Peers Wetland Securement, Restoration and Management Project
Goals and Objectives
The objective of the Peers Wetland Securement, Restoration and Management Project is to conserve/restore 12.9 hectares (31.8 acres) of wildlife habitat, including 7.7 hectares (18.9 acres) of wetland and 5.2 hectares (12.9 acres) of upland habitat. The project will improve conditions for dabbling ducks and geese, primarily Mallards, Wood Ducks and Canada Geese. Other species expected to benefit include: Gadwalls, American Wigeons, Green-winged Teals, Blue-winged Teals, Northern Shovelers, Canvasbacks, Redheads, American Black Ducks, Pied-billed Grebe, Bufflehead, Common Merganser, Greater Scuap, and Lesser Scaup.
Wildlife ponds engineered to accommodate the biological requirements of waterfowl (e.g., 5-30 cm depth, emergent native vegetation, 1:1 open areas to vegetation, lots of edge etc.) About 7.7 hectares (18.9 acres) of waterfowl wetland habitat will be secured and enhanced. An additional 5.2 hectares (12.9 acres) of upland habitat will be secured and restored.
Many ducks nest in the upland habitats that surround wetlands, so recruitment of waterfowl is closely tied to both terrestrial and wetland communities. In the land adjacent to wetlands, the retirement of 2.3 hectares (5.7 acres) of agriculture will provide ideal upland native grasses and forbes will provide nesting habitat adjacent to constructed wetlands. The existing 1.0 hectare (2.4 acre) managed forest will provide additional habitat variety.
The goals for this project are:
1) Conserve wildlife habitat
2) Restore waterfowl habitat
3) Restore wildlife habitat
April 2012: Secure 12.9 ha (31.8 ac) of waterfowl habitat by purchasing private property.
September 2012: Upgrade of water control structure and installation of pump.
April 2012: Restore upland habitat with 5.7 acres native grasses and forbes.
Benefits to Waterfowl, Wetlands-Associated Species, and/or Other Wildlife
Using a calculation of 2 ducks per acre per year on restored and created wetlands, the estimated increase in duck production is in the order of 400 ducks assuming a ten year life. According to a Ducks Unlimited Canada calculation at 7 waterfowl pairs x 37% hen success x 10 eggs/clutch = 25.9 ducklings hatched x 45% duckling survival rate = 11.7 ducks produced annually . Mallards, Canada Geese and Wood Ducks are expected to benefit the most from these projects. The Peers Wetland habitat will be used for staging, nesting and brood.
Relevance to Habitat Planning, Decision Making and/or Management
The Peers Wetland Securement, Restoration and Management Project will protect wetlands and preserve diversity in an area that has been largely drained for agriculture and development. Protection of this remaining wetland is extremely important for maintaining base flow to watercourses, water filtering functions, and natural heritage biodiversity. Wetlands also act as carbon sinks, filter the air and provide valuable social and educational resources. Environment Canada has provided guidelines indicating that greater than 6% of each major subwatershed should be in wetland habitat; or the original percentage of wetlands should be restored. Widespread drainage works over the past 150 years have reduced the wetland cover to less than 1% in the entire St. Clair Region watershed. Lambton County went from 12,918 ha (4.5%) of wetland area in 1982 to 5,092 ha (1.8%) in
2002. The diversity has also been affected, as the majority of the wetlands are deciduous swamps existing in the remnant woodlands at the back of farms.
St. Clair River is currently identified as an Area of Concern (AOC). Loss of fish and wildlife habitat is one of the beneficial use impairments of this area. Conserving and restoring Peers Wetland helps meet the habitat goals of the AOC.
This project is located on Kent County, Chatham-Kent. The landscape is mainly wetlands and the upland habitat is both forest and farmland. The wetland is hydrologically connected by surface water to Otter Creek. This 12.9 ha (31.8 ac) property is located in an area of conservation interest given its proximity to Lake St. Clair.
For more information on this project, please contact Erin Carroll, Aquatic Systems Technician, St. Clair Region Conservation Authority. Strathroy, Ontario.