Posted on Jan 24, 2023
The Lower Maitland River Valley
Invited to our January 24 club meeting were representatives of the Nature Conservancy of Canada, Laura Vaughan, Jill Crosthwaite and Candace Affleck.  The ladies introduced us to the NCC -  explaining the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is the country‚Äôs unifying force for nature, working to deliver large-scale, permanent land conservation. With nature we are building a thriving world. While there are many projects underway across Canada discussed we were introduced to the Lower Maitland River Valley project.

A rare refuge for endangered species

The Lower Maitland River Valley Natural Area is part of the Eastern Great Lakes Lowland Forests region. This forest region occurs as a narrow band stretching from the central shores of Lake Huron in Ontario, across the north shore of Lake Ontario and along the St. Lawrence River corridor, into Quebec and northern New York State. The conservation status of this entire region is critical due to habitat loss, fragmentation and pollution.


The Lower Maitland River Valley is influenced by the Great Lakes coast. As a result it has a high number of rare species and ecosystems. It features a large mature forest complex and cliffs. The Maitland River also serves as a high quality aquatic system. Watch the video at the bottom of this page and see the Maitland River as viewed from the shore.


Significant animals in both the terrestrial and aquatic habitats include rare snakes, turtles and fish. The Lower Maitland River Valley is a rare stronghold for many species in southern Ontario. In particularly the nationally threatened queen snake can be found here. Its population in this valley is likely the most viable for this species in southern Ontario.


Both Indigenous Peoples and European settlers have a long history in the Lower Maitland River Valley Natural Area. It is an important area for protecting terrestrial and freshwater biodiversity in the Great Lakes basin.

Conservation status 

NCC is working with conservation partners, including the Maitland River Conservation Authority and Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, to ensure that this ecologically significant area is protected.