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Mississippi River at Pakenham

Appleton Wetland

Addendum to Appleton Wetland Report strengthens recommendation to restore historic (lower) water levels

A report entitled The Appleton Wetland; Its Decline, Cause and Recommended Action released by the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists’ (MVFN) Appleton Wetland Research Group in 2014 clearly identified the manipulation of water levels for hydro operations in Almonte (and across Reach 18 of the Mississippi River) as the cause of the dying maple trees in the Appleton Wetland. That report strongly recommended amendment of the Mississippi River Water Management Plan to restore levels to historic (lower) values to permit recovery of healthy tree growth in the wetland.

The research group has recently completed an analysis of data on power production potential across Reach 18 and impact of manipulation of water levels in Almonte. The report on the power analysis is in the form of a supplement to the original report and includes Addendum Number 1: Reach 18 Power Production, and Appendix R: Reach 18 Power Production. The new sections have been added to the original report on the MVFN website, and is found here  (http://mvfn.ca/appleton-wetland-its-decline-cause-and-recommended-actions/).

The conclusion from the information presented in the addendum is that since there is no increase in power production that could possibly justify the higher water levels, the case for amending the Mississippi River Water Management Plan water levels to historic (lower) values to protect the wetland is even stronger.

The River and the Appleton Wetland Report kicks off new MVFN series

Poster for our September talk

The Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists (MVFN) natural history lecture series resumes for a new season Thursday, September 18 in Almonte. The theme for this year’s series is a twist on the conundrum “When A Tree Falls in the Forest, Does Anyone Hear?”  If no one is there to hear the sound of a tree as it crashes through the undergrowth to the forest floor, was it ever there?” Nature teaches us that when we ignore the ‘crashing trees’, we do so at our own peril. Like a stone dropped into a pond, the impacts of changes to our natural environment grow in an ever-widening circle, reaching into every aspect of our lives. This year’s speakers will challenge us to inform ourselves and engage or perhaps reengage with important issues affecting our natural world.

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The Appleton Silver Maple Swamp. photo by Al Seaman

The series begins with an issue close to home with a talk based on the Appleton Wetlands and the findings outlined in an MVFN report The Appleton Wetland: Its Decline, Cause and Recommended Action released last month. The Appleton silver maple swamp, which has been flooded each spring for generations, is designated as a provincially significant wetland and an ANSI, or area of natural and scientific interest – declared by the provincial government in recognition of its unique ecological features. By 2006 however, extensive damage to the flood-tolerant trees in the wetland became obvious.  Concerns about the decline were raised to the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority  to no avail. In 2011, and again in 2013, MVFN formed a research group to examine the possible causes of damage to the trees, including the possibility of adverse effects due to continually high water levels as a result of ongoing power generation operations in Almonte.

Speaker for The Appleton Wetland Report presentation will be Al Seaman, a Professional Engineer, and member of MVFN’s Appleton Wetland Research Group and lead author of the report released in August. Mr. Seaman, an Almonte resident and native of the northwestern Quebec mining town of Noranda, graduated from McGill University as an Electrical Engineer.  Early on in his career Al realized that goals of industry do not always respect the requirements of pristine nature.

Seaman’s lecture topic is ‘The River’, specifically the Mississippi River with a focus on the stretch from Almonte to Appleton. Mr. Seaman will endeavour to demonstrate the impact of changing water levels on the extensive Appleton wetland.

All are welcome to this MVFN presentation. Find out why water levels matter and get answers to all your questions about the detailed findings of the research group! The talk takes place at 7:30 pm, Thursday, September 18, 2014 at the Almonte United Church Social Hall, 106 Elgin St., Almonte, ON. There is a non-member fee of $5. Refreshments will be available. For further information, please contact MVFN’s Program Chair Gretta Bradley at .

 

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FULL-SIZED  CALENDAR WITH DETAILS

MVFN's natural history talks take place on 3rd Thursdays, Jan-April and Sept-November, at  Almonte United Church, 106 Elgin St., Almonte, ON. All welcome!

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