Information provided by Catfish Creek Conservation Authority, Ministry
of Natural Resources and Carolinian Canada. Compiled by Future Stewards
Program with the Elgin Stewardship Council.
Springwater Forest can be found just 5 km southwest of Aylmer,
in Elgin County. It is found on Springwater Road in part of Lots
1-4, Concession V, in the Township of Malahide. There are year
round access points to the forest located off Springwater Road,
Conservation Line and John Wise Line.
The Springwater Forest is managed by the Catfish
Creek Conservation Authority (CCCA). The CCCA was established in
1950 under the Conservation Authorities Act to further the conservation,
restoration, development and management of the natural resources
within the Catfish Creek and Silver Creek watersheds.
CCCA is a local community based charitable environmental agency
which has jurisdiction over a watershed 490 square kilometers in
size, covering five municipalities with a total population of 19,610.
CCCA currently owns and manages 523 hectares of environmentally
significant land in the watershed.
Creek Conservation Authority
RR#5, 8079 Springwater Road
Phone: (519) 773-9037
Fax: (519) 765-1489
E-mail: [email protected]
White purchased Springwater Forest
Two gristmills and two saw mills were developed in the area
White, Iras grandson, preserved the forest property
for nearly 70 years until his death in 1962
19.9 hectare White Pine stand originated after a fire erupted
in the southwest corner of the forest
White and Scotch Pine were planted by Fredrick White on a 7.3
hectare parcel of open land on the northwest portion of the
blight infected the Chestnut stands forcing Fredrick White to
harvest the trees
Catfish Creek Conservation Authority (CCCA) purchased Springwater
Forest, or Whites Bush as it is known locally, from
the Fred White Estate
Jaffa Tract was purchased and added to the forest property.
The Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) and the CCCA entered
into a 40 year Forest Agreement. The MNR agreed to manage the
property for forestry purposes.
2 hectare patches of forest were clear-cut by the MNR to encourage
the regeneration of desired species such as Red Oak and Black
forest was identified as an ANSI (Area of Natural and Scientific
harvesting in the forest was discontinued. The property is currently
being managed for aesthetic and recreational reasons, as well
as for its biological and ecological diversity and significance.
sign-in-place interpretative trail was developed to increase
public awareness for the Carolinian Forest.
Springwater Forest and Jaffa Tract Interim Operational Land
Management Plan was approved.
Southshore Trail was reconstructed with support from the Friends
of the Environment Foundation.
control gates and signage was constructed.
The Forest Management Agreement between MNR and CCCA signed
in 1964 was terminated.
North Shore Trail was reconstructed thanks to the support of
the Aylmer Kinsmen Club and the Ontario Trillium Foundation.
Springwater Forest consists of 370 acres surrounded predominantly
by agricultural practices. The forest supports a variety of habitats
including a 14-acre pond. This forest represents one of Canadas
most significant landscapes, containing numerous Carolinian species.
It has also been referred to as one of the best examples of an
Old Growth Forest in Southern Ontario.
Springwater Forest is used for many recreational and educational
activities. Special interest groups, as well as the general public,
are welcome to enjoy what the forest has to offer. Visitors have
the option to choose from many different trail systems that are
accompanied by trail maps. One such trail is the Millennium Trail
that winds through a beautiful arboretum filled with Carolinian
species such as Red Mulberry and Blue Ash. The relaxing 1km Waterlily
Trail winds along a freshwater marsh, over an earthen dam and past
a variety of Carolinian plant and animal communities. A Springwater
Forest Trail Guide, Bird Checklist, and Waterlily Trail Guide are
available upon request.
use activities are very popular near the Springwater Forest because
of, the 100 metres of sand beach to enjoy by the pond, the fishing
dock, the non-motorized boat launch, the playground with playing
fields and the beautiful picnic area. There are also wonderful campgrounds
available for use. The Springwater Forest area is a good place to
experience the natural forest environment.
addition to the above activities, the Catfish Creek Conservation
Authority (CCCA) holds two annual festivals for everyone to enjoy.
There is a Maple Syrup Festival in March and a Folk Festival in
August. Fishing derbies are held in May and August.
uniqueness of the Springwater Forest attracts a wide range of visitors
each year for education and research opportunities. Students ranging
from preschool to university use the forest to learn the importance
of forest ecosystems and the significance of conservation.
CCCA utilizes the forest to deliver a variety of water and land
management education programs throughout the year. Special programming
is also available which enables organized groups (i.e. scouts, guides,
youth groups) to earn their respective badges.
Jaffa Environmental Education Centre and the CCCA work together
to provide students with a Maple Syrup Education Program every March.
This program educates elementary school children on various methods
of maple syrup production and stresses the importance of sound forest
information concerning the types and availability of educational
programs can be obtained by contacting the CCCA at (519)773-9037.
(Area of Natural and Scientific Interest)
Forest has been identified as an Area of Provincial Significance.
It has also been classified as an ANSI, which is an Area of Natural
and Scientific Interest. The forest has obtained this status because
there have been eleven rare vascular plants found to be living in
Springwater. These plants are:
|Autumn Coral Root
||Rough Leaf Goldenrod
||Shining Ladies Tresses
||Soft Hairy Wild Rye
||Swamp White Oak
well, there have been three species found to be of provincial significance;
Tulip Tree, Eastern Flowering Dogwood, and Yellow Mandarin.
are also a very important component of animal life within the Springwater
Forest. One hundred and fifteen species of birds have been recorded
within the forest. There are a number of rare birds found in
the area. These include; Prothonotary Warbler, Hooded Warbler,
Little Blue Heron, Pileated Woodpecker, Barred Owl and LeContes
Sparrow. The presence of the Pileated Woodpecker is significant
because this bird requires approximately 40 hectares of forest
with numerous dead trees (snag trees) for its habitat.
areas are important habitat for a variety of species including birds,
reptiles, insects, amphibians and mammals. A habitat is where all
plants and animals live; it is their home area.
homes in the forest can be large old hollow trees known as den trees,
or standing dead trees called snag trees. These trees are very important
within the forest ecosystem because animals like raccoons and flying
squirrels make their nests in den trees, while birds such as woodpeckers
nest in snag trees.
Many nut producing trees (mast trees) such as oak, beech and hickory
supply food for the woodland creatures. Without these trees in the
forest the animals would either starve or move to another forest
that contained these trees.
trees or evergreens are important because they are
used as shelter and cover from the snow, wind and rain by many
dead trees have a place in the forest since all of the dead logs
and leaves on the forest floor provide habitat for insects and amphibians,
which in turn are food for other animals.
CAROLINIAN FOREST LIFEZONE:
Canada is one of Canadas most significant landscapes. Often
known as the banana belt, this area supports an amazing
diversity of wildlife and natural habitats. The area has a relatively
warm climate, providing suitable habitat for many species that
are not found anywhere else in Canada. The area has the warmest
average temperatures and the longest frost-free seasons in Ontario.
This results in relatively mild winters compared to the rest of
Ontario. The Carolinian forest reaches its northern most limit
in Southern Ontario.
Much of Ontarios rare and endangered species can be found
nestled away in the last remaining acres of the Carolinian Forest.
Species that can be seen here include trees such as Sassafras, the
Tulip Tree, Blue Ash, Flowering Dogwood, Chestnut, Hop Tree, Paw
Paw, Black Gum, Cucumber Tree and the Kentucky Coffee Tree. The
Green Dragon, the Creeping Fragile Fern, Swamp Rose Mallow, Lizards
Tail, Yellow Mandarin, Virginia Bluebells and Oswego Tea are a few
of Canadas rare plants existing now only within the Carolinian
Zone. Bird species, such as, the Acadian Flycatcher, Summer Tanager,
Carolina Wren and the Prothonotary Warbler can be found here. Some
mammals are restricted to this area, these include the Badger,
Eastern Mole, the Southern Flying Squirrel and the Opossum.
Unfortunately this life zone is one of the most
threatened landscapes in Ontario, covering less than 1% of Canada,
but yet it is home to more rare plants and animals than any other
region in the country. This is mainly because the species found
here are at the northern most point of their habitat. As well,
these species live in developed and settled landscapes, resulting
in a minimum amount of habitat remaining. It is found within an
extremely busy corridor between Windsor and Toronto. Urbanization,
agriculture and industry have destroyed a large portion of this
beautiful forest. Because of this the Canadian Carolinian Forest
has been a focus for conservation and stewardship.
If you would like to learn more about the Carolinian
Life Zone, or have any questions please do not hesitate to contact:
IN A FOREST
are some wildlife species you might see in a forest habitat in our
A wetland is an area that has standing water at or near the surface
for most of the year. Wetlands may be located along shorelines and
riverbanks or can often be found in isolated depressions or hollows.
Wetlands are very important within nature for the following reasons:
A. Wetlands provide habitat (food, water, shelter and space) for
mammals, reptiles, amphibians and many bird species.
B. Wetlands act like a giant sponge, holding water that reduces
C. Wetlands release water slowly, supplying water to other communities.
D. Wetlands help to control erosion.
E. Wetlands act like water filters.
There are four types of wetlands found in Ontario;
These are found along the edges of rivers, streams, ponds and lakes.
They support many plants that are rooted in the soil and grow out
of the water called emergent plants. Cattails and Arrowheads are
two examples of emergent plants. Marshes receive their water from
the body of water next to them, groundwater, rain or snow. As a
result of this the water levels can vary from a few centimetres
up to two metres.
Swamps can be either isolated or found along rivers, streams and
lakes. They are formed as a result of flooding during the spring
snowmelt. They are covered with water for most of the year, although
they do not flood as deeply
as marshes and can dry up during periods of drought.
Some of the trees that can be seen in a swamp include Eastern White
Cedar, Balsam Poplar, Red Maple, Silver Maple, Black Ash, Tamarack
and Spruce. A variety of shrubs are located here: Alder, Willow,
Button Bush, Winterberry and Dogwood. The ground is carpeted with
mosses, ferns and wildflowers including Marsh Marigold, Skunk Cabbage
Bogs are commonly found in the northern parts of the province. They
are located in deep, bowl-like depressions and are filled with layers
of peat (slowly decaying plant material). The water becomes covered
with floating and decaying vegetation. The dominant vegetation here
is sphagnum moss. Some tree species found here are Black Spruce,
Tamarack and White Cedar. Plants include Leatherleaf, Labrador Tea,
Bog Rosemary, Blueberries, Cranberries, Three-leaved-Solomons
Seal, Sundew and Pitcher Plants.
These are areas that are usually located in low-lying areas of Northern
Ontario. Within Fens water slowly flows in and out of the peat layers.
However, fens may dry up in the warmer months. They are one of the
most interesting wildflower and insect habitats and are a great
place to find Orchids and other rare plants.
Fens are dominated by grasses, rushes, and sedges. Other plant life
consists of: Horsetails, Brown Moss, Tamarack, Black Spruce and
Birch. Wildlife within a Fen can include shrews, mice, voles, lemmings,
coyote, muskrat, raccoon, beaver and weasels.