Community Stream Steward Program: Conserving Wetland Landscapes Initiative 2012-2013

Final Project Report: Community Stream Steward Program: Conserving Wetland Landscapes Initiative 2012-2013

Goals and Objectives

The Community Stream Steward Program (CSSP) Conserving Wetland Landscapes Initiative aims to combine outreach
and education with project identification, planning, and implementation in order to establish and support stewardship-based
initiatives for wetland habitat protection and creation. Providing site-specific educational resources and technical advice to
landowners while conducting site visits will allow them to choose best management practices for wetlands on their properties.
Projects identified and supported by this initiative will be on-the-ground examples of wetland conservation, restoration, and
enhancement strategies. Workshops will empower landowners and community groups with the resources necessary to create
long-term, sustainable conservation of local wetlands. A Waterfowl Soiree will bring together professionals, conservationists,
and landowners to discuss ideas and share successes related to waterfowl conservation.

By focusing on agricultural conservation and restoration projects in 2012, this initiative will have a landscape approach to wetland
conservation by encouraging multi-use landscapes which include maintaining existing agricultural productivity while enhancing and
restoring wetland and upland habitats. This will involve the creation and naturalization of pair ponds with suitable nearby nesting
habitat for waterfowl, enhancing existing wetlands through livestock exclusion and increased buffers, and connecting wetland
habitats with upland areas through corridor creation.

The key goal of this project is:

1) Enhance wetland, riparian, and upland habitats, which will provide maximum benefit to the waterfowl populations that they support.
We will accomplish this through public, landowner, and volunteer engagement in outreach, education, workshops and habitat projects.

Activities

April-November 2012: Provide materials and guidance on Best Management Practices to landowners by conducting 30 site visits.

April-November 2012: Recruit and train volunteers to undertake stewardship initiatives for waterfowl habitat protection through 2
workshops.

November 2012: Host Waterfowl Soiree to present the value of waterfowl and local efforts of habitat conservation.

April 2012-March 2013: Distribute fact sheets and brochures on wetland benefits and conservation through 5 partner events/ workshops.

April 2012-March 2013: Provide hands-on learning of wetland conservation activities by recruiting and engaging 80 volunteers in stewardship
projects and/or workshops.

June 2012-January 2013: Increase available wetland habitats by implementing 4 pair pond habitats: constructing new and/or enhancing
existing ponds.

June 2012-January 2013: Increase diversity and connectivity of existing wetlands by enhancing 6 wetland habitats, including 4 corridors
linking wetland with upland habitat.

July-November 2013:  Monitor enhancement and restoration projects to determine species presence and use.

Benefits to Waterfowl, Wetlands-Associated Species, and/or Other Wildlife

By employing a landscape approach to wetland and upland habitat conservation and emphasizing the importance of connectivity, this
initiative aims to enhance and restore wetland habitats for the benefit of all waterfowl and migratory game birds. Habitat connectivity is cited
as a key management technique to minimize the impacts from human development and landscape fragmentation on all wildlife.

Relevance to Habitat Planning, Decision Making and/or Management

The most significant impact of this project will be the direct preservation and enhancement of wetland ecosystems on private landowner properties.
The outreach and education components of the Conserving Wetland Landscapes Initiative will inform a variety of landowners about the importance
of ponds, wetlands, grasslands, woodlots, and riparian areas to waterfowl and other wildlife. Materials and advice provided through site visits and
workshops will allow landowners to learn about best management practices to maintain and maximize areas on their property that could be used
by waterfowl during key life stages. This initiative will promote participation in long-term conservation and stewardship of wetland environments by
a variety of stakeholders.

Project Location

The Conserving Wetland Landscapes Initiative will take place across the whole CSSP outreach area, which includes seven counties and regions:
Peterborough County, Durham Region, Northumberland County, City of Kawartha Lakes, York Region, Simcoe County and Hastings County.
Projects will be selected from within these regions and will be prioritized based on their value to waterfowl habitat and their geographic location.

The CSSP carries out activities on a variety of landscape types, focusing on locations with surface water resources including wetlands, ponds, and
the riparian areas of streams. These areas include rural, urban, agricultural, open field/prairie, and forested areas in order to educate and promote
wetland conservation efforts across a diverse range of environments.

Project Contact

For more information on this project, please contact Lauren Sharkey, Program Coordinator, Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters – Community
Stream Steward Program. Peterborough, Ontario.