be ecologically sustainable. The recommended forest cover is 30 per cent.
“There is no forest interior present meaning the existing woodlots are too small and/or narrow to support sensitive species that need to live in large protective forests,” reads the report.
Yet, the conservation authority says “some encouraging results” can be found in the report card.
“Despite the steady losses in forest and wetland cover, the landowner restoration actions that have been undertaken over the last two decades have seen an improvement in water quality in our rivers and streams,” the RRCA says.
“It has been with the expertise and assistance of the Raisin Region Conservation Authority, that we have been able to effect some real improvements in my stretch of the Filion Drain,” states Lawrence St. Denis, a landowner within the Sutherland Creek watershed. “As well as solving my erosion issues, the enhanced riparian zone is benefiting water quality in the stream and fish and wildlife in the area.”
The agency adds: “Although many features are still impaired and significantly so in a number of watersheds, it has been the past actions of landowners in implementing best management practices with their agricultural activities that are currently reflecting improvements in the water quality of many of the tributaries.”
The document also contains suggestions on how to counter the effects of deforestation.
Protection of all woodlands and locally significant wetlands at the municipal planning level is a very important and effective method diversity can be increased by planting native trees and shrubs around existing wetlands or allowing the edges to naturalize on their own. This will provide essential habitat for many wetland species.
Connections can be made between wetlands and other habitat types, such as forests, by planting hedgerows or windbreaks along fields, waterways and roads to support the movement of native species.
Owners can fence out livestock and to create or improve the size of individual wetlands, owners should contact the conservation authority for assistance in designing a wetland project.
Wetlands are an important source of habitat for fish and wildlife species. They serve as flood control areas by holding water and reducing flow. Wetlands act as holding areas for the local water table and play a very important role in water quality improvement.
The C rating for water quality is based on readings for pollutants, including phosphorous and bacteria, which produced an average score of F for the Raisin Region watershed.
Phosphorus is found in such products as soaps, detergents, fertilizers and pesticides and contributes to excessive algae and low oxygen in streams and lakes.
E. Coli bacteria is found in human and animal waste and indicates fecal contamination. The bacteria is also a strong indicator for the potential to have other disease-causing organisms in the water.
The RRCA recommendations include plant-
ing grass or tree buffers along creeks, rivers and open drains to filter runoff and provide shade. Other suggestions are: -- Implement protection of identified groundwater infiltration zones and conduct groundwater research and monitoring.
-- Target soil erosion measures to areas of high erodibility.
-- Encourage landowners to repair or replace faulty septic systems.
-- Encourage agricultural best management practices in the areas of manure storage and spreading, soil conservation practices, fertilizer and pesticide application, milkhouse wash water disposal and cattle access restriction.
-- Promote the completion of environmental farm plans and nutrient management plans.
About the river
The total area of the Raisin River watershed is 57,982 hectares and encompasses North and South Glengarry, North and South Stormont and Cornwall.
The major land use is agriculture.
The warm water fishery consists of 43 species. One cool water site has been identified with mottled sculpins as an observed species. River redhorse and bridle shiner are classified as “special concern.”
Of the 1,577 stands, the largest is 1,441 hectares in size. The average size is 16.1 hectares.
Fish -- river redhorse, cutlips minnow, bridle shiners Birds -- yellow palm warbler Plants -- ram’s-head lady slipper, prickly bog sedge, rhodora, bog fern
Invertebrates -- bog elfin
Significant Natural Sites
Provincially Significant Wetlands -- Shuylers (Schulers) Swamp, Summerstown Swamp, Raisin River North Branch, Newington Bog, Charlottenburgh Marsh, Black River Swamp, Beaudette River Swamp
Locally Significant Wetlands — Archies Swamp, Bloomington Swamp, Bunker Hill Swamp, Concession 7 Swamp, Concession 8E Swamp, Dominionville Swamp, East Bonville Swamp, East and West Guindon Swamp, East Werely Swamp, Four Corners Swamp, Glenbrook Swamp, Gravel Hill Swamp, Lake View Marsh, Lefebvre Br. Swamp, Lunenburg Swamp, Monkland and W. Monkland Swamp, Palen Creek Swamp, Post Road Swamp, Power Dam Swamp, Raisin River S. Branch, Stoney Creek, Strathmore Swamp
Areas of Natural and Scientific Interest — Newington Bog.
The Raisin River watershed has many “significantly impaired features.”