Ducks Unlimited Canada Celebrates Habitat Secured on Howe Island — Ducks Unlimited Canada Skip to main content

Ducks Unlimited Canada Celebrates Habitat Secured on Howe Island

September 25, 2019 Ontario Provincial
Howe Island is part of a chain of habitat hotspots along a migration path for birds on the Great Lakes.
Howe Island is part of a chain of habitat hotspots along a migration path for birds on the Great Lakes. © DUC

Kingston, Ont.—An undeveloped landscape on Howe Island in the St. Lawrence River is the latest strategic securement for Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC). The purchase includes shoreline and wetland habitat in a high-priority waterfowl habitat zone in the province.

The property purchased by DUC is 133 acres (54 hectares) and includes coastal shoreline, provincially significant coastal wetlands, mature woodlands, grasslands, fields and other mixed habitats.

Howe Island provides migratory and staging habitat for up to 25 species of diving and dabbling waterfowl, as well as breeding habitat for dabbling ducks such as mallards, black ducks, blue-winged teals and wood ducks. The island also hosts endangered species including least bitterns and map and snapping turtles.

Howe Island is part of a chain of habitat hotspots along a migration path for birds on the Great Lakes. It is the second largest of the Thousand Islands and is located where Lake Ontario meets the St. Lawrence River, a region that hosts up to 40,000 waterfowl at any one time during peak migration.

Investing in vital habitats

The conservation project was supported by several sources including the Government of Canada through the Natural Heritage Conservation Program (NHCP), part of Canada’s Nature Fund, a generous bequest from the late Louise Gendron, international contributors including Ducks Unlimited Inc., the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and state agencies through the Fall Flights Initiative, and donors Lloyd and Donna Thurston.

“Donna and I are strong believers in supporting organizations that purchase and maintain lands for the preservation of our wetlands and other wild places. We have chosen to invest in organizations like Ducks Unlimited Canada that take a lead role in protecting vital habitats for our aquatic and terrestrial wildlife,” said donor Lloyd Thurston. “As a retired biologist, I chose the Howe Island property because of its large size and the potential for creating additional habitat beyond the existing wetland, including spring nesting habitat for ducks and breeding areas for other aquatic wildlife that benefit from flooded lands during the spring season.”

“We owe a large debt of thanks to Lloyd and Donna Thurston,” said William Jones, DUC’s development manager in Ontario. “The Howe Island purchase was a unique opportunity that required significant resources and Mr. Thurston recognized its value immediately. He saw the value of the habitat today and the potential for the property to be even more productive in decades to come.”

Supporting Canada’s conservation goals

The purchase of the Howe Island property supports the Government of Canada’s target of conserving 25 per cent of Canada’s lands by 2025 and its objectives for the recovery of wild species listed under the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA). The Howe Island acquisition is one of 22 conservation properties held by Ducks Unlimited Canada within the Great Lakes watershed, accounting for almost 7,000 acres (2,833 hectares) of protected habitat.



Ducks Unlimited Canada delivers wetland conservation that benefits every Canadian. We keep the water in your lakes and rivers clean. We protect your community from the effects of flood and drought. We save wildlife and special natural places. We use science to find solutions to the most important environmental issues of the day and we collaborate with people who are helping create a healthier world. The wetlands we save aren’t just for ducks; they’re for all of us.


The Government of Canada’s Natural Heritage Conservation Program (NHCP) is a unique public-private partnership to support new protected and conserved areas by securing private lands and private interests in lands. The program is managed by the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC). Federal funds invested in the program are matched with contributions raised by NCC and its partners, Ducks Unlimited Canada, and the country’s land trust community.

Contact Information

Julie Pollock

Communications & Outreach
Tel: 705-482-7668

Erling Armson

Land Securement
Tel: 613-900-7309