Powder Islands now protected
The second time she ever saw a bald eagle in the wild, Linda Branderhorst, NCC event coordinator in Ontario, was in a boat en route to one of NCC’s latest acquisitions: the Powder Islands in Lake Superior.
But she didn’t see just one — as the boat rounded a series of square cliffs towering about calm waters, the noise of the boat stirred up a group of seven bald eagles perched on the cliff wall, soaking in the sun.
Such sightings, while rare for most city dwellers, are not uncommon along the north shore of Lake Superior, where rugged ridges, cliffs and mesas offer extreme south and north-facing microclimates. This unique landscape is a key area for Great Lakes biodiversity as well as part of the Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area.
In January 2014, NCC announced the conservation of the 399-acre (161-hectare) Powder Islands. The two islands, 299-acre (121-hectare) Anguros Island and a 100-acre (40-hectare) unnamed island to the west, are located less than one kilometre off the coast of Lake Superior near Rossport. They are almost completely forested, supporting bald eagles and rare Great Lakes coastal wetlands.
Among the rare species documented here is a small purple wildflower called Franklin’s scorpion-weed.
The shallow waters around these islands provide spawning habitat for lake trout and lake whitefish, and stop-over habitat for migrating waterfowl.
NCC has had a longstanding partnership with the Pays Plat First Nations, who will be involved in the long-term management of the property. NCC has been working in the area for 15 years, and continues to build on connections with Pays Plat, other First Nations and forestry, mining and energy sectors in the area.
The project was made possible thanks to generous funding support from the TD Bank Group (TD) through its TD Forests Program.