Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley

Wetlands: What can you do?

What can you do for the Wetlands? Here is some simple advice from some expert guest speakers at MVFN’s natural history lectures:

Pat Ferris of MAPLE :

1. Mark off 10 m from shore and do nothing. This, in a nutshell is MAPLE’s (MAPLE was the Mutual Association for the Preservation of the Lake Environment) “MAPLE 10” program. A natural shoreline is the ‘ribbon’ of life which is absolutely essential for many species and for healthy water.

 2. Relax. Would you like to re-vegetate your shoreline? Let low-maintenance native plants sprout from the natural seed bank. For help and information with shoreline planting consult Mississippi Valley Conservation http://www.mvc.on.ca/shoreline-planting/ Other nearby conservation authorities also offer clean water programs http://www.rvca.ca/programs/rcwp/rvca_rcwp.html

shoreline bobs lake

3. Remember the lesson of Bert and Ernie? Build less, enjoy more. The best erosion control is natural shoreline vegetation. Remove retaining walls and install only low impact docks.

Brian Potter, OMNR:

1. Remember that wetlands are not just water, not just land, but a vital link between land and water, and critical to watershed health – providing critical habitat plus playing an essential role in proper working of the hydrologic cycle i.e. for groundwater re-charge, natural water purification, flood control etc. Some significant wetlands in our watershed include Mississippi Lake, Wolf Grove wetlands, Kerr Lake, Clayton/Taylor Lake.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Photo Cathy Keddy

2. Wetlands are disappearing at an alarming rate. Encourage your municipality and conservation authorities to put resources into proper inventory of wetlands, and protection through good planning and vigilance. Look into programs available for individuals and groups to help preserve wetlands:

-Land Stewardship and Habitat Restoration Program,  (http://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/en/Business/LetsFish/2ColumnSubPage/STEL02_166030.html)
-Conservation Land Tax Incentive Program http://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/en/business/cltip/index.html
-Adopt a Pond http://www.torontozoo.com/AdoptAPond/

3. Support research on buffer zones around wetlands. As more work is done on this, researchers are finding more examples of species for which the current requirements for the size of buffers or upland areas are insufficient.

Michael Runtz, Carleton University

1. Consider the natural cycling of areas inhabited by beavers. You might think you have a beaver problem but your beaver could well be one of those 2-yr old beaver who has just been kicked out of home and has set up a last minute den just to get through the winter. If so, he may go elsewhere the next year.

Beaver_Dam

2. Beavers play the role of engineer when it comes to creating nutrient rich ponds, teeming with life. Water levels are raised, new species are attracted, and the forest gradually acquires a pond, marsh, and ribbon of grassland. The habitats thus created by this impressive rodent are vital to the health of our watershed.

3. Get kids/grandkids off the computer and out into nature. Value nature, it is the best show in town. Michael says he never gives nature a bad review!