This spectacular 117-hectare (288-acre) property forever protects one of Ontario’s most biodiverse waterways. In 2014, two member groups – Lambton Wildlife and the Sydenham Field Naturalists – alerted Ontario Nature about a special property on the mussel-rich Sydenham River that was up for sale. After some initial discussions and exploring the property, Ontario Nature signed an agreement to purchase.
The creation of the Sydenham River Nature Reserve in the Carolinian Life Zone was announced on December 19, 2016. Many individuals, foundations and organizations gave generously in support of this effort. Lambton Wildlife and the Sydenham Field Naturalists were instrumental in the fundraising, and now share the responsibility to steward the property with Ontario Nature.
In 2021, our community rallied once again to support the acquisition of a 100-acre property, expanding the nature reserve and protecting more mature forest and wetlands.
Plants and Animals
The reserve saves a ribbon of extraordinary diversity of plants and animals in a region that is under intense pressure from development driven by hosting 25 percent of the Canadian population:
- 38 species at risk including birds, plants, reptiles, fish and, of course, freshwater mussels;
- 34 species of mussel, 16 of which are listed as at-risk provincially or nationally making the property the freshwater mussel capital of Canada; and
- Half of Ontario’s bird species breed in or pass through the area during migration.
To protect this rare habitat, this property does not have a marked trail system and is not open to members of the public. If you would like to visit the property and help with restoring the agricultural fields on this reserve, please check our events calendar for upcoming volunteer opportunities. If you have questions, please contact us at 416-444-8419 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The reserve represents some of the provinces best remaining examples of imperiled and vulnerable habitats. An almost two-kilometre stretch of the Sydenham River winds through the middle of the property. Representing Ontario Nature’s first riverine reserve, the property is teeming with life.
This riverside property is a largely wooded biodiversity oasis in a landscape dominated by cash crops such as corn and soybeans. It forms part of the Carolinian Canada Sydenham River Signature Site, so designated because it was identified as a critical natural area. There are major challenges conservation organizations face in sustaining the ecological connections and biodiversity along the river corridor.