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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 Figure 26: Wainfleet Marsh Subwatershed Restoration Strategy Study Area 170

LAKE ERIE NORTH SHORE WATERSHED PLAN Lake Erie 3 Restoration Strategy Two main watercourses drain the Lake Erie 3 subwatershed. One branch flows east to west from Wainfleet/Eagle Marsh Drain Wetland Complex which straddles the subwatershed boundaries of Lake Erie 3 and Eagle Marsh Drain. This branch has been classified as important fish habitat by the MNR fish classification system. The upper segment of this branch is also designated as Class F municipal drain; Bessey Branch Drain. The final segment of this watercourse flows from the abandoned quarry to Lake Erie. The MNR has identified an important spawning area at the outlet in Lake Erie. In addition, the Lake Erie shoreline in this area has been identified as Fowler‟s Toad habitat of which Niagara is one of only three areas in Canada where this SAR is found. As indicated earlier, a new license has been approved in this subwatershed under the Aggregate Resources Act. In 2008, the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) outlined a list of conditions for the Reeb Quarry which includes for example, an Adaptive Management Plan, ongoing water level monitoring of the Wainfleet Wetlands, Cement Plant Road Quarries and the Quarry Lakes, and monitoring plans for quantity and quality of water (C.C.Tatham & Associates Ltd. 2008). It is recommended that once these monitoring plans are complete, they be reviewed by the Implementation Committee and incorporated into any restoration measures in the subwatershed. A geomorphic assessment was conducted at one site in this subwatershed. It was noted that the section of the watercourse had been channelized and lacked any depositional features along the stream bed which indicates little flow diversity within the channel. In addition, bank instability was present in the form of bare soil extending up the bank and bank slumping was present. Water quality sampling is conducted at one site in this subwatershed; in the Wainfleet Wetlands Conservation Area. This site received a water quality index rating of Good which is the highest rating received in the study area. Water quality is improved at this station by an inflow of groundwater and Lake Erie (NPCA 2010). Land use in the study area is a mix of residential and natural areas. The Wainfleet Wetlands Conservation Area makes up a large portion of this subwatershed. This conservation area primarily consists of abandoned quarries and provincially significant wetlands. Numerous Species at Risk have been noted in this subwatershed including for example the endangered king rail, threatened fowler‟s toad, common hop tree and eastern hog-nosed snake, as well as the eastern milksnake; a species of special concern. In addition, several provincially rare species have been identified in this subwatershed by the MNR and NPCA. The challenge of the Lake Erie 3 subwatershed is the establishment and maintenance of a sufficient riparian buffer along the watercourses downstream of the wetland complexes, primarily along important fish habitat. The establishment and maintenance of riparian buffers is important to protect and enhance the integrity of the water quality and fish habitat before outletting to Lake Erie. Therefore, incorporation of best management drain maintenance practices are recommended, if not already being undertaken, in areas managed as municipal drain such as minimizing bank disturbance or leaving one side of the drain covered in vegetation. Refer to Appendix I for examples of typical mitigation measures for drain maintenance. The Lake Erie 3 Subwatershed Restoration Strategy identifies one zone with specific stewardship and restoration recommendations (Table 16 and Figure 27). 171

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