Ducks help with marsh rehabilitation
In partnership with Raisin Region Conservation Authority (RRCA), Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) celebrated the completion of a significant restoration project at Cooper Marsh on Saturday.
The project involved a section near the marsh’s western end, which features a ringed dyke system that had fallen into disrepair due to damages caused by muskrats and beavers. Phragmites, a towering invasive plant, had also infiltrated the wetland and began choking out native plants which are essential for supporting wildlife.
DUC Conservations Specialist Chris Delage and RRCA Watershed Biologist Brendan Jacobs said that the restoration work included spraying of phragmites; reshaping the dyke system and re-coring the dyke with clay material to inhibit water infiltration and further reduce damage from burrowing animals; as well as an upgrade to the pump system that controls water levels within the marsh.
“The original project was done in the late ‘80s and hadn’t had any significant work done on it since that time” said Mr. Delage. “This project was significant in that it helped maintain the existing features before water levels became unmanageable while restoring the marsh for future generations.”
“The Raisin Region Conservation Authority has been a diligent caretaker of Charlottenburgh Marsh for almost 30 years,” says Richard Pilon, general manager for Raisin Region Conservation Authority. “We’re pleased the restoration will ensure that visitors continue to enjoy a healthy coastal wetland ecosystem with abundant wildlife into the future.” This work would not have been possible without the support of Ducks Unlimited Canada and partner organizations such as the Crabtree Foundation, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, Environment and Climate Change Canada, and Axalta Coating Systems Ltd. The project also benefited from grants through the North American Wetlands Conservation Act for habitat projects in Canada that restore vital waterfowl habitats.
A number of Axalta employees from the Cornwall branch, as well as some of their children, were present for the ceremony. “Many of our employees have visited Cooper Marsh and their children have benefited from the educational programming,” said Regina Tracy, Head of North America Communications and Global Corporate Social Responsibility for Axalta.
Cooper Marsh, nestled within the much larger Charlottenburgh Marsh, is a popular destination for local school groups, outdoor enthusiasts and naturalists. It offers a picnic area, Visitors Centre with educational facilities, and an extensive trail system featuring trails, wetland boardwalks and birdwatching stations.
Wetlands play an important role in helping to protect local water sources, storing stormwater runoff and reducing damage to public and private property by reducing downstream erosion while enhancing the stability of habitat for aquatic life. Natural areas – such as Charlottenburgh Marsh – also play a key role in the health and well-being of our communities as well as to the economy.
“The project helped to protect our shorelines and contain flooding,” explained Stormont-DundasSouth Glengarry MPP Jim McDonell. “It's also important to protect the habitat and the wildlife that lives there as it allows our local residents and tourists to get close to nature.”
South Glengarry Mayor and RRCA Chair of the Board Frank Prevost agreed.
“The Township of South Glengarry is very fortunate to have Cooper Marsh Conservation Area within its jurisdiction for our local population to enjoy. This wetland gem is also a great tourist attraction and we welcome all visitors to our municipality.”
COMPLETE: Ducks Unlimited Canada celebrated the completion of the Charlottenburgh Marsh Restoration Project on Saturday at Cooper Marsh. From left: Richard Pilon, General Manager, RRCA; Lynette Mader, Manager of Provincial Operations, DUC, MPP Jim McDonell; Cynthia Edwards, Senior Development Manager, DUC; Ian McIntosh, President, Cooper Marsh Conservators; Sarah Barnett, Sustainability Manager, Axalta; Regina Tracy, Head of North America Communications and Global CSR, Axalta.
LARGE CLASSROOM: “Outdoor education is a major focus for the Cooper Marsh Conservation Area,” says Robin Poole, shown with his wife, Mary..“It’s a pleasure to share the wonders of wetlands and wildlife in the marshes with a new generation, including exceptional sights like nesting Sandhill cranes and the black terns which returned in the summer as a result of changes in the marsh this year.”