Leeds Community Pasture – East Pasture Wetland Restoration, 2014-15
Goals and Objectives
The purpose of this project is to improve water quality and riparian habitat by construction of continuous cattle exclusion fencing around 4 wetlands. This will exclude 500 (250 mother-calf pairs) from the wetlands and springs (these feed a branch of Soperton Creek) and several cedar swamps.
Leeds Grenville Stewardship Council (LGSC) is a group of 12+ volunteers who carry out environmental projects in the United Counties. One of our four priorities is the maintenance of healthy aquatic ecosystems. The Council carries out projects across the united counties area to improve water quality and riparian habitat. A high priority for LGSC is the health of the Gananoque River Watershed, which drains a very large portion of Leeds County. LGSC and partners have invested considerable money and time restoring streams upstream of Charleston Lake (on the east side of the watershed). This project continues the work accomplished on the West Pasture of the Leeds Community Pasture, which provided fencing to exclude cattle along the reaches of Soperton Creek that run through that portion of the pasture.
The goals of this project are:
1) To exclude some 500 cattle from the natural springs and wetlands in the East Pasture
2) To provide alternate drinking sources for cattle
3) To create another demonstration area for local farmers to encourage the adoption of best management practices around wetlands on their home farms.
4) To engage farm owners, high school students and conservation groups in hands on stewardship activities.
Specific Habitat Products/Results Supported by WHC’s Contributions
Installation of one solar watering system in 2014-2015 and purchase of cedar rail fencing.
Benefits to Waterfowl, Wetland-Associated Species, and/or Other Wildlife
This East Pasture includes grasslands, woodlands and wetlands. Trumpeter Swans, wood ducks, teal, ring necks and mallards frequent the largest wetlands on the pasture and Upper Beverly Lake. Known species- at-risk in and around the Beverly Lakes include musk, northern map and snapping turtles, least bittern, black tern, bald eagles (active nest on Upper Beverly), grey rat snake and grass pickerel all of which will benefit from water quality improvements.
Relevance to Habitat Planning, Decision Making and/or Management
- Direct – 156 acres of wetlands conserved from inundation by cattle
- Direct – decrease in phosphorus and nitrogen into the headwaters of the Gananoque River watershed
- Indirect – local farmers learn best management practices for wetland protection on their home farms
This project takes place in Leeds-Grenville. The wetlands on the East Pasture are quite extensive covering some 111 hectares (276 acres) fed by natural springs. This water eventually flows into an arm of Soperton Creek which ultimately runs into Upper Beverly Lake (designated as a provincially significant wetland) at the top of the Gananoque watershed and then southwards through the Frontenac Arch Biosphere (an area designated by UNESCO in 2002 as a World Biosphere Reserve because of its internationally renowned natural heritage) and ultimately into the St Lawrence River.
For more information on this project, please contact Karen Brown, Councillor and Chair Executive Committee, Leeds Grenville Stewardship Council, Brockville, Ontario.