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BQRAP restoring Big Island east marsh

Bay of Quinte Remedial Action Plan, Quinte Conservation and Prince Edward County Stewardship Council are partnering to improve wetland habitat at the Big Island – East Marsh by creating more open water habitat through channelization.

A dense cattail marsh has developed at Big Island –East as the result of regulations that control water levels in Lake Ontario, says Brad McNevin, of Quinte Conservation. He explains that where naturally fluctuating water levels are controlled, wetland habitat quality is compromised. The lack of periodic flooding and lowered water levels results in the establishment of extensive stands of cattails, at the expense of other plant community types, mostly the meadow marsh community.

“Water regulation has resulted in the Bay’s fringe wetlands being converted, at an accelerated rate, to vast acreages of dense cattail marshes. This type of single species environment does not provide diverse and productive wetland habitat” said McNevin.

“This project helps the RAP address several of the environmental challenges it has been working to restore: Loss of fish and wildlife habitat and degradation of fish and wildlife populations” says Anne Anderson, Bay of Quinte Remedial Action Plan.

In 1992, as a restoration effort, a project in Sawguin Creek Marsh was implemented that aimed to improve the quality of wetland  habitat, and address the loss of fish and wildlife habitat, by providing increased open water. At Sawguin Creek Marsh, larger areas of open water were created by channeling through the large cattail stands covering much of the marsh area.

“Over the past several years, the monitoring in Sawguin Creek Marsh has shown extremely positive results,” says Anderson. “The channels are maintaining themselves and supporting numerous fish and wildlife species, including species at risk. We are proposing the same approach with Big Island – East to improve the wetland habitat. The project will be implemented in phases, starting this February we will begin creating channels in the marsh.”

The Bay of Quinte Remedial Action Plan is delivered locally by Lower Trent Conservation and Quinte Conservation

Filed Under: Local News

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