Conestogo Hunting Area #3 Wetland Restoration 2012-2013

Final Project Report: Conestogo Hunting Area #3 Wetland Restoration, 2012-2013

Goals and Objectives

The purpose of this project is to restore and enhance three man-made wetland areas that make up key habitat within the
202ha/500Ac Conestogo Hunting Area. These man-made wetlands were created in the early 1980’s and due to their limited
management capabilities and age are in need of restoration or risk structural failure and losing the 7.45ha/18.41Ac of wetland
habitat and waterfowl hunting opportunities they provide. The enhancements to the wetlands will allow for manipulations of the
water levels to stimulate or suppress aquatic plants and improve the diversity of habitats making the wetland habitats more
attractive and supportive for waterfowl, shorebirds, and other wetland wildlife.

The goals of this project are:

1) Provide wetland securement, restoration and awareness.

2) Develop partnership engagement.
 

Activities

July-November 2012: Ensure long term presence and health of wetlands by rebuilding dams.

July-November 2012: Improve vegetation and habitat conditions by installing water control structures.

July 2012-On going: Improve public knowledge and awareness of wetlands with communication and education.

July 2012-On going: Improve skillset and knowledge of partners for wetland restoration by engaging partner staff in wetland
restoration.
 

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

The restored wetland habitats would provide valuable breeding, feeding, and resting areas for waterfowl, wetland-associated and
migratory game bird species. The restored dams and new water control structures would secure the needed wetland habitat that is
no longer provided by the existing dams. The ability to manipulate water levels will allow for the expansion and rejuvenation of suitable
vegetation and feeding conditions for these and other wetland dependent species.
 

Relevance to Habitat Planning, Decision Making and/or Management

Due to the deteriorating condition of the earthen dykes that create the wetland areas, the GRCA is faced with a difficult management
decision. The man-made wetlands could be decommissioned by breaching the dykes so they no longer collect water. This would eliminate
the 7.45ha/18.41Ac of wetland habitat from the site. This is a less expensive option and eliminates future management issues but conflicts
with the long term goals to provide valuable and diverse habitat as well as enhanced recreational opportunities. The preferred option would be
to partner with Ducks Unlimited Canada and Wildlife Habitat Canada to secure and restore the wetlands so that they can continue to provide
valuable wetland habitat and enhanced recreational opportunities open to the public. The GRCA is also exploring long term management
opportunities with the Canadian Wildlife Service (Mike Cadman, Songbird Biologist) to manage the upland grassland areas that surround the
wetlands. Mapleton Township is dominated by mixed agricultural practices and has less than 5% wetland cover. Hunting Area #3 has been
designated as Core Greenland in the Wellington County Official Plan.
 

Project Location

The location of this project is in Mapleton Township, Wellington County, Ontario. The surrounding landscape is flat to gently rolling agricultural
landscape. The Conestogo Lake Conservation Area is approximately 5km south of the village of Drayton. This 2186ha/5400Ac conservation
area is surrounded by intensive agricultural crop production. The sub-watershed has less than 5% wetland cover.
 

Project Contact

For more information on this project, please contact Robert Messier, Ecologist, Grand River Conservation Authority, Cambridge, ON.