Leeds Community Pasture Riparian Restoration 2012-13

Final Project Report: Leeds Community Pasture Riparian Restoration, 2012-2013

Goals and Objectives

The Leeds County Community Pasture Association (LCPA) owns and manages a 1500 acre property, one of 11 Community pastures in Ontario.  The land is used by up to 25 local farmers. This pasture includes grasslands, woodlands and wetlands. It borders a highly productive shallow water lake and provincially significant marsh, swamp and bog complex known as Upper Beverley Lake (UBL).  There is a Ducks Unlimited wetland project on the property.

Sections of the riparian habitat in the Community Pasture are accessible by cattle and have been degraded, resulting in increased nutrient and soil inputs to the downstream wetlands and UBL and loss of wildlife habitat and connectivity.

In 2010 with the support of WHC, Environment Canada and The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, the Community Pasture Board and LGSC completed a four-year year environmental stewardship plan to implement stream and wetland restoration projects. The first two years of the Plan has been completed as planned.  This project covers year three of the Plan and includes the installation of 1900 meters of cattle-exclusion fencing along the creek and adjacent lowland hardwoods/cedar, installation of a second solar system, and planting of 1600 trees/shrubs.

The goals of this project are:

1) To improve water quality and riparian wildlife habitat on the Community Pasture and its watershed,

2) To educate and engage students in stream and wetland conservation, and

3) To create a demonstration area for the local farmers to encourage the adoption of riparian best management practices on their home farms.
 

Activities

Summer / Fall 2012:  To restrict cattle from Soperton Creeks and adjoining wetlands, 1900 meters of cattle-exclusion fencing will be constructed,  a solar watering system will be installed, and planting of 1600 trees and shrubs with students in the riparian area.

Spring 2012: To involve local classes in stewardship and education activities, twenty classroom presentations or field trips to the work site will be conducted, as well as tree planting activities

Spring 2012-2013: Educate farmers who use the LCP about the Environmental Farm Plan program through ongoing work with the Board of the LCPA and the Ontario Soil and Crop Association to encourage adoption of best management practices on local farms.

Specific Habitat Products/Results Supported by WHC’s Contributions

This project will work to conserve 1,378 acres and restore 100 acres of wetland habitat used for waterfowl migration, breeding and staging areas.

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

The project will improve the habitat for the local populations of mallards, wood ducks, blue-winged teals and canada geese. A diverse range of birds and fish species benefit from improved water quality in the water and wetlands, which will support habitat for migratory birds, such as woodcocks.  Also expected to benefit from this project are a variety of other wetland-associated birds, including; bald eagle, least bittern, black tern, and osprey.

Relevance to Habitat Planning, Decision Making and/or Management

Strong support for these projects has been received from the local Ontario Soil and Crop Association and participating farmers. These projects serve as springboards to encourage participation in the Environmental Farm Plan process, which leads to other environmental improvements.  Past project participants become advocates for these projects and help facilitate the development of new projects with their friends and neighbours.  

Project Location

Part lots 17, 18, Concession XIII, Rideau Lakes Township, Rear of Leeds and Lansdowne Ward (see map). The property is adjacent to the Frontenac Arch Biosphere.

Project Contact

For more information on this project, please contact Martin Streit, Stewardship Coordinator, Leeds-Grenville County Stewardship Council, Brockville, ON.