In its 27-year history, TIWLT has had a hand in conserving over 5,000 acres of land between Gananoque, Brockville, and the Rideau Canal, an area that is incredibly biologically important.
This area, known locally as the Thousand Islands Watershed, lies on the Frontenac Arch, a UNESCO World Biosphere. Here, TIWLT’s properties help support critical habitat for 1/3 of Ontario’s species at risk, including Endangered butternut trees and Threatened gray rat snakes. Their properties also conserve the ecosystem services that clean and control the water, purify the air, and sequester carbon.
TIWLT comes to own or steward properties through conservation easements (legal covenants between landowners and the land trust that ensure the property remains as conservation land regardless of who owns it in the future), fee-simple donations (transfer of ownership to the land trust), and purchases of land on the market that hold strong ecological values. TIWLT also works to broker the transfer of land from private to public in situations when this results in the best conservation outcomes for the land.
Following their ambition, TIWLT has challenged themselves to conserve and additional 1,000 acres of strategically placed land. Anchored in Leeder’s Creek, upstream of Charleston Lake, this “Thousand Acre Challenge” will help ensure that the water flowing through the watershed and into the St. Lawrence River remains clean and controlled. In the River itself, TIWLT has set its sights on a small channel and 20 island acres that is a nursery for endangered fish and turtle species.
The Thousand Acre Challenge has a lofty fundraising goal of $450,000, and support from U.S. donors has been, and continues to be, paramount in TIWLT’s success.