An ecological hot spot in Windsor is one step closer to permanent protection. Last summer, the City of Windsor announced the plan to take ownership of Ojibway Shores, a 13-hectare property currently controlled by the Windsor Port Authority, and add it to the Ojibway Prairie Complex, a collection of five species-rich natural areas near downtown Windsor. In exchange, the city will expropriate 3.6 hectares of private land along the Detroit River and give some of it to the Port Authority.
The details of the arrangement are still being finalized, but naturalists are heralding it as an important move in protecting species at risk within a corner of the province that has lost much of its nature.
“This is an incredibly species-rich property surrounded by development, so it is crucial that it be permanently protected,” says Steve Marks, vice-president of the Essex County Field Naturalists’ Club (ECFNC).
Ojibwa Shores, the only remaining habitat corridor linking the Detroit River to the Ojibway Prairie Complex, is habitat for 293 animal species and 261 plant species. Twenty-eight of the species, including spiny softshell turtles and barn swallows, are already provincially or federally protected. By taking charge of the property, the city government wants to secure this important property’s long-term protection.
Marks and ECFNC members are relieved the area has eluded the threat of destruction. In 2013, the Port Authority had announced plans to clear-cut Ojibway Shores and dump rubble from Windsor’s Herb Gray Parkway project on it. Public outcry halted that plan, but the property remained available for development.