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Restoration of Big Island Marsh continues


A three-phase project to restore fish habitat in the Big Island Marsh continues.

“After 30 years of waiting, the marsh is getting some help,” said Brad McNevin, fisheries biologist. “Right now natural channels that were in the marsh have been taken over by cattails. Fish can’t even get through. Open water channels and ponds will be dug throughout the marsh, creating habitat for fish and other wildlife.”

McNevin said a similar project was conducted in the Sawguin Marsh. 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. Larger areas of open water were created by channeling through the cattail stands covering much of the marsh area.

“It has been successful. The channels are maintaining themselves and supporting numerous fish and wildlife species, including species at risk. The Big Island Marsh project is based on the Sawguin Marsh model.”

Bay of Quinte Remedial Action Plan, Quinte Conservation and Prince Edward County Stewardship Council began a partnership last February to improve wetland habitat at the Big Island marsh, a coastal wetland bound on the north by Big Island and the south by Sophiasburgh.

The 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.

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

Historically this marsh had a long, sinuous channel carving through the middle, connecting to smaller channels and many pockets of open water. The introduction of water level regulations and the construction of a causeway that connects the mainland of Prince Edward County to Big Island resulted in the over-growth of cattails in the area.

March 4, 2013 at 7pm, Quinte Conservation – Community Wildlife Monitoring Program. Learn how to monitor a marsh with Terry Sprague and help keep the Bay of Quinte a healthy and vibrant ecosystem.

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  1. A continuance of the project to ultimately re-open the historic channel is in the plan as funding becomes available. This project is privately funded and does not involve taxpayer money. The channels are not apt to fill in as they did before when a “cookie cutter” was used to create some channels several years ago. The Big Island project is fashioned after the highly successful Sawguin Creek project, in the marsh below Mountain View, where an extensive network of sinuous channels was dredged in 1992. There is no flow or current whatsoever at the Sawguin site; yet, the channels are maintaining themselves and supporting numerous fish and wildlife species, including species at risk. Check out the Google Earth image of the Mountain View site and you can see that the channels are as open now as the day we had them dredged 20 years ago.

  2. dave says:

    The plan doesn’t make a lot of sense because there is no flow of water through the trenches and so it will just fill in again.

    They should dredge all the way through to the west side so that the water can flow through and put in a small bridge

  3. By the way, the canoe that Quinte Conservation was using to monitor the water in the pond turned up missing (stolen) a week or two ago. It is an aluminum canoe with a flat stern to mount a motor. If anyone should suddenly notice the presence of this canoe on or near your property, please get in touch with me. We forgot that everything today needs to be chained and locked.

  4. Since the project is right in front of our house, I can provide a few details and photos for anyone who may be interested. You can contact me through my website contact page.

  5. Gil says:

    Great stuff.So glad to see the Marsh is finally being looked after.

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