Forests, Fish and Wildlife
Wildlife Management AreasTo date, there are 17 Wildlife Management Areas on Prince Edward Island and 10 of them are located on publicly owned lands. These lands total 5,431 hectares (13,420 acres). These lands are protected under the Wildlife Conservation Act and are to be maintained for the protection, management and conservation of wildlife and its habitat. Some of these lands also carry designation as a Natural Area under the Natural Areas Protection Act, restricting certain management activities to protect the areas natural feature for which it was protected.
The current list of Wildlife Management Areas include:
- Dingwells Mills(1,225 acres)
The Dingwells Mills Wildlife Management Area consists of 9 properties and portions of 3 properties totalling 1225 acres. They were purchased to conserve forest and wetland wildlife habitat. These lands are generally low and wet with poor soils. Black spruce is the dominant cover type.
- Dromore (1,136 acres)
The Dromore Wildlife Management Area consists of 19 properties totalling 1088 acres. It include the headwaters of the Pisquid River and Clark’s Brook as well as two marshes which are managed jointly with Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC). In several instances, adjacent lands are managed by the provincial Forest program.
- Grovepine-Big Brook (3,202 acres)
The Grovepine-Big Brook Wildlife Management Area consists of 29 properties totalling 3202 acres. This WMA borders the upper tidal reaches of the Fortune River and contains much of the headwaters of Grovepine Brook and Big Brook There are two dams located within the area managed jointly with Ducks Unlimited Canada while the Souris Wildlife Federation actively works to improve trout habitat on Big Brook. Soils are poorly drained and black spruce and larch dominate.
- Martinvale-Corraville (2,779 acres)
The Martinvale-Corraville Wildlife Management Area consists of 27 properties and portions of 3 additional properties, totalling 2779 acres. The area includes the headwaters of the Morell River and the Midgell River, Big Indian Marsh (Martinvale Marsh) the Everglades, the Sticks and MacKinnon’s Bog. Management partners include Ducks Unlimited Canada, the Morell River Management Co-op, the Native Council, and the Nature Conservancy of Canada and in addition to an adjacent property is designated as part of the Morell River Natural Area. The MacKinnon’s Bog Natural Area is also included in this WMA. A significant number of adjacent upland properties are managed by the Provincial Forest Program.
- Mount Stewart (477 acres)
The Mt. Stewart Wildlife Management Area consists of 19 properties totalling 477 acres It includes the upper reached of the Hillsborough River in the area known as the Mt. Stewart Marsh. as well as several wetland areas including Warrens Pond and the Allisary Creek Impoundment are managed jointly with Ducks Unlimited Canada. The Warrens Pond site is also designated as a Natural Area under the Natural Areas Protection Act.
- Forest Hill (1,827 acres)
The Forest Hill Wildlife Management Area consists of 22 properties totalling 1907 acres. This Wildlife Management Area focuses on two large but dissimilar wetlands; the nutrient rich 96 hectare Whitlocks Pond and the comparatively nutrient poor Docs Marsh. Acadian forest hardwoods like sugar maple and yellow birch are found on the well drained unplowed uplands, while white spruce, poplar, and larch stands dominate former agricultural lands. Old, lowland black spruce stands contribute to the area’s overall diversity by supporting birds like the boreal chickadee and gray jay.
- Southampton (1,419 acres)
The Southampton Wildlife Management Area consists of 26 properties totalling some 1419 acres. The headwaters of the Midgell River is captured in part by this management area. Many rare species on PEI are associated with the Midgell and Morell Rivers including the southern Twayblade (Listera australis) and the Atlantic salmon ( Salmo salar). These properties as a whole provide habitats for a large variety of woodland and wetland plants, birds, small mammals, amphibians and reptiles. It is also a good locality to spot the gray jay.
- River Wetlands (450 acres)
The River Wetlands Wildlife Management Area consists of12 properties totalling 182 hectares (450 acres). These properties ensure the protection of significant wetlands and headwaters in the area.
- St. Chrysostome (971 acres).
The St. Chrysostome Wildlife Management Area include 20 properties encompassing 971 acres. Two coastal wetlands are managed under agreement with Ducks Unlimited Canada. and three parcels are more strictly protected under designation of the Natural Areas Protection Act The forest cover includes species typical of western PEI such as white ash and white cedar.
The designation of a Wildlife Management Areas must undergo public consultation to determine support in the community. The management of the area also includes a public process of developing a management plan supported by the community and its goals for the area. The following management principles help guide this process:
- Sustainable uses of species and ecosystems will be promoted taking into account the best uses indicated by soils, drainage, typography and plant cover;
- Management action will be based on information obtained from monitoring of wildlife species and habitat;
- Management will integrate the goals of wildlife conservation and the generation of economic activity, including resource harvest and ecotourism; and
- Management will strive to maintain, enhance and restore biodiversity.
Management to enhance wildlife populations may include riparian zone treatments to promote salmonid species. Upland treatments may include small harvest sites, strip cuts, patch cuts, wild apple tree pruning and replanting food species trees and shrubs to promote upland game and non-game species.
In 2001, the Forests, Fish and Wildlife Division worked co-operatively with the Boughton River Watershed Enhancement Association to develop and implement a management plan for Forest Hill Wildlife Management Area. The plan includes signage, boundary line establishment, amphibian and reptile monitoring, road maintenance and woodcock enhancement. Several kilometres of walking trails and horse riding trails were established for public enjoyment. Plans are being formulated for the 2002 field season.
In 2002, the department is working with the village of Mount Stewart to develop a management plan for the Mount Stewart Wildlife Management Areas. The village is interested in promoting ecotourism and hopes to use the area as a drawing card for visitors. Discussion will begin with the residents of St. Chrysostome and Holland College, who utilize the St. Chrysostome Wildlife Management Areas as a research and training area for students of the Renewable Resources Management Technology Program.
Co-operation through community involvement is the key to success in managing public lands. The Forests, Fish and Wildlife Division believes in the sustainable use of Wildlife Management Areas to support communities and to maintain healthy, diverse wildlife populations.