IBA Napanee Limestone Plain
Napanee, Ontario
Site Summary
ON152 Latitude
44.267° N
76.955° W
100 - 150 m
2,213.79 km²
coniferous forest (temperate), deciduous woods (temperate), mixed woods (temperate), scrub/shrub, savanna, second growth/grazed grasslands, alvar
Land Use:
Agriculture, Nature conservation and research, Forestry, Rangeland/pastureland, Tourism/recreation, Urban/industrial/transport
Potential or ongoing Threats:
Afforestation, Arable farming, Disturbance, Extraction industry, Grazing, Intensified management, Interactions with native species/disease, Introduced species, Other environmental events, Recreation/tourism, Urban/industrial development
IBA Criteria: Nationally Significant: Threatened Species, Congregatory Species
Conservation status:
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Site Description
The Napanee Limstone Plain is situated in eastern Ontario, with the town of Napanee at its centre. The site includes natural upland habitats between Belleville and Kingston, north to Erinsville and south to the Bay of Quinte. The area is a mosaic of shallow soil habitats such as savannah grasslands with scattered Red Cedar or hawthorrn and small wood-lots. Grassland habitats are in the early stages of succession, having been originally cleared for settlement. Land-uses in the area include cattle grazing, mixed farming, rural residential, and limestone and aggregate quarries. There are numerous rare plants growing here, including Prairie Smoke, Carolina Whitlow Grass, Upland White Goldenrod, Mock Pennyroyal and several aster species. Four regionally rare snakes are present: Eastern Ring-necked, Eastern Milk, Dekays and Eastern Ribbon Snake.
The Napanee Limstone Plain is important for its grassland and alvar bird populations. Thirty or more pairs of Loggerhead Shrikes breed on this plain. This is about 20% of the Canadian population of the nationally endangered eastern population, and about 75% of Ontarios breeding shrikes. The Upland Sandpiper is also found here in nationally significant numbers. It is estimated that 150 to 200 pairs breed here annually, which is perhaps 2% of the Canadian Upland Sandpiper population. Also of national significance is the nationally endangered Henslows Sparrow, which is has been present regularly in low numbers (1 to 5 pairs). However, there have been no recent records for this rapidly declining, but also hard-to-find species.

Additional species of interest in the IBA, and their estimated breeding populations, are: Northern Harrier (20 to 30 pairs), American Kestrel (25 to 50 pairs), Common Nighthawk (20 to 30 pairs), Grasshopper Sparrow (150 to 200 pairs), Clay-coloured Sparrow (10 to 20 pairs), Vesper Sparrow (150 to 200 pairs) and Eastern Meadowlark (200 to 400 pairs).

IBA Criteria
SpeciesT | A | I Links Date Season Number G C N
Brant 2007 SP 3,000
Greater Scaup 2004 SP 7,676 - 15,212
Henslow's Sparrow 1990 - 2002 SU 1 - 2
Herring Gull 1990 - 1998 WI 3,067 - 6,733
King Rail 2003 - 2012 SP 1
King Rail 2002 - 2005 SU 1 - 2
Little Gull 2002 FA 5
Loggerhead Shrike 1992 - 2020 FA 1 - 5
Loggerhead Shrike 1990 - 2020 SP 1 - 8
Loggerhead Shrike 1995 - 2020 SU 1 - 60
Rusty Blackbird 2009 - 2017 FA 25 - 100
Rusty Blackbird 2011 - 2016 SP 30 - 400
Yellow-breasted Chat 2003 FA 1
Note: species shown in bold indicate that the maximum number exceeds at least one of the IBA thresholds (sub-regional, regional or global). The site may still not qualify for that level of IBA if the maximum number reflects an exceptional or historical occurrence.
Conservation Issues
Natural succession is the critical factor that will affect the nesting areas of the species currently here, especially the Loggerhead Shrike. The active quarrying of aggregates is another important factor that changes habitat and leads to increased traffic. Road kills are known to be one cause of shrike mortality.

There are numerous conservation measures in place for this area. The Loggerhead Shrike Recovery Team has a plan to restore the habitat. Some fences have been repaired and shrubs have been thinned in places to slow succession. A video has been prepared for use as an educational tool to help in the areas conservation. A contact programme has been launched for landowners in the area, whereby they have been approached to increase their awareness of shrikes and help them plan their activities to minimize damage to the ecosystem. There are several provincial Areas of Natural and Scientific Interest (ANSIs) sites within the site: Westplain Mud Lake fen, Salmon River alvar, Roblin Hell Holes, Camden East Alvar, Camden Wildlife Area, and the Asselstine Alvar. In these areas, which include shrike habitat, landowners are eligible to participate in the Conservation Land Tax Incentive Programme.

The IBA Program is an international conservation initiative coordinated by BirdLife International. The Canadian co-partners for the IBA Program are Birds Canada and Nature Canada.
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