Spotted Wintergreen (Chimaphila maculata)
Status in Canada: Endangered
Status in Ontario: Endangered
Status at SWCR: Rare and increasing
In Canada, there are only 5 known populations of this low evergreen perennial shrub: four here in Norfolk Country, and one in Niagara County.
- The SWCR is home to two out of the five existing populations in Canada, one of these is the largest known population in Canada!
- Only a few stems within a population produce flowers in a particular year.
- It is a deciduous forest species that spreads vegetatively to produce sparse patches.
Threats at the St. Williams Conservation Reserve:
Habitat Degradation: Soil compaction from unauthorized ATV use, invasive plants and canopy closure all degrade its habitat.
Incidental damage: resulting in the death of individual plants.
Activities that can damage spotted wintergreen and its critical habitat include:
- Activities that can introduce or encourage the growth of invasive plants, such as dumping of garden waste and off-trail ATV use.
- Activities that can cause soil compaction or erosion, such as unauthorized ATV or dirtbike activity and other off-trail recreational activities.
- Vegetation management activities that can crush or destroy plants, such as prescribed burns, herbicide use to control invasive plants, conifer plantation thinning.
- Off-trail recreational activities that can trample plants, or remove them from their habitat, such as trampling, off-trail ATV use, and unauthorized collecting.
St. Williams Conservation Reserve management practices:
- Population monitoring
- Management planning to prevent damage during habitat restoration practices.
- Forest thinning activities
- Invasive plant control
- Enforcement of unauthorized trail use
What you can do to help:
- Follow the code of conduct for recreational activities in the Conservation Reserve and know and respect the current trail-use regulations.
- Clean your boots, bicycle tires, or ATV before and after visiting the SWCR or other natural areas to avoid spreading invasive plant seeds.
- Report unauthorized trail use or any illegal activity related to plants and wildlife to 1-877-TIPS-MNR (847-7667).