composed of moderately broken ground moraine. Kristjansson (2003) indicates that most of the northern half and part of the southern half of the conservation reserve is immediately underlain by bedrock-drift complex
There also appears to be problems with the accuracy of the FRI data for this Ste. Thérèse Conservation Reserve. According to the FRI, young (0-29 years) pure poplar stands dominate the conservation reserve (Map 2c – Age Distribution). However, Thompson (2001) describes this stand, which covers 67% of the conservation reserve, as old to over mature poplar with a mixed understory of balsam fir, black spruce, white birch, and poplar (Map 2a – Forest Communities).
A poplar mixedwood stand is situated along the southern margin and extends into the centre of the conservation reserve. Several poplar dominant conifer stands and a pure black spruce stand are situated along the eastern boundary. During the aerial reconnaissance survey, it was noted that the pure black spruce stand contains pockets of treed bog containing a mixture of black spruce and tamarack (Thompson 2001). The conservation reserve also contains a balsam fir dominant conifer stand along the western boundary. The age of these stands range between 30-59 and 60-89 years .
The Ste. Thérèse Conservation Reserve is poorly stocked with the majority of the stands stocked between 1-40 percent and a smaller area stocked between 41-60 percent (Map 2b – Stocking Distribution).
The site contains one wetland located in the southwest corner of the conservation reserve (Map 3b - Wetlands). This wetland is classified as shoreline fen and during the aerial reconnaissance survey it was observed that the centre of this fen was very muddy indicating a past disturbance most likely a beaver (Thompson 2001).
5.2 Quality of representation
The quality of the representation or the current characteristics of the natural features found within the conservation reserve are as important as the overall representative features that are being protected. A number of factors are considered in evaluating a site including: diversity, condition, special features, ecological factors and current land use activities.
Diversity is the measure of the relative number and range (i.e. amount of richness and evenness) of vegetative communities or special features found within the conservation reserve. Natural landscapes and known generalized vegetative communities will be the scale used for this SCI. Future aerial or ground reconnaissance surveys will enhance the MNR's knowledge of these features and possibly allow verification at a lower scale (e.g. species assemblages).
The Ste. Thérèse Conservation Reserve is considered to have low diversity. This is based on the small size of the site, the low number of landform/vegetation combinations, and that the sites vegetation is dominated by one forest community, poplar, which covers 67% of the conservation reserve. There are 11 landform/vegetation combinations on the Ste. Thérèse Conservation Reserve. This number is derived from the inventories conducted, not provincial landform coverage and FRI, and should be an accurate assessment of the actual features within the reserve.
Although comparatively the Ste. Thérèse Conservation Reserve does not have a high degree of diversity it still contributes somewhat to the overall diversity of Ontario’s protected areas system.
Ecological factors refer to the current design of the conservation reserve as noted by its size, shape, and buffering capacity to adjacent land use activities. In addition a site’s linkage to undisturbed landscapes also contributes to the conservation reserves ecological integrity.
It would be advantageous to have the conservation reserve’s boundary extended to include the shoreline. This was not possible due to current development along the lake. As a result, the Ste. Thérèse Conservation Reserve is contained entirely within vectored boundaries, except for a biological boundary in the southwest corner. Due to the predominance of vectored boundaries, most of the site’s vegetative communities are dissected leaving these stands with little to no core areas. This makes it much harder to protect these communities. These fragmented forest communities also provide limited buffering for the site’s interior core values.
The conservation reserve is very accessible and is in close proximity to the communities of Lac Ste. Thérèse and Hearst, which tends to increases the recreational usage of a site. Furthermore, the conservation reserve is in a prime cottaging area for the residents of Hearst, with the main road through the conservation reserve providing access to several cottages and the shoreline of Pivabiska Lake.
The conservation reserve is linked through the Chain of Lakes to Fushimi Provincial Park which is 12 kilometres to the west.
The small size, 150 hectares, of the conservation reserve in combination with its close proximity to several communities, the road and trail network, the vectored boundaries, the recreational usage, and shoreline development (cottages) may inhibit this site’s ability to maintain its core values over the long term. This site will thus require more direct management protection to prevent disturbance and to ensure that the site can continue to contribute to the parks and protected areas system.
Condition is the amount of disturbance, man-made or natural, within a conservation reserve. The disturbance of the Ste. Thérèse Conservation Reserve is rated as low.
The primary human disturbance to the site is the network of roads and trails that run through the conservation reserve. Several cottages are located on Indian Point and along the western shoreline. Access to cottages, located just outside the conservation reserve’s boundaries, is via a well-established road that runs through the western portion of the conservation reserve (Thompson 2001). Although no records exist, it is probable that some selective harvesting occurred on the moraine for softwood saw logs during the 1940's (Quist pers. comm. 2003).
Special features include interesting landscapes, habitats or vistas, species at risk and other earth and life science features including broader landscape elements that contribute to the natural heritage richness of Ontario.
From both a life science and earth science perspective the conservation reserve is considered to be only of local significance. The vegetation and geological features of the conservation reserve are commonly encountered throughout this region.
Current land use activities
The conservations reserve’s location in a prime cottaging area near the town of Hearst has made it a popular spot for a variety of recreation activities. Current recreation activities in or near the conservation reserve include snowmobiling, ATV use, cottaging, hunting, and boating. The trails that cross the reserve are used by recreationalists to access adjacent land, cottages and water.
There are no known facilities or structures within the conservation reserve.
The conservation reserve falls within two traplines, two baitfish licences and one Bear Management Area (BMA).
5.3 Linkages to local communities
The Ste. Thérèse Conservation Reserve is accessible from Highway 538 through the community of Lac Ste. Thérèse. The Ste. Thérèse Conservation Reserve is within the jurisdiction of the Hearst Municipal Planning Board. The general area is considered "cottage country" for the town of Hearst and as such is popular for cottages and land use permits. Some other recreational/commercial activities that the Ste. Thérèse Conservation Reserve represents may include hiking, bird watching, wildlife viewing, photography, fishing, small and large game hunting and trapping. Hunting, trapping and fishing are long-standing traditional activities and are a vital part of the local economy. Economic benefits are seen at local establishments from bear and moose hunting parties as well as fishing enthusiasts.
The road and trail network within the conservation reserve is used by cottagers and local residents as snowmobiles and ATV trails. Snowmobiling and ATV use are popular pastimes of many residents and tourists to the area. These activities bring tourism to the local towns and the economic benefits are felt through spending at restaurants, gas stations and hotels.
5.4 Aboriginal interests
The Ste. Thérèse Conservation Reserve falls within the area of the Nishnawbe-Aski Nation (NAN) and Treaty #9. The nearest First Nation community is Constance Lake First Nation which is located 30 kilometres to the west. The protection of this area as a conservation reserve and this SCI are not meant to infringe on the Treaty and Aboriginal Rights of any First Nations. Aboriginal peoples have existing Aboriginal or Treaty Rights that are protected under the Constitution of Canada. The Ontario government is consulting with Aboriginal Peoples concerning decisions that may affect the use of Crown land and resources that are subject to Aboriginal or Treaty Rights. The consultation for this document is an attempt to ensure these existing obligations are not restricted. MNR's existing planning processes provide opportunities for all citizens to participate in planning for natural resources under MNR's administration. However, it is recognized that more effective approaches are required in order to consult effectively with Aboriginal peoples.
Traditional activities such as hunting, fishing and trapping and gathering will be respected. At present time, there are no known land claims by First Nations for the area in question.
5.5 Natural heritage values
The Ste. Thérèse 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.
The protected areas system allows for permanent protection of our history and special features, and it will provide valuable areas as benchmarks to scientist and educators. Each protected area contributes to this heritage in its own unique way, whether it is a contribution to the preservation of an earth science value, a life science value, a recreational or economic opportunity, or through its cultural and historical significance. The designation of an area as a conservation reserve helps define its role in the system.
The Ste. Thérèse Conservation Reserve was designated to protect the earth/life science association of a moderately and weakly broken ground moraine dominated by a young poplar stand. As noted earlier, the site actually represents a mature poplar stand on bedrock-drift complex. A site inspection and further analysis is necessary to evaluate this conservation reserves contribution to Ontario’s parks and protected areas system.
Long term management must consider public access to the site, the conservation reserve protection objectives, and commitments made in the LUS (OMNR 1999).
5.6 Mining interest
This conservation reserve has no mining tenure within it. The area is considered to have low mineral and aggregate potential (OMNR 1981). Mining and surface rights have been withdrawn from staking within the conservation reserve boundaries under the Mining Act (RSO 1990 Chapter M.14).
5.7 Forest and fire management history
The conservation reserve has not recently been affected by forest harvesting or recent fires.
5.8 Government agencies interests
Departments, Crown Corporations and other government agencies that may have an interest in this site may include the Ministry of Citizenship (MCzP), the Ministry of Culture (MC), and the Ministry of Tourism and Recreation (MTR). Local government bodies may include Constance Lake First Nation, and the Town of Hearst.
Although there are no know cultural heritage values present, if values are identified the MNR would work with the MC and local First Nation communities to ensure proper protection of any cultural heritage resources.
The MNR will also work in conjunction with the MTR, Constance Lake First Nation and the Town of Hearst to identify and enhance any potential tourism opportunities, in particular where resource-based tourism potential is identified. Resource-based tourism operations include hunting and fishing as well as eco-tourism opportunities. Proper evaluation will be undertaken where opportunities are identified to ensure consistency with the management policies of this conservation reserve.
5.9 Non government organizations and other industry interests
Non government organizations who may express an interest in the Ste. Thérèse Conservation Reserve could include: Chain of Lakes Cottage Association, the Hearst Trappers Council, Hearst Anglers and Hunters, the Partnership for Public Lands, the Federation of Ontario Naturalists, Northern Ontario Tourist Outfitters, and the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters.
The existence of this protected area will provide enhanced recreation potential and these associations may wish to approach the MNR as stewards of the conservation reserve. The MNR will work in conjunction with any association who identifies an interest in exploring compatible use or development within the site.
Other industries or companies that may have an interest in the conservation reserve includes the Prospector’s Association, the Sustainable Forest Licence Holder (Hearst Forest Management Inc.), and the Aggregate Producer’s Association. The interests of these groups may be limited to recognizing the boundaries and the values protected within the site in order to uphold the MNR's management policies within the conservation reserve.
5.10 Fisheries and wildlife values
The Ste. Thérèse Conservation Reserve falls within Wildlife Management Unit 24 and Fisheries Division 19.
Fishing opportunities are extremely high in the general area of the conservation reserve due to the abundance of rivers and lakes surrounding the site. The site is contained within two bait fish licences.
The wildlife that could be found within the site is consistent with typical of the wildlife found in Ecodistrict 3E-1 including birds, small furbearers and large ungulates. A small wetland located on the south eastern corner of this site was observed to be very muddy indicating a past disturbance, most likely a beaver. The conservation reserve is located within two traplines and one Bear Management Area.
It is not known if any vulnerable, threatened or endangered species exist on or near the site. Further habitat studies may be warranted.
5.11 Cultural heritage values
There are no known cultural heritage values within the Ste. Thérèse Conservation Reserve and to-date there has been no assessment of cultural resources. The potential of cultural resources is high given its close proximity to the Hearst Chain of Lakes and a nearby series of lakes and rivers.
The MNR will continue to work with the Ministry of Culture and local First Nations to identify archaeological sites, which should be protected.
5.12 Current land use and development
This conservation reserve rests entirely on Crown land and is unencumbered by any land use permits, licences of occupations, leases or mining claims.
There are no existing facilities in the conservation reserve. However, the Ste. Thérèse Conservation Reserve is in the middle of a prime cottaging area. A number of bush roads that pre-date the reserve provide access to most parts of the reserve. The roads and trails accessing the cottages traverses the conservation reserve will be allowed to continued, however, they will not be maintained by the ministry.
5.13 Current commercial use
Current commercial use is limited to commercial fur harvesting, bait fishing and black bear hunting.
5.14 Current recreation use and opportunities
Recreation uses currently occurring in the general area of the conservation reserve include walking, hiking, wildlife viewing, camping, fishing, hunting, fishing, boating, snow shoeing, cross country skiing, and cottaging.
Mechanized travel, vehicular, ATV and snowmobiles, occurs on the road system and trail system within the conservation reserve. These trails currently provide access to cottages and recreation opportunities adjacent to the conservation reserve.
5.15 Current client services
Current visitor services offered by the Hearst District MNR are limited to the basic level of information such as access, natural heritage features, and boundary location.
6.0 Management guidelines
The land use intent outlined in the LUS (OMNR 1999) provides the context and direction for land use, resource management, and operational planning activities on Crown land. Commitments identified in the above strategy and current legislation (OMNR 1997a) will form the basis for land use within the Ste. Thérèse Conservation Reserve. These management strategies will maintain, protect and enhance the existing natural heritage values and land use activities of the Ste. Thérèse Conservation Reserve. For up to date information on permitted uses refer to the Crown Land Use Atlas (Appendix B – Crown Land Use Atlas Policy Report).
Protected areas will be managed to retain and/or restore natural features, processes and systems. They will also provide opportunities for compatible research, education and outdoor recreation activities (MNR 1997c). Proposed uses and development will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. A Test of Compatibility must be passed before they are deemed acceptable within the conservation reserve (Appendix A). The emphasis will be on ensuring that the natural values of the conservation reserve are not negatively affected by current and future activities.
Management strategies will also be consistent with the objectives of increasing public awareness, promoting responsible stewardship, providing marketing opportunities, and identifying monitoring opportunities .
6.1 Sensitive feature
The wetland vegetation, located in the south west of the site, is moderately sensitive to development. The nature and season of activities in this area should be considered when assessing potential impacts on this feature.
6.2 Aboriginal interests
The Ste. Thérèse Conservation Reserve falls within the area of the Nishnawbe-Aski Nation (NAN) and Treaty #9. The closest First Nation is Constance Lake First Nation which is located 30 kilometres to the west. The protection of this area as a conservation reserve and this Statement of Conservation Interest are not meant to infringe on the Treaty and Aboriginal Rights of any First Nations. All Aboriginal and Treaty Rights will continue to be respected. First Nation communities are encouraged to continue to use these areas as they have in the past.
6.3 Industrial activities
Industrial activities such as; timber harvesting, prospecting, mining, removal of aggregates or peat and new hydro generation will not be permitted within the boundaries of this conservation reserve.
6.4 Existing and proposed development
Energy transmission, communication and transportation corridors, and construction of facilities are discouraged within the boundaries of the conservation reserve. Alternatives should be reviewed via larger landscape planning processes.
Roads and trails
New roads for resource extraction and or private use will not be permitted.
Snowmobiles and ATV's are permitted on existing trails. Under the LUS (OMNR 1999), all mechanized travel is restricted to existing trails. Off trail use is permitted for the retrieval of game only. New trails may be considered through planning and would be subject to a test of compatibility.
The sale of lands will not be permitted within the conservation reserve (OMNR 1999), except for those situations described in the policy clarification tables (OMNR 2000).
There are no Land Use Permits with in the conservation reserve. New Land Use Permits may be considered for approved activities, subject to a Test of Compatibility (Appendix A) and applicable policies and procedures.
The earth and life science features and their protection shall be the overall theme for tourism and recreation within the conservation reserve. There are no existing tourism facilities located in or directly adjacent to this conservation reserve. Any proposed tourism infrastructure or facilities would be required to undergo a Test of Compatibility to ensure that the activity is consistent with permitted uses for conservation reserves and that natural heritage values within the site are protected. If new development is considered appropriated public consultation would be conducted and this SCI would be amended.
6.5 Resource management activities
The conservation reserve will be managed by allowing natural ecosystems, processes, and features to function with minimal human interference. All earth and life science features will be protected by defining compatible uses, enforcing regulations and monitoring and mitigating issues.
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 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 this SCI. 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.
The introduction of exotics and/or invasive species will not be permitted. Programs may be developed to control forest insects and diseases in the conservation reserve where these threaten significant heritage, aesthetic, or economic values. Where control is desirable, it will be directed as narrowly as possible to the specific insect or disease. Biological control will be used wherever possible.
The collection or 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 or parts of plants for the purposes of wild rice harvesting, food harvesting, removing exotic species, rehabilitating degraded sites within the reserve, collecting seeds for maintaining genetic stock, inventory or research. The cutting of trees for non-commercial purposes (e.g. fuel wood) is not permitted.
Fisheries and wildlife management
Fish and wildlife resources will continue to be managed in accordance with policies and regulations prevailing in the area, under the direction of the Hearst Area Supervisor. Provincial legislation and policies will dictate management and enforcement objectives for this conservation reserve.
6.6 Commercial activities
Trapping, baitfish harvesting and Bear Management Areas
Commercial, non-industrial, activities such as trapping, baitfish harvesting and Bear Management Areas will be managed according to the prescription in the LUS (OMNR 1999). Traplines and bait fishing operations can be renewed and transferred unless there are significant demonstrated conflicts. New operations would be subject to a Test of Compatibility to ensure that wildlife populations could sustain additional activities (Appendix A). Existing Bears Management Areas will be permitted to continue; new operations will not be permitted as per the LUS (OMNR 1999). MNR will work with operators to ensure that the natural heritage values within the conservation reserve are respected.
Commercial food harvesting
Currently no commercial food harvesting exist within the conservation reserve. Such ventures may be considered, subject to a Test of Compatibility (Appendix A) and applicable policies and procedures.
Existing tourist outfitters can continue to access this reserve as they have in the past. Currently there are no outpost camps within the reserve. New outpost camps may be considered, subject to a Test of Compatibility (Appendix A) and applicable policies and procedures. These camps would be under Land Use Permits, sale of Crown land for new outpost camps will not be permitted.
MNR with continue to work with proponents to ensure the values of the conservation reserve are respected and maintained to the highest level possible.
6.7 Non-commercial activities
Most recreational activities that have traditionally been enjoyed in the area can continue, provided the activity poses little or no threat to the natural ecosystem and features protected by the reserve. Current activities include bird watching, hiking, hunting, skiing, ATV use and snowmobiling. Camping may also be a current use in the conservation reserve and will be permitted to continue.
Hunting and sport fishing
Hunting and sport fishing will be permitted within this conservation reserve in accordance with policies and regulations prevailing in the area, under the direction of the Hearst Area Supervisor.
Wildlife and bird viewing activities may be enhanced via client services with the existing trail network supporting this activity. New trail development may be considered for this activity providing a Test of Compatibility is conducted and passed.
Vehicles will be permitted on existing roads within the conservation reserve. Snowmobiles and ATVs will be permitted on existing roads and trails. Off trail use is permitted for game retrieval only (OMNR 2000).
6.8 Client services
Clients indicating their interest in the management, planning and future use of the conservation reserve will be put on a mailing list and notified of any future planning initiative for the site.
Client services will be provided at the Hearst District Office and at nearby provincial parks through interpretive pamphlets and knowledgeable staff. In the future, information may be delivered from different sources; however, MNR Hearst District office will be the lead agency for responding to inquiries regarding access, permitted and restricted activities, values information 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.
It is recommended that visitors, conservation reserve users and the local population be informed of the significance and sensitive features of this conservation reserve through fact sheets, community visits, presentation, and other educational or interpretive programs. Marketing efforts to increase use are not a priority and will be kept to a minimum.
6.9 Monitoring and research
Scientific research by qualified individuals, which contributes to the knowledge of natural and cultural history and to environmental and recreational management, will be encouraged. All research programs require the approval of the MNR and will be subject to ministry policy and other legislation. Those interested in pursuing research within the conservation reserve must apply to the Area Supervisor for approval. Applications to complete the research will follow guidelines established by Ontario Parks for research within provincial parks or equivalent direction formulated by the Hearst District. Approvals will meet all terms and conditions established by the MNR Hearst District Office.
Additional earth science and cultural surveys are required to refine values and management guidelines. These are considered to be a priority. Research related to the study of natural processes will also be encouraged provided it does not harm the values of the reserve.
The ministry may approve on a case by case basis the removal of any natural or cultural specimen by qualified researcher. All such materials removed remain the property of the MNR.
Approved research activities and facilities will be compatible with the protection objective. Permanent plots or observation stations may be established to which researchers can return over time. Any site that is disturbed will first go through a Test of Compatibility and will be rehabilitated as closely as possible to its original state.
Particular research may focus on the interrelationship with other nearby protected areas – in particular to gauge the effectiveness of small, isolated protected areas and how such sites need to be connected through supportive landscape management in order to maintain ecosystem health and diversity. The effects of straight boundaries versus naturally delineated boundaries should be explored. Further research and monitoring requirements will be determined through forthcoming regional and provincial strategies.
7.0 Recommendations and future needs
The following recommendations have resulted from inventory work and the development of this SCI.
- The name of this conservation reserve should be changed to the Ste. Thérèse Bedrock-Drift Conservation Reserve to reflect the features protected
- Amend policy report in the Crow n Land Use Atlas to reflect features within the regulated boundary (i.e. – there is no recreation camp within the boundary)
- A more detailed life science checksheet should be completed (a step 5)
- This more detailed life science information should be analyzed with the new landform information to determine more fully the site’s significance and contribution to the parks and protected areas system
- The MNR will work with the Hearst Planning Board regarding adjacent shoreline development. Opportunities to extend the boundary to the shoreline should be explored
- Additions to this conservation reserve should consider improving the design of the site to enhance core features (i.e. use of natural boundaries). Additions to this conservation reserve should only occur if a vegetative rehabilitation plan is funded in the near future
- The boundary between Crown and private land
- Secure funding to determine the number and location, current condition and future potential of trails within the reserve
- Areas that are regenerating poorly should be reviewed to determine if additional management action is required
- Explore partnership opportunities to enhance opportunities for local communities
- Future planning may consider joining the site via a canoe route with appropriate camping locations to the Fushimi Lake Provincial Park
8.0 Implementation and plan review
The Ste. Thérèse Conservation Reserve SCI will be reviewed on an ongoing basis. Implementation of the SCI and management of the reserve are the responsibility of the Hearst Area Supervisor. Partnership 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 protection objectives, may be considered and approved by the Area Supervisor without further public consultation and this 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. Major amendments will be approved by the Regional Director.
Implementation of this SCI will primarily involve monitoring activities to ensure adherence to the management guidelines.
Crins, W.J. 2000. Ecoregions of Ontario: Modifications to Angust Hills' Site Regions and Site Districts revisions and rationale.
Hills, G.A. 1959. A ready reference to the description of the land of Ontario and its productivity.
Kristjansson, R. 2003. Draft earth science inventory checklist: Ste. Therese Ground Moraine Conservation Reserve – C1538. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources.
Malenfant, C. 2001. Ste. Thérèse Ground Moraine Conservation Reserve – C1538: Recreation inventory checklist. Hearst District, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources.
Ontario Geological Survey, 1991; Bedrock Geology of Ontario, East-Central Sheet; Ontario Geological Survey, Map 2543, Scale 1:100,000.
Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources 1981. Hearst District Land Use Guidelines - Background.
Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. 1997a. Conservation Reserves, Policy PL 3.03.05. 8 p.
Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. 1997b. Conservation Reserves, Procedure PL 3.03.05. 22 p.
Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. 1997c. Nature’s Best. Ontario’s Parks and Protected Areas: the Framework and Action Plan. 37 p.
Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. 1999. Ontario’s Living Legacy Land Use Strategy, Queens Printer for Ontario, Toronto, ON. 136 p.
Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. 2000. Conservation Reserve Policy as Amended by the Ontario Living Legacy Land Use Strategy. Policy clarification tables, September 26, 2000.
Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. 2002. MNR districts and major basins of Ontario.
Poser, S. 1992. Report of the status of provincial parks in the site region and districts of Ontario. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources Report.
Quist, L. 2003. Personal communications. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Hearst District.
Ritchie, G., and J.E. Thompson. 1998. Lands for Life natural heritage reference binder Boreal East Planning Area. Chapt. 5, 3E3 Gap Analysis Information. OMNR Internal Report.
Rowe, J.S. 1972. Forest regions of Canada. Dept. of Fisheries and the Environment. Canadian Forestry Service. Publ. No. 1300. 172 pp.
R.S.O. 1990, Chapter E.18. Environmental Assessment Act. http://www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/DBLaws/Statutes/English/90e18_e.htm.
R.S.O. 1990, Chapter M.14. Mining Act. http://www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/DBLaws/Statutes/English/90m14_e.htm.
Thompson, J. 2001. Aerial reconnaissance survey for Ste. Therese Ground Moraine Conservation Reserve. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources.
Thompson , J.E., Nicholson J., Noordhof J., King L. and S. Longyear: 2003. Ste. Thérèse Ground Moraine Conservation Reserve (C1538). Life Science Checksheet. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources.
Map 1a – Surficial Geology
Map 1b – Landforms
Map 1c – Geology & Forest Communities
Map 2a – Forest Communities
Map 2b – Stocking Distribution
Map 2c – Age Distribution
Map 3a – Values
Map 3b – Wetlands
Map 5 – Old Growth
Map 6 – History
Appendix A: SCI test of compatibility
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. Any new uses, and commercial activities associated with them, will be considered on a case by case basis, and, subject to the following test of compatibility. To ensure a standard screening process is followed, reviews of all current and new activities will be subject to the screening criteria as specified by the Environmental Assessment Act (R.S.O. 1900, Chapter E.18).
The following outlines the two steps involved in performing a Test of Compatibility. An assessment of current activities would only follow step two, which focuses on the impacts. An assessment of any new activity would consider the impact of the activity and its conformity to the SCI/RMP.
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: Crown Land Use Atlas – Policy report
Area Name: Ste. Thérèse Ground Moraine
Area (ha): 150
Designation: Conservation Reserve (Ontario’s Living Legacy)
This site, located between Ste. Thérèse and Pivabiska lakes, is a small area of moderately and weakly broken ground moraine dominated by poplar/aspen with some young spruce and an open wetland area. The topography is flat. The site is connected to Fushimi Lake Provincial Park through Hanlon Lake.
Land use intent:
A cottage lease currently exists within this site; this activity will be allowed to continue within the conservation reserve.
Management of this area is also governed by the general policies contained in the Land Use Strategy (1999).
Those uses and management activities not listed in the following table are governed by existing conservation reserve policy. Over time the management direction will be elaborated in a Statement of Conservation Interest or Resource Management Plan. Any new uses, and commercial activities associated with conservation reserves, will be considered on a case by case basis, and they must pass a test of compatibility to be acceptable. Compatibility is normally determined through a planning process.
|Bait fishing - Existing:||Yes||Existing use permitted to continue, unless there are significant demonstrated conflicts.|
|Bait fishing - New:||Maybe||New operations can be considered, subject to the "test of compatibility"|
|Commercial fishing - Existing:||Yes||Existing use permitted to continue, unless there are significant demonstrated conflicts.|
|Commercial fishing - New:||Maybe||New operations can be considered, subject to the "test of compatibility".|
harvesting - Existing:
|Yes||Existing use permitted to continue, unless there are significant demonstrated conflicts. Existing trap cabins can continue; new cabins are not permitted.|
harvesting - New:
|Maybe||New operations can be considered, subject to the "test of compatibility".|
|Commercial hydro development||No|
|Commercial tourism - Existing:||Yes||Existing authorized facilities can continue, unless there are significant demonstrated conflicts.|
|Commercial tourism - New:||Maybe||New tourism facilities can be considered during the planning for an individual reserve.|
|Bear hunting by nonresidents (guided) - Existing:||Yes||Existing authorized operations permitted to continue.|
|Bear hunting by nonresidents (guided) - New:||No||New operations not permitted.|
|Outfitting services - Existing:||Yes||Existing authorized operations permitted to continue.|
|Outfitting services - New:||Maybe||New operations can be considered during the planning for an individual reserve.|
|Outpost camps - Existing:||Yes||Existing authorized facilities permitted to continue.|
|Outpost camps - New:||Maybe||New facilities can be considered during the planning for an individual reserve.|
|Resorts/lodges - Existing:||Yes||Existing authorized facilities permitted to continue.|
|Resorts/lodges - New:||Maybe||New facilities can be considered during the planning for an individual reserve.|
|Boat caches (Managed)|
|Energy transmission and communications corridors - Existing:||Yes||These facilities should avoid conservation reserve lands wherever possible.|
|Energy transmission and communications corridors - New:||No|
|Food harvesting (commercial) - Existing:||Maybe|
|Food harvesting (commercial) - New:||Maybe|
|Mineral exploration and development||No|
|Wild rice harvesting - Existing:||Yes|
|Wild rice harvesting - New:||Maybe|
Land and resource management activities
|Crown land disposition - private use:||Maybe||Sale of lands is not permitted, except for minor dispositions in support of existing uses (e.g. reconstruction of a septic system). Renewals of existing leases and land use permits are permitted. Requests for transfer of tenure will be considered in the context of the Statement of Conservation Interest or Resource Management Plan.|
|Crown land disposition commercial use:||Maybe||New leases or land use permits permitted for approved activities. Tourism facilities can apply to upgrade tenure from LUP to lease.|
|Fire suppression||Yes||Fire suppression policies are similar to adjacent Crown lands, unless alternative fire policies have been developed through a planning process.|
|Fish habitat management:||Maybe|
|Fish stocking:||Maybe||Conservation Reserves policy indicates that "featured species management" may be permitted.|
|Roads (resource access) - Existing:||Yes||Existing roads can continue to be used. Continued use will include maintenance and may include future upgrading.|
|Roads (resource access) - New:||Maybe||New roads for resource extraction will not be permitted, with the exception of necessary access to existing forest reserves for mineral exploration and development.|
|Vegetation management:||Maybe||Conservation Reserves policy indicates that Featured Species Management and Natural Systems Management may be permitted. Vegetation management can be considered in a planning process.|
|Wildlife population management:||Maybe|
Science, education and heritage appreciation
|Photography and painting:||Yes|
Recreation activities and facilities
|All-terrain vehicle use - On Trails:||Yes||Existing use permitted to continue where it does not adversely affect the values being protected. ATV use off trails is not permitted except for direct retrieval of game.|
|All-terrain vehicle use - Off Trails:||No|
|Horseback riding (trail)||Yes||Existing use on trails permitted.|
|Mountain bike use||Yes||Existing use on trails permitted.|
|Motor boat use commercial:||Yes|
|Motor boat use private:||Yes|
|Non-motorized recreation travel||Yes|
|Private recreation camps (hunt camps) - Existing:||Yes||Existing camps permitted to continue, and may be eligible for enhanced tenure, but not purchase of land.|
|Private recreation camps (hunt camps) - New:||No|
|Snowmobiling - On trails:||Yes||Existing use permitted to continue where it does not adversely affect the values being protected.|
|Snowmobiling - Off trails:||Maybe||Snowmobile use off trails is not permitted, except that snowmobiles may be used for direct retrieval of game.|
|Trail development - Existing:||Maybe||Development of trails for a variety of activities (e.g. hiking, cross-country skiing, cycling, horseback riding, snowmobiling) can be considered as part of planning for an Individual reserve.|
|Trail development - New:|
Note: The policies outlined in this table do not supersede any Aboriginal or treaty rights that may exist, or other legal obligations.
Management of this conservation reserve is carried out within the context of Conservation Reserve policy as amended by the policies for new conservation reserves outlined in the Ontario’s Living Legacy Land Use Strategy.
Source of direction:
Ontario’s Living Legacy Land Use Strategy (1999); Conservation Reserves Policy (1997); Hearst District Land Use Guidelines (1983)
Appendix C: Statement of Conservation Interest Amendment
- footnote Back to paragraph Drift is a broad term used to describe any material deposited by a glacier. The landforms within the Ste. Thérèse Conservation Reserve are a combination of drift material and bedrock that is at or near the surface.