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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 Table 14: Lake Erie 5 Subwatershed Restoration Strategy Restoration Opportunities Recommended Restoration Strategies Riparian Wetland Upland and Ecological Linkages 1. Lake Erie 5 The north branch partially receives cover from adjacent natural areas along south side of watercourse; therefore focus should be on establishment of a sufficient buffer separating watercourse from adjacent land use (golf course) The southern branch of the headwaters flow through agricultural fields with little to no protect existing wetland (e.g., create a buffer of trees and shrubs between the wetlands and the agricultural activities) wetland suitability mapping indicates a high suitability exists for enhancement Burnaby Wainfleet Airport wetland creating an ecological linkage to woodlots in adjacent subwatershed. very high suitability exists for upland restoration between natural areas in north-western portion of study area, extending into adjacent subwatershed creating ecological linkages or infilling increasing interior size of feature high to medium suitability for enhancement of fragmented wooded areas in the south-western portion of the study area buffer; priority should be placed on establishing riparian habitat riparian buffers will help to reduce sediment and cool the water to enhance water quality and fish habitat as well as create corridors that will connect fragmented natural areas providing cover for wildlife there are a series of roadside ditches in this portion of the study area that drain into Lake Erie; 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. All restoration measures should where possible, benefit Species at Risk and provincially rare species Carolinian and native species should be used for all projects Project Opportunities Naturalizing Drains and Drain Best Management Practices Recommended Action for Public and Private Lands In addition to having an impact on aquatic and riparian habitat, drain maintenance has the potential to become quite costly through repeated maintenance activities. Naturalizing drains can potentially lengthen the time between maintenance events by reducing the amount of sediment entering and remaining in the drain. Best Management Practices for drain maintenance should be developed in consultation with, but not limited to, the following agencies; OMAFRA, DFO, MNR, Conservation Ontario, OFA, DSAO, CFFO, and the agricultural 160

LAKE ERIE NORTH SHORE WATERSHED PLAN Promote Good Shoreline Stewardship Blue Flag Beaches Integrated Roadside Vegetation Management (IRVM) Program Ecological Linkages between Natural Areas Riparian Buffer Education Program Wetlands are Worth It Program Environmentally Responsible Maintenance Practices for Golf Courses Agricultural Best Management Practices Program Abandoned Well Decommissioning Program community to reduce ecological impacts to aquatic systems and to prevent sediment from returning to the drain. Any future maintenance of this watercourse should be done in accordance with Best Management Practices for drains. To review examples of current BMP mitigation measures, refer to Appendix I. Work with partnering stakeholders to promote shoreline that have been maintained naturally or restored to find a balance between natural processes and shoreline protection measures. Work with partnering agencies to mitigate water quality issues and work towards Blue Flag Beach status. Blue Flag status meets high standards with respect to water quality, environmental management, environmental education and safety and services (Blueflag.ca) and is known globally. Blue Flag beaches have the potential to increase tourism in the area. Niagara Region and municipalities should work together to expand Niagara Region‟s IRVM Program. IRVM integrates the use of native vegetation with appropriate management techniques to produce a cost-effective, environmentally sound management alternative for roadside weed and erosion control while providing numerous ecological benefits (e.g. buffer strips). Focus of program expansion should be directed to main roads and roads in areas with a high shallow intrinsic susceptibility. Opportunity potential is present for creating ecological linkages between natural areas creating larger contiguous natural features. Such areas have the potential to enhance movement of flora and fauna between natural areas as well as provide habitat and ecological diversity for a wide range of species. Many landowners keep their properties manicured or plant crops to the edge of the creek. The NPCA‟s program aimed at educating landowners about the benefits of buffer zones along watercourses should be extensively promoted. In addition, landowners should be made aware of and encouraged to participate in the Conservation Authority‟s Water Quality Improvement Program. This program provides grants to a maximum of 75% of the cost of a project with caps between $2,000 and $10,000. Wetlands provide important water quality and ecological functions in a watershed by augmenting low flow, acting as natural filtration systems and helping to reduce flooding by acting like giant sponges and absorbing excess water. The Wetlands are Worth It Program through NPCA‟s Water Quality Improvement Program aims to assist landowners that are interested in restoring, protecting, rehabilitating and creating wetland habitat on their property by providing grants to a maximum of 75% of the cost of a project with a grant ceiling of $10,000. 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. Investigation into the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf Courses should be explored for golf courses if such a program has not already been adopted. In addition, environmentally friendly practices should be encouraged (e.g. chemical free practices). The NPCA‟s program aimed at educating landowners about the benefits of rural and agricultural best management practices should be extensively promoted. In addition, landowners should be made aware of and encouraged to participate in the Conservation Authority‟s Water Quality Improvement Program. This program provides grants to a maximum 75% of the cost of a project with caps between $5,000 and $12,000 depending on the project. Abandoned wells that are not properly decommissioned (capped and sealed) pose a threat to groundwater resources by providing a direct route to groundwater. The NPCA has a well decommissioning program in place for its jurisdiction. Grants are available for the decommissioning of unused water wells only. Priority is given to hydrogeologically sensitive areas, projects located in areas with a high density of domestic water wells, and areas 161

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