Home to One of Canada's Densest Blanding's Turtle Populations!
Pictured here is NDP MPP Mike Mantha holding five endangered Blanding’s turtles that were tracked by three university researchers in an area proposed to be a quarry development.
An area of Crown Land, located near Lake Lauzon and along the north shore of Lake Huron in Northern Ontario, is the future site of a trap rock quarry. Currently, the site is a combination of lakes, rocky outcrops, mixed forest, and wetlands. Basically, it is a beautiful piece of Northern Ontario. It is home to many plants and animals with at least five Species at Risk (SAR) of disappearing from the Province (Blanding’s Turtle, Snapping Turtle, Painted Turtle, Whip-Poor-Will, and Little Brown Bat) and it is an aquatic feeding area for moose. A quarry company proposes to export the mineral potential of this product, and against the wishes of many residents, has convinced some of the local council to rezone the land to allow mining (vote 3:2 in favour of rezoning). There is no immediate need for the trap rock as there is another quarry about 1 hour drive away that can supply the need for many decades to come. Some believe that the economic benefits of jobs for seasonal workers and about $60,000 per year income for the township “outweigh” the environmental costs (the loss of habitat for the SAR, moose and other flora and fauna, potential water quality degradation, and impacts from noise, dust, and truck traffic). A Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) can determine if the council’s decision to rezone the area is justified. The legal expense of the LPAT is a significant burden for the local residents and this GoFundMe site is established to raise capital to cover some of the costs; and hopefully, conserve this vulnerable, diverse area.
University research beginning in June 2017 was recently published (Global Ecology and Conservation, 20 (2019) e00751) and reported that there is a dense population of Blanding’s turtles in the area proposed for the quarry development. The researchers captured 56 Blanding’s turtles and estimated the population to be about 80 +/- 18 with a density of about 1.84 turtles/ha, which is among the highest reported densities for the species. Critical nesting and overwintering habitat was identified and based on legislated provincial and federal recovery guidelines for Blanding’s turtle, at least 63% and at most 100% of the proposed quarry area is categorized as endangered species habitat. The quarry proposal should be rejected if the spirit of the legislation is upheld, but it remains to be seen whether science, politics, or money will prevail.
Unfortunately, not everyone shares the same desires as we do when it comes to protecting this irreplaceable habitat. Our group, North Shore Environment Resource Advocates Inc., is looking to raise about $35,000 as we have retained a lawyer to help us in our mission: to protect this critical population of Blanding's turtles and the diverse environment within and around the proposed quarry site. Lake Lauzon is located near this site. It is where many of us live, drink the water, swim and fish. We enjoy the fresh air that all of us in the area of the proposed quarry breathe. So please help us protect the turtles and leave a healthy environment for the generations of family and friends who will follow us. This is the legacy we want to leave behind. Help us do what is right! Please donate. No donation is too small! (Please note: your donation is not tax deductible as we are not a registered charity.)
Gabby Zagorski explains the research she's been doing with the Blanding's turtles of Algoma Mills.
Read our paper on these endangered turtles:
Check out this website: https://answercommunity.ca
Search for this article: Northern Ontario's turtle tussle pits scientists against quarry builders, The Globe and Mail, Monday, November 4, 2019.
- Maymar & Al Gemmell
- David MacDonald
- Thomas W. Kirby
- George Heim
North Shore Environmental Resource Advocates Inc.
Algoma Mills, ON