Ducks help with marsh re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion

The Glengarry News - - News - BY TARA MAC­DON­ALD News Staff

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.

Pop­u­lar des­ti­na­tion

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.”

TARA MAC­DON­ALD PHOTO

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.

TARA MAC­DON­ALD PHOTO

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.”

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