Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley

Turtle Time in Lanark County!

By Dr. Paul Keddy

June is [nearly] here.  The nesting turtles are back! March is for maple syrup, in April it’s goodbye to the melting ice, in May the leaves come out, and in June it’s turtle time!

Every one of these annual events reminds us where we live; the previous statement could not be made in Paris or Los Angeles.  Of course, if you are a high rise building dweller who rarely ventures outside the big city, you may not appreciate my point.  Here in Lanark County, every June, many turtles crawl out of their ponds and streams and start crossing the highways looking for nesting sites.  Elsewhere tourists might pay a fortune, say, to travel to South Africa for lions, or British Columbia or Quebec for whales, but here the wildlife comes to visit us!

Turtle Parade

CAUTION PLEASE: Crossing the road!  In June, Lanark County turtles cross the roads to look for nesting sites.  The three species most often seen are the painted turtle (left), Blanding’s turtle (middle), and snapping turtle (right).  Please, drive carefully, and let them nest in peace. Images courtesy of Toronto Zoo Adopt-a-pond conservation program.

Most of the time turtles are rather secretive – hibernating nearly half the year on the bottom of lakes and pond. Much of the rest of the year they swim around looking for dead things to eat and occasionally taking a break to warm up in the sun stretched out on a log.  Overall, turtles are harmless, and in fact do some good since they are efficient scavengers that clean up dead animals from our water supply.  All of our turtles – even the large snapping turtle – are opportunist feeders.  They eat whatever they can conveniently find, which is mainly insects and dead fish. Biologists have spent many years studying turtle diets –by counting the items in their stomachs – and have this well-documented.  Even large snapping turtles, which get blamed for eating ducks or game fish, rarely have any of these items in their stomachs. They too eat carrion. Yes, snapping turtles will snap at you — when on land — particularly if you let your dog frighten them, or if you poke them with a stick.  Many people would do the same.

Let me mention, too, that every part of the world has its own set of turtles. If you were lost, and someone gave you a list of local turtles, you could pin down almost exactly where you were. North America has just over 50 species in all. Some places, like the west coast, are impoverished, having just one species.  Other places, like Louisiana, are blessed with turtles – more than 30 species. Lanark County, has exactly, five.  In approximate order of size, beginning with the smallest, they are musk turtle (or stinkpot), painted turtle, map turtle, Blanding’s turtle and snapping turtle. All but the painted turtle are now considered species at risk – that is, they are declining.  Two, the musk turtle and the Blanding’s turtle, are officially considered threatened species. The decline has two main causes, (1) death on roads and (2) destruction of wild places.

NESTING IS A DANGEROUS TIME!

So, for about 50 weeks out of each year, turtles are rather quiet, inoffensive neighbours, who pretty much keep to themselves.  In this way, they might set a good example for human neighbors, like the ones with the loud stereos and motorbikes … but I digress, I was asked to write about turtles.  My point is that, finally, after 50 weeks of peace, all hell breaks loose in mid June! All the females of reproductive age climb out of the water and begin the laborious task of hiking around to find a nesting site.  It is probably terrifying for them to leave the familiar water and venture onto land, but the nesting urge is too strong to resist. Once they find just the right location, they dig a hole, bury their eggs, and leave.  That is the end of motherly care.  The eggs are heated by the summer sun, and then, in September, baby turtles about half the size of walnut dig their way up to the surface and somehow find their way back to water.

This means that without fail, near the middle of each June, we are treated to a parade of female turtles, wandering around our roads and properties, trying to nest.  They have been doing this for about 200 million years, more or less.  Turtles existed before the dinosaurs, and they even survived whatever it was – an asteroid collision? – that eliminated the dinosaurs.  Despite their long history, turtles just have not had time to learn to adapt to two new things: cars and roads. That tiny brain has no idea that a road means danger. And so, increasingly, we are losing our turtles as the reproductive females (and often the eggs they contain) are killed on highways.

Biologists have calculated how important certain types of individuals are to their species survival, i.e. their “reproductive value”.  New baby turtles have low reproductive value because only a few ever survive –skunks, raccoons, crows, fish and even bullfrogs eat them.  This high mortality rate for babies is natural for turtles.  However the reproductive value of the adult female turtle is extremely high. Once she has made it to 20 years old she has the capacity to make up for the high mortality rate of the babies by laying from 10 to 30 eggs every year for decades.  The turtles being killed on our roads are usually the adult females — with the highest reproductive value. When a female is killed – it means the loss of hundreds of offspring she might have produced over future summers.  These loses cannot be replaced. As a result, turtles that were present in my childhood, like musk turtles and Blanding’s turtles, are now uncommon. Not only do turtles just cross roads, they are actually attracted to roads.  The warm sand and gravel along the road side makes a perfect nest site.  So turtles will come long distances to climb onto the shoulder and lay their eggs.  If drivers are careless, the highway becomes a ribbon of death.

SO WHAT CAN WE DO?

1. The first is to accept and even appreciate this annual eventJust as the maple syrup flows in March, so do turtles flow across our roads in June.  We might even build an annual tourist event around the nesting week.  We could put up some highway crossing signs at critical locations, or better still, plan ahead and build small underpasses when roads are being reconstructed. And, of course, we have to protect critical nesting areas from subdivisions. More urgently there is the immediate issue of death on the roads.

2. Drive carefully.  Turtles are slow-movers, so it really does take a complete idiot to hit one with a car.

Don’t tailgate (which your driver training instructor no doubt told you anyway), as you may run over a turtle that the car in front just missed.

Help them out. Stop, and carry the turtle the rest of the way across the road – in the direction she was headed, of course.  Yes, some will not appreciate your help, and might try to scratch or bite, so keep a pair of gardening gloves handy and perhaps a shovel to help lift. A big snapping turtle is heavy, so I would recommend extreme care – probably best to simply act like a shepherd.

Alert other drivers.  Yes, you can stop your car and let other people know that a turtle is crossing the road. Not a good idea at 100 kilometers per hour, perhaps, but certainly feasible on many side roads.

Let them nest in peace.  If one arrives in your yard, keep the pets away, and let the children watch quietly from a respectful distance more than ten feet away. Think about the respect we give to pregnant women, and give the pregnant turtle the same courtesy.  If she does nest, you can put a piece of chicken wire (not mosquito netting – that will trap the baby turtles in the fall) over the nest.  Then, wait.  Given the right amount of sun and rain, baby turtles should emerge in September.

One of the joys of living here is the annual spectacle of the June turtles.  If you still think you must drive so fast that you ignore the crossing turtles, may I respectfully suggest you consider moving to downtown Phoenix or Las Vegas or Toronto, or one of our other larger urban centers, where you won’t have to be inconvenienced by other living creatures.  Learning to share the landscape with wild animals is part of what it means to live here. We might start with courtesy to turtles, and then extend it to frogs, birds, butterflies, bears and all the other animals that lived here long before our ancestors decided to settle in North America.

Not everyone can personally save a blue whale, or a black rhinoceros, but everyone can drive responsibly, and, like a good boy scout, help the occasional turtle across the road.

This article on turtle nesting season was prepared in 2009 by Dr. Paul Keddy on behalf of the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists and is reposted here in May 2016. Dr. Keddy, is a local Lanark County resident, and scientist and author of many articles and books on wetlands and wildlife including Earth, Water, Fire: An Ecological Profile of Lanark County; Dr. Keddy’s website:  http://www.drpaulkeddy.com/  For more information on identifying Lanark County turtles, please visit a local bookshop or consult the Toronto zoo’s adopt- a- pond website  www.torontozoo.com/adoptapond/turtles.asp

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The not so hidden world of ‘human-related threats to birds’

The not so hidden world of ‘human-related threats to birds’ – cats, houses and cars!

What are the leading causes of human-related bird mortality in Canada?

Findings are in an Environment Canada report (Avian Conservation and Ecology 8(2):11) which can be found at http://www.ace-eco.org/vol8/iss2/art11/ The report details the sources and studies used to generate the data and the range and caveats associated with the numbers which are included.

Michael Runtz (distinguished author of Wild Wings: The Hidden World of Birds) usually dwells on the positive. And although he does not like to look at the negatives, at our February lecture, Runtz outlined these leading causes of bird mortality related to humans. He also gave many insights into a range of other threats, including invasive species, climate change (for example studies with Gray Jays) environmental toxins etc.

Per year in Canada,  the leading causes of bird mortality related to human activity, are the following.  These factors (cats, buildings, cars) are associated most closely with highly populated areas, and this is where most bird kills due to these causes occur, states the report:

# 1 killed by feral and domestic cats (70- over 200 million birds killed per year)

# 2 collisions or electrocution due to power lines (25 million birds per year)

# 3 collisions with houses (20 million birds per year)

# 4 collisions with vehicles (14 million  per year)

A full report of Mike’s talk will be posted soon. Note: photo of Gray Jays by Howard Robinson

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Turtle Time in Lanark County!

by Dr. Paul Keddy, ecologist and author of many articles and books on wetlands and wildlife including Earth, Water, Fire: An Ecological Profile of Lanark County.

Turtle

June is here. The nesting turtles are back! March is for maple syrup, in April the ice melts away, in May the leaves come out, and in June it’s turtle time! Every one of these annual events reminds us where we live; the previous statement could not be made in Paris or Los Angeles. Of course, if you are a high rise building dweller who rarely ventures outside the big city, you may not appreciate my point. Here in Lanark County, every June, many turtles crawl out of their ponds and streams and start crossing the highways looking for nesting sites. Elsewhere, tourists might pay a fortune, say, to travel to South Africa for lions, or British Columbia or Quebec for whales, but here the wildlife comes to visit us!

Most of the time turtles are rather secretive – hibernating nearly half the year on the bottom of lakes and ponds. Much of the rest of the year they swim around looking for dead things to eat and occasionally taking a break to warm up in the sun stretched out on a log. Overall, turtles are harmless, and in fact do some good since they are efficient scavengers that clean up dead animals from our water supply. All of our turtles – even the large snapping turtle – are opportunist feeders. They eat whatever they can conveniently find, which is mainly insects and dead fish. Biologists have spent many years studying turtle diets -by counting the items in their stomachs – and have this well-documented. Even large snapping turtles, which get blamed for eating ducks or game fish, rarely have any of these items in their stomachs. They too eat carrion. Yes, snapping turtles will snap at you — when on land — particularly if you let your dog frighten them, or if you poke them with a stick. Many people would do the same.

Baby Turtle

Hatchling- photo Chris Hume

Let me mention, too, that every part of the world has its own set of turtles. If you were lost, and someone gave you a list of local turtles, you could pin down almost exactly where you were. North America has just over 50 species in all. Some places, like the west coast, are impoverished, having just one species. Other places, like Louisiana, are blessed with turtles – more than 30 species. Lanark County, has exactly, five. In approximate order of size, beginning with the smallest, they are musk turtle (or stinkpot), painted turtle, map turtle, Blanding’s turtle and snapping turtle. All but the painted turtle are now considered species at risk – that is, they are declining. Two, the musk turtle and the Blanding’s turtle, are officially considered threatened species. The decline has two main causes, (1) death on roads and (2) destruction of wild places.

Turtle Crossing
Nesting time is a dangerous time:

So, for nearly 50 weeks each year turtles are rather quiet, inoffensive neighbours, who pretty much keep to themselves. In this way, they might set a good example for human neighbors, like the ones with the loud stereos and motorbikes … but I digress, I was asked to write about turtles. My point is that, finally, after 50 weeks of peace, all hell breaks loose in mid June! All the females of reproductive age climb out of the water and begin the laborious task of hiking around to find a nesting site. It is probably terrifying for them to leave the familiar water and venture onto land, but the nesting urge is too strong to resist. Once they find just the right location, they dig a hole, bury their eggs, and leave. That is the end of motherly care. The eggs are heated by the summer sun, and then, in September, baby turtles about the size of a half-walnut dig their way up to the surface and somehow find their way back to water.

This means that without fail, near the middle of each June, we are treated to a parade of female turtles, wandering around our roads and properties, trying to nest. They have been doing this for about 200 million years, more or less. Turtles existed before the dinosaurs, and they even survived whatever it was – an asteroid collision? – that eliminated the dinosaurs. Despite their long history, turtles just have not had time to learn to adapt to two new things: cars and roads. That tiny brain has no idea that a road means danger. And so, increasingly, we are losing our turtles as the reproductive females (and often the eggs they contain) are killed on highways.

Biologists have calculated how important certain types of individuals are to their species survival, i.e. their “reproductive value”. New baby turtles have low reproductive value because only a few ever survive -skunks, raccoons, crows, fish and even bullfrogs eat them. This high mortality rate for babies is natural for turtles. However the reproductive value of the adult female turtle is extremely high. Once she has made it to 20 years old she has the capacity to make up for the high mortality rate of the babies by laying from 10 to 30 eggs every year for decades. The turtles being killed on our roads are usually the adult females — with the highest reproductive value. When a female is killed – it means the loss of hundreds of offspring she might have produced over future summers. These loses cannot be replaced. As a result, turtles that were present in my childhood, like musk turtles and Blanding’s turtles, are now uncommon. Not only do turtles just cross roads, they are actually attracted to roads. The warm sand and gravel along the road side makes a perfect nest site. So turtles will come long distances to climb onto the shoulder and lay their eggs. If drivers are careless, the highway becomes a ribbon of death.

Turtle Crossing
So what can we do?

1. The first is to accept and even appreciate this annual event. Just as the maple syrup flows in March, so do turtles flow across our roads in June. We might even build an annual tourist event around the nesting week. We could put up some highway crossing signs at critical locations, or better still, plan ahead and build small underpasses when roads are being reconstructed. And, of course, we have to protect critical nesting areas from subdivisions. More urgently there is the immediate issue of death on the roads.

2. Drive carefully. Turtles are slow-movers, so it really does take a complete idiot to hit one with a car.
– Don’t tailgate (which your driver training instructor no doubt told you anyway), as you may run over a turtle that the car in front just missed.
-Help them out. Stop, and carry the turtle the rest of the way across the road – in the direction she was headed, of course. Yes, some will not appreciate your help, and might try to scratch or bite, so keep a pair of gardening gloves handy and perhaps a shovel to help lift. A big snapping turtle is heavy, so I would recommend extreme care – probably best to simply act like a shepherd.
– Alert other drivers. Yes, you can stop your car and let other people know that a turtle is crossing the road. Not a good idea at 100 kilometers per hour, perhaps, but certainly feasible on many side roads.
-Let them nest in peace. If one arrives in your yard, keep the pets away, and let the children watch quietly from a respectful distance more than ten feet away. Think about the respect we give to pregnant women, and give the pregnant turtle the same courtesy. If she does nest, you can put a piece of chicken wire (not mosquito netting – that will trap the baby turtles in the fall) over the nest. Then, wait. Given the right amount of sun and rain, baby turtles should emerge in September.

One of the joys of living here is the annual spectacle of the June turtles. If you still think you must drive so fast that you ignore the crossing turtles, may I respectfully suggest you consider moving to downtown Phoenix or Las Vegas or Toronto, or one of our other larger urban centers, where you won’t have to be inconvenienced by other living creatures. Learning to share the landscape with wild animals is part of what it means to live here. We might start with courtesy to turtles, and then extend it to frogs, birds, butterflies, bears and all the other animals that lived here long before our ancestors decided to settle in North America.

Not everyone can personally save a blue whale, or a black rhinoceros, but everyone can drive responsibly, and, like a good boy scout, help the occasional turtle across the road.

 

 

 

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Turtles in a Perilous Time

Turtles in a Perilous Time
by Matt Ellerbeck

“Turtles have proved that they are one of time’s most successful survivors. They have been on this Earth for well over 200 million years. This means that they were here long before the mammals, before the birds, and even before the dinosaurs. They have managed to survive throughout the ages, while countless other species have disappeared around them. Today however, the turtle is living in a perilous time. Around 70% of the world’s turtle species are now listed on The World Conservation Union’s Redlist of threatened species. For some turtles it is already too late. Several turtle species have already gone extinct. Many more are being pushed to the brink of extinction . . .”

 

To read the entire article by Matt Ellerbeck please click here matt-ellerbeck-turtles1

NOTE: Matt Ellerbeck is a turtle advocate and conservationist based in Kingston, Ontario. His website on turtles is at http://turtle-conservation101.webs.com

 

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Conservation Overview

Red Winged BlackbirdUpdate from Cliff Bennett, October 7, 2004

Dear MVFN members living in Mississippi Mills,

For almost three years now, I have participated on the steering committee for the creation of the Community Official Plan (COP) for the amalgamated town of Mississippi Mills. As a part of this process, I conducted a questionnaire at two regular MVFN meetings in the fall of 2001, asking what you felt the main issues were. Your answer was to

protect the natural environment,

protection of our groundwater and

protection of locally significant wetlands.

I have met with several groups of MVFN members and special advisors to flesh out wording on the above issues and have presented the results to the COP process. The first draft of the COP is now completed and is available for your perusal. You can get a copy from the municipal centre. Also, the local libraries have one and I think it is now on the town website (www.mississippimills.ca). Please get one, read it and pass me back your thoughts.

Meanwhile, here is my report on the draft and how successful I was in getting our issues recognized.

Coming up in October and November is a series of public input sessions on the new COP. You are most welcome to attend. The most important public input session for MVFN members is the one on Environment and Ground Water, Saturday, October 30, in the Old Almonte Town Hall. Mark it now on your calendar.

After the input sessions are completed, the committee will meet over Dec. Jan. to merge new ideas and corrections into the COP, leading to completion of the final draft which goes to Council for approval and then on to the Ontario Government for its input and approval. Please call me if you have any concerns or questions.


Protection of the Environment

I am pleased to report the Plan states wording for environmental protection in great abundance. The environment holds a whole section (3.1) of its own under Land Use Policies. Right in the first section, 1.1 of the Introduction under purpose of the Plan, words used are……..strengthen the environmental…………..fabric

and “The Plan presents a commitment to sustainable development and………..environmental protection

Entitled Environmental Land Use Policies (3.1), the Plan uses wording as follows “The protection of the environmental features, water resources and ecosystems………..are of central importance to the long term health and prosperity……..” “The challenge…………….is to act so that the integrity of the environment can be preserved………………..”

3.1.1, Goals and Objectives, states clearly “It is a goal of this plan to protect and enhance the quality of the environment and the long-term health of the ecosystem. All other goals should attempt to satisfy the environmental goal” In #10 of objectives, the Plan goes on to say “Establish clear policies……for situations ……..”which do not meet the environmental goals and actions of the Plan.”( I do wonder here whether the “clear policies” will be cast only to meet a way for developers to get around environmental goals of the Plan).

Concerns in this section:

1)The Plan uses many intangible words such as strengthen, commitment, protection, integrity, offer, etc. What do these words mean? How does the municipality measure these? Where are the rules governing the use of these words. The real proof of this and future Council commitment will be found in the Zoning By-Law which will accompany this Plan.

2)The Plan also uses many “weasel” words such as “attempt to”, which makes it too easy for a Council and/or a developer to find a way around environmental concerns.


Protection of our Groundwater

On this issue, we (MVFN) gained much success although several of our points were not included in the COP.

The Provincial Policy Statement  states:

2.4.1 The quality and quantity of ground water and surface water and the function of sensitive ground water recharge/discharge area, aquifers and headwaters will be protected or enhanced.

MVFN Recommendations (draft COP details in italics)

Identification and inventory

Identify and delineate size, quantity, quality and location of all aquifer systems including headwaters and sensitive ground water recharge/discharge areas within the boundaries of Mississippi Mills, as well as those shared with adjacent municipalities.The COP draft, under General Policies, 4.1, p.116, has a substantive paragraph on this matter to include all water resources in MM. It identifies three main approaches to Groundwater Protection; Identification and mapping; Watershed Planning and Site Specific Development Review Criteria. The exciting aspect of this policy is the treatment of the Policy as a Land Use issue. This brings the policy into an existing forum rather than creating a new one.

Conduct an inventory of all current users of groundwater and amounts used, related to each specific aquifer. Inventory shall be updated every five years.Although alluded to, the COP draft fails to mention the need for an inventory of all current major users of our ground water, related to specific aquifers nor does it mention any updating of such an inventory on a 5yr, basis.

Develop an agreed upon criteria for assessing sources of discharge/recharge areas on private property.Draft COP covers this adequately under 4.1.3, p.117 entitled Site Specific Development Criteria.

Protection and Management

New industrial, commercial and institutional development requiring use of ground water shall necessitate an environmental impact study (EIS).Accepted for over 50,000 litres per day.

Protect, through buffer zones, site plan controls and other control mechanisms, all groundwater ecosystems.Accepted

Conduct an assessment report on all potential and known threats affecting the health of groundwater, including cumulative impacts. This report shall be renewed every five years.This policy of MVFN’s was not included in the Draft. In earlier discussions, we felt strongly that it is very important.

Development activities and land uses which impact the land’s capacity to absorb rainwater into existing aquifer systems, shall be restricted.This policy was not included. In the Almonte Ward, storm water drainage policies in the new Draft, are necessary for there is not much room for absorption. However, on the fringes of the town, we are paving over the ground, preventing absorption into the aquifers.

Groundwater, as a renewable resource, must be managed sustainably. No extraction from an aquifer system shall be allowed which consumes groundwater at a greater rate than can be replenished by that system.This idea was not included in the draft COP. However, in 4.1.3 (i) p.118, any new development tapping into the aquifer, must demonstrate there is sufficient water for existing users. It does not have to demonstrate whether or not the system can adequately replenish itself. I would think it would be in a developer’s interests to ensure there was going to be enough water.

All development activities and land uses which may cause contamination of groundwater including recharge/discharge areas, shall be disallowed.In committee discussions, it was felt this was too strong a policy and that this issue is covered under the requirements for environmental impact studies.

No new extraction of groundwater activities shall be allowed unless applicant can prove such water taking will have no detrimental impact on existing uses.Covered above.

Private landowners impacted by enforcement of regulations concerning protection of groundwater and recharge/discharge areas shall be considered for compensation.This idea was not included. I will fight moreso, to get it included. The Plan rightly includes setbacks from sensitive areas. For instance, if a setback takes some agriculture land out of productions, the farmer should be compensated.

The municipality shall recognize and cooperate with landowners as stewards of their own environment.Well covered throughout the entire Draft COP


Locally Significant Wetlands

Recommendations from Preliminary Issues Report from MVFN.

This report was arrived at through a group meeting with representative from Ducks Unlimited, follow-up requests for comments from group members, Federation of Ontario Naturalists, Canadian Environmental Law Association, OMNR officials and members of MVFN plus research of relevant documents and publications.

Comments below are in italics.

Issue 3.1 statement 1

…………should we protect locally significant wetlands (LSW’s)?

1) It was a unanimous “yes”. MM should establish a policy of precaution-protection until adequate and informed data and science is available to better understand the function and value of wetlands locally and within a watershed context.

We were successful in including this protection in the Draft Plan. However, The Plan fails to take a precaution-protection approach and is only focussed on the present day situation.

2) The group felt we should make the first entry in the OP not too detailed but to build in triggers or flags that would show up in site-specific cases concerning LSW’ s.

A pro-active triggers and flags approach is not included in the Draft Plan.

3) Consultation, connectivity and education should be the main process used in protection of our wetlands.

No mention is made of this policy, especially education.

4) Locally Significant Wetlands (LSW’s) should be identified, through a classification process. The most significant ones should be on an initial list in the OP, with provision for additions at later dates though amendment to the OP.

Provision is made for this through MNR. However, there have been none done so far and cannot therefore be listed in The Plan. There is no mention of the establishment of an inventory of LSW’s in the Draft. Only that, when one is evaluated, it will be added to the Plan through an OP amendment. I will continue to press for a pre-assessment inventory.

5) Most locally significant wetlands (4-7) have already been identified by MNR. These should be our initial list entered in the OP.

Done.

6) Stewardship Council, field naturalists, Ducks Unlimited, local Fish and Game Clubs, landowners and EAC should be involved in the education process.

This should be stated in a LSW education policy.

7) A buffer zone should be mentioned but not defined except in definition section. Buffer requirements should be site specific as each case arises.

This amount of flexibility is not included in the Plan. Only a 30m setback unless this is not practicable.

8 ) At least initially, only permanent LSWs should be considered for listing.

This distinction is not mentioned.

9) Strong recognition of land owners as stewards should be registered in the OP.

Done, many times.

10) References must be made to other relevant Acts i.e.: Drainage, Riparian Rights etc.

Some are, in some places.

11) We should steer clear of the beavers issue and also temporary wetlands.

done.

12) Paramount is recognition of importance of all wetlands in their role of protecting and enhancing the ground water.

Well stated in general policies.

13) Private landowners impacted by enforcement of regulations concerning LSWs should be considered for compensation where applicable

Not mentioned. I shall continue to press for this, especially where a setback takes land out of production.

14) As the natural heritage policy, as set forth in the PPS, allows for varying degrees of protection at the municipal level, MM should take a progressive approach and strive for the Pathfinder Policies level.

Was agreed upon in discussions but is not mentioned in this Draft.

15) As MM is divided almost in half between the Canadian Shield and St.Lawrence/Great Lakes Lowland significant areas, it is the recommendation of this report that the PPS concerning Canadian Shield wetlands be adopted for all of MM.

The Plan arbitrarily states protection will be the non-shield policies, and only in relation to PSW’s. I don’t think the Province will let us get away with that one. As you can see, we recommended Shield protection for all LSW’s.

16) Issues involving LSWs should be discussed with land owner groups on a continuing basis.

Should be included in an education policy section but isn’t.

17) MM must strive for broad public support on wetland policies implementation

Again, part of an education policy, which isn’t there.

General concerns

In general, The Plan seems to only protect and enhance the environmental values of locally significant wetlands in relation to development (3.1.2.1, p.24). How do these wetlands get protected when development is not going on. For example, regular maintenance of roads, private dumping of garbage in the wrong place, spraying chemicals on the land etc.

Another example of this is in 3.1.2.3. where the Draft suggests preserving vegetation along waterways and roadways on in connection to development. There are many other concerns about carss zones along watercourses besides development.

 

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