King George IV Ecological Reserve protects the largest undisturbed river-delta system on the Island of Newfoundland. Its 18.4-km2 includes the area where the upper section of the Lloyds River and an unnamed stream enter the southwest corner of King George IV Lake. This reserve contains several freshwater marshes, which are a rare occurrence on the Island.
The Lloyds / Exploits is the largest river system on the Island. The nutrients in the alluvial soils of the reserve's delta areas support a particularly rich floral and faunal community.
The spectrum of plant life in King George IV Ecological Reserve includes sphagnum moss carpets over water, grasses, sedges, rushes, cattails, water lilies, and shrubs. As well, there are barrens, forests, and several peatland types, such as basin bogs and shore fens. Because of this variety of plant life and landscape, a wide range of wildlife finds useful habitat in the reserve area.
The reserve area is particularly important as an oasis for waterfowl. Canada geese, black ducks, green-winged teal, American goldeneyes, and ring-necked ducks all build nests among the drier parts of the marsh in the spring. After the chicks are able to fly, they brood with the parents among the more open, wetter areas of the delta.
The reserve also contains valuable habitat for the La Poile caribou herd. In 2004, the herd had about 3,000 animals, some of which enter the river valley in winter, find shelter in the forest, and feed on tree lichens.
Located about 90 km north of Burgeo, the reserve is in the Central Newfoundland Forest-Portage Pond subregion (902 KB). This ecoregion is generally characterized by forests, but they are often absent from the Portage Pond subregion, which is dominated by barrenland because of its higher elevation. The forested areas in the King George IV reserve include balsam fir and black spruce, along with their associated plant families.
The reserve was established as a provisional ecological reserve in 1984, and given full designation in 1997 as the result of collaborative efforts by stakeholders and interested parties. The land for the reserve was donated by Abitibi-Price Inc., who gave up timber rights in the process. Noranda Mines relinquished mineral rights, thanks to the involvement of the Nature Conservancy of Canada.
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