Hutton Creek Wetland & Motts Mills Dam Restoration and Management Project, 2014-15
Goals and Objectives
The purpose of this project is to control water levels in the wetland by replacing the existing dam to restore, enhance and protect habitat.
The marsh community within the wetland has gradually filled in and aggressive cattail growth has greatly decreased the open water areas. The loss of open water habitat has had a major impact on breeding ducks and other waterfowl. In the 1990’s, attempts by DUC to proceed with vegetation management with a mechanical harvester met with some success but this cannot be implemented again due to prohibitive costs and lack of access to a mechanical harvester.
The restored dam will allow water levels to be manipulated and operated to maintain biodiversity and keep the vegetation from reverting back to a cattail monoculture and decreased open water habitat.
The goals of this project are:
1) Secure an existing important waterfowl habitat that has aging infrastructure and is at risk of being lost.
2) Enhance and protect the wetland habitat to benefit a broad array of biodiversity.
3) Educate and build public awareness of the importance of wetlands and diverse habitats.
4) Increase productivity of wetland to produce waterfowl for hunting opportunities’
5) Improve productive capacity for recreational and bait fishery of Hutton Creek Catchment contributing to Rideau River fishery.
6) Promote the benefits that the restored dam and wetland have for waterfowl and other wildlife.
Specific Habitat Products/Results Supported by WHC’s Contributions
Reconstruction of the dam (in conjunction with the de-watering and re-watering the wetland/headpond) that will allow:
- Emergent vegetation to diversify and cattails monoculture to be reduced
- An increase in abundance and diversity of submergent vegetation
- Increased areas of open water within the marsh, resulting in a quality waterfowl breeding habitat
- Increase in general biodiversity including many species at risk
- Improved access into the wetland
Benefits to Waterfowl, Wetland-Associated Species, and/or Other Wildlife
The Hutton Creek PSW provides 772 hectares of important breeding, staging and migration habitat for waterfowl and other birds and wildlife.
Relevance to Habitat Planning, Decision Making and/or Management
The restored dam is the single most important management need for this wetland – without the ability to operate and fluctuate water levels the wetland will convert to and remain a cattail monoculture with decreasing open water habitat and low habitat and wildlife diversity.
Waterfowl hunters will benefit from the improved productive habitat and increased access to areas to hunt. Local residents will benefit from improved recreational opportunities. All landowners owning portions of the wetland are in agreement with the need for the project. Benefitting groups include Environment Canada, Ministry of Natural Resources, Rideau Valley Conservation Authority, Duck Unlimited Canada, Wildlife Habitat Canada, other environmental groups – the benefits are enhanced biodiversity, enhanced wildlife habitat, greater production of waterfowl, habitat for species at risk, improved habitat for a healthier more resilient sub-watershed, enhanced water quality and water treatment .
The Motts Mills dam is a water control structure located on Hutton Creek in Township of Elizabethtown-Kitley. It was built in 1952 at the site of older mill dams that were originally constructed the early 1800’s. The wetland environment that has evolved with the historically controlled water level is now jeopardized by the state of the dam. Large areas of open water in the wetland were present in the wetland after the 1952 dam construction.
The Mott Mills project includes more than 770 hectares of wetland habitat, provides important migratory, staging and breeding habitat for these Ontario waterfowl species and other migratory birds.
For more information on this project, please contact Michael Yee, Manager, Biology and Water Quality, Rideau Valley Conservation Authority, Manotick, ON.