Uniting an important National Wildlife Area

Sometimes, an expansion project achieves more than just adding space. A property acquired by Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) not only increased the size of a National Wildlife Area but resulted in other benefits, such as uniting the once divided site.

An opportunity arises

Shoreline where the lake meets the beach.

Under the Nature Legacy for Canada Initiative, Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) was given the authority in 2019 to expand 11 priority National Wildlife Areas, including the Prince Edward Point National Wildlife Area (PEP NWA), located near Picton, Ontario.

Established in 1978, the PEP NWA was one of the first protected areas managed by ECCC to protect habitat for migratory birds, and with good reason, as this is a very special site.

At no other location on the Canadian side of Lake Ontario are birds known to gather in such high numbers during migration. The area is also a migratory bird research hub, as well as a stopover for migrating bats and Monarch butterflies.

Given the opportunity to expand this protected area, PSPC was engaged by ECCC to assist them with the purchase of a suitable property, as PSPC is the federal government’s real property expert. With 1 transaction, the project improved the PEP NWA in several ways.

Purchasing the right property

Sunset over a park landscape.

At the time of the project, there were 4 properties adjacent to the PEP NWA listed for sale. Among them was a 33.7-hectare property that was considered the most desirable because it cut through the PEP NWA, separating it into 2 distinct units.

The purchase of the property would amalgamate the PEP NWA into one larger, undivided protected area for the benefit of both local wildlife and the visitors who explore the park.

In addition, the property includes part of a rare wetland system and is situated in a designated “Important Bird Area” that contains essential bird habitat and is known for its unique value to biodiversity.

PSPC led the negotiations that resulted in the purchase of this important property and carried out the many preparatory activities involved in real estate acquisitions by the federal government, including a title search, property appraisal and environmental assessment.

Now, the entire area will be managed by ECCC to support the over 30 species at risk that call the PEP NWA home and more than 300 species of migratory birds that pass through the site.

Watch a video of how the Prince Edward Point National Wildlife Area has improved through this project.

You can also find additional information about Canada’s 55 National Wildlife Areas under the custodianship of ECCC, which provide over 2.1 million hectares of protected habitat for wildlife, or learn more about the services provided by Public Services and Procurement Canada.

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