SNC Grassland Project to Enhance and Restore Prime Species-At-Risk Habitat

23-Sep-2021 19-Oct-2021

South Nation Conservation (SNC) is undertaking a 5-year grassland bird habitat enhancement and hayfield rejuvenation project in the Township of Edwardsburgh Cardinal. The project is intended to promote the recovery of the Bobolink and Eastern Meadowlark in Eastern Ontario, two birds that are species at risk in Ontario. 

“SNC has significant and successful experience leading agricultural projects to success,” explained SNC Team Lead, Stewardship, Michelle Cavanagh. “Staff have helped create more than 150 acres of grasslands in Eastern Ontario since 2015 with the overall goal of increasing Bobolink and Eastern Meadowlark habitat amongst other grassland wildlife species’ habitats.” 

SNC received $17,800 in funding for the project from Grasslands Ontario, a division of Forests Ontario (a not-for profit organization), providing awareness and support towards creation, enhancement, and maintenance of grassland habitat. 

SNC will study the property, create a management plan for the improvement of the habitat with respect to grassland birds, create a grassland bird-friendly hay harvesting schedule and contract with a local farm partner, and implement on-the-ground management to improve the overall effectiveness of the habitats as well as the productivity of the hay field. 

The improvements will be completed on SNC property acquired in 2019 through Canada’s Ecological Gifts program, as part of SNC’s Land Securement Strategy. The property contains four separate fields with well-documented sightings of numerous Bobolink and Eastern Meadowlark. 

On-the-ground work will add nutrients and fertilizers to the site, overseed hay forage species, and remove invasive species where required. Additional funding from SNC will be used to add bird friendly, fruit bearing shrubs to the hedgerows in areas where ash trees and invasive species have been removed. This enhancement will increase the habitat complexity and value of the entire site for birds and wildlife. 

“After completing management activities in 2021, SNC will continue to monitor the site during the breeding season until project completion in 2025. Breeding bird surveys will be completed each spring to document how well the site is used by grassland bird species,” explained Cavanagh, adding that vegetation surveys will take place in 2022 and 2025 to document the success or failure of any potential overseeding and nutrient amendments. 

SNC offers natural resource management and planning expertise and experience to help its partners contribute to a healthy region. These contributions include forests, wetlands, grasslands, wildlife, fisheries, urban trees, floodplain, natural hazards, and water management. 

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Michelle Cavanagh, 877-984-2948,