In 2002, in its mission to preserve and restore the globally rare ecosystem of the Rice lake Plains, Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) proposed that the most practical way of promoting the long-term sustainability of this area of approximately 400,000 ha would be to involve a number of partners in the area.
The partners, Alderville First Nation, the County of Northumberland, Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority, Lower Trent Region Conservation Authority, the Nature Conservancy of Canada, Northumberland Land Trust and Ontario Parks, collectively known as “the Parties”, agreed to sign a Memorandum of Understanding whereby:
Each Party recognizes that Rice Lake Plains is part of the Oak Ridges Moraine, an environmentally significant part of Ontario, particularly important as a ground water re-charge area with significant forest and headwater habitats and with globally rare tallgrass communities including prairies, savannas, barrens and oak woodlands which have become increasingly fragmented and otherwise threatened.
Each Party believes that efforts to promote the long-term sustainability of Rice Lake Plains will best be achieved through coordinated activities minimizing duplication of effort, maximizing sharing of information and, where possible, resources, and focusing on common themes and mutually agreeable priorities.
The approximate boundaries are shown on the map.
This MOU has been effect since 2007 with the expectation that the Parties will continue to work together to achieve the long-term objectives some of which are:
- Pursuing a common vision for the preservation and enhancement of the natural features of Rice Lake Plains among the Parties and other agencies.
- Increasing awareness and understanding by the general public, land owners and others of the importance of the natural features of the Rice lake Plains and how people can have a positive effect on these features and functions.
- Increased scientific research, data collection and distribution, and sharing of expertise.
- Improved information flow to municipal and provincial planning processes.
- Looking to and sustainably using the well-established Alderville First Nation Black Oak Savanna and the Red Cloud Cemetery Prairie as models for partner activities in site restoration.
- Increased opportunities and securement of key sites within the Rice Lake Plains.
Meetings of the Parties are organized every three months by NCC, the “lead Party” in this Partnership. These meetings are for the exchange of information, to enable parties to plan strategy, coordinate efforts and assess results. In addition the meetings may facilitate improved, enhanced and, where appropriate, coordinated fund-raising for conservation efforts in the Rice Lake Plains. There is a provision in the MOU for other Parties to attend meetings and to join the Partnership.