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Lake Erie North Shore Watershed Plan - Niagara Peninsula ...

Lake Erie North Shore Watershed Plan - Niagara Peninsula ...

LAKE ERIE NORTH SHORE

LAKE ERIE NORTH SHORE WATERSHED PLAN Lake Erie 8 Restoration Strategy Aside from the final stretches of watercourse before draining into Lake Erie, the watercourses in Lake Erie 8 subwatershed are managed as municipal drains; all are Class F Drains. The watercourses in this subwatershed have not been evaluated in terms of importance for fish habitat. Geomorphic assessments or water quality sampling was not conducted on the watercourses in this subwatershed. Land use in this subwatershed is also primarily agriculture with a strip of residential along the lakeshore. There is one golf course in this subwatershed; Long Beach Country Club. Long Beach Conservation Area is also located in this subwatershed. This public recreational area offers camping, and an array of beach related activities. There is little to no riparian buffers or corridor connections between natural areas in this subwatershed, or linkages to natural areas in adjacent subwatersheds. The challenge of the Lake Erie 8 subwatershed is the establishment and preservation of riparian habitat when maintenance activities are necessary on the municipal drains to facilitate in proper drainage of the agricultural fields. In addition, many of these drains run along the roadway, therefore the establishment and maintenance of riparian buffers is important in this subwatershed to protect, maintain, and enhance water quality before outletting to Lake Erie. Therefore, incorporation of best management drain maintenance practices are recommended, if not already being undertaken, such as minimizing bank disturbance or leaving one side of the drain covered in vegetation. This would not only provide a corridor for wildlife but would also provide benefits to water quality, provide the drain stability and filter sediment coming from adjacent fields and roads resulting in less sediment entering the drain and possibly lengthening the time between clean-outs. Refer to Appendix I for examples of typical mitigation measures for drain maintenance. The sparse and fragmented pattern of natural areas in this subwatershed does not offer many opportunities of linkage creation aside from riparian establishment, fortifying the importance of riparian habitat in this subwatershed. However, by integrating golf course management practices with wildlife management, such as incorporating enhanced natural areas into the landscaping, golf courses have the potential to offer a wide range of habitat for wildlife. In addition, encouragement of environmentally responsible maintenance practices, if not already adopted, will be beneficial to water quality and the aquatic habitat. The Lake Erie 8 Subwatershed Restoration Strategy identifies two zones with specific stewardship and restoration recommendations (Table 12 and Figure 23). 144

LAKE ERIE NORTH SHORE WATERSHED PLAN Table 12: Lake Erie 8 Subwatershed Restoration Strategy Restoration Opportunities Recommended Restoration Strategies Riparian Wetland Upland and Ecological Linkages 1. North of Gord Harry Conservation Trail 2. South of Gord Harry Conservation Trail priority should be placed on establishing riparian habitat; the headwaters flow between agricultural lands and along roadsides with little to no buffer. riparian buffers will help to reduce sediment and cool the water to enhance water quality and fish habitat before outletting to Lake Erie, as well as create corridors that will connect the fragmented natural areas providing cover for wildlife watercourses are managed as municipal drains therefore establishment of riparian corridors(e.g. deep rooted grasses & shrubs) should consider future maintenance activities (refer to engineers report and drainage BMP practice recommendations) west watercourse receives cover partial cover from adjacent natural area therefore focus should be on maintenance of existing riparian focus should be establishment of riparian in areas with little to no existing riparian; e.g., east watercourse has little to no riparian and therefore measures to establish and enhance buffer should be considered to reduce sediment and contaminant loads from adjacent land use (roads and agricultural fields) before outletting to Lake Erie. create/enhance wetlands in areas where the wetness index and soil drainage permit; priority should be given to areas adjacent to existing wetlands(e.g., very high restoration suitability exists for enhancement Moulton Wetland LSW) wetland restoration suitability mapping identifies numerous areas suitable for wetland creation: see map protect existing wetland (e.g., create a buffer of trees and shrubs between the wetland agricultural activities) create/enhance wetlands in areas where the wetness index and soil drainage permit; priority should be given to areas adjacent to existing wetlands(e.g., very high restoration suitability exists for enhancement of Harold Mitchell Nature Reserve) wetland restoration suitability mapping identifies numerous areas suitable for wetland creation: see map 145 very high suitability exists for creating a Critical Function Zone surrounding Moulton Wetland East LSW. This will provide for a variety of critical functions for wetlandassociated fauna (e.g. nesting habitat) very high suitability exists for creating a Critical Function Zone surrounding Harold Mitchell Nature Reserve LSW. This will provide for a variety of critical functions for wetland-associated fauna (e.g. nesting habitat) as well as increase interior size resulting in the natural areas ability to support a larger diversity of flora and fauna.

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