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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 27: Lake Erie 3 Subwatershed Restoration Strategy Study Area 176

LAKE ERIE NORTH SHORE WATERSHED PLAN Eagle Marsh Drain Restoration Strategy The watercourses in this subwatershed are in part managed as municipal drains; Eagle Marsh Drain and Bessey Branch Drain. The northern portion of Eagle Marsh Drain is designated as Class F Drain, while the southern portion is Class E. Bessey Branch Drain is a Class F Drain. A control structure is located at the outlet of Eagle Marsh and is an integral component of the municipal drain as it serves as flood protection for inland properties. A concrete armour wall is located at this site as the energy upstream, at and downstream of the structure are significant. The engineering design for the replacement of this wall will be undertaken sometime during 2010 (Bennemeer 2010). The main branch of Eagle Marsh Drain and Bessey Branch Drain are both classified as important fish habitat and the eastern tributary within the Wainfleet Marsh Conservation Area is classified as critical fish habitat. In addition, the MNR has identified Gravelly Bay as an important spawning area. The remainder of the watercourses in this subwatershed have not been evaluated in terms of importance for fish habitat. Geomorphic assessments were conducted at 5 sites in this subwatershed; 4 of the sites are within Eagle Marsh municipal drain and one along Bessey Branch Drain. Some bank instability was noted and relatively deep unconsolidated sediment deposited along the stream bed was identified. Excessive sediment deposition can cause problems in the watercourse, such as lateral channel adjustments, increased turbidity, filling in of pools, and impacting fish habitat (NPCA 2009b). Water quality sampling indicates a water quality index rating of Marginal for Eagle Marsh Drain and a BioMAP rating of Impaired. Factors affecting these ratings include exceedances of chloride, E. coli., total phosphorus, and suspended solids. This site is influenced by groundwater discharge from the upstream bedrock quarry (NPCA 2010). 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. In terms of land use in the subwatershed, the eastern half is primarily residential (City of Port Colborne) and the western portion is a mix of natural areas and agriculture. Several significant features are present in this subwatershed, including Bertie Formation (III) and Onondaga Formation Regional Earth Science ANSI‟s, Sugar Loaf Hill Old Growth Forest, Cement Plant Road Quarry PSW, and the remainder of Wainfleet/Eagle Marsh Drain Wetland Complex PSW. Several Species at Risk have been identified in this subwatershed by the MNR, including the federally endangered spotted turtle, least bittern, and the northern map turtle, which is a species of special concern. In addition, the Lake Erie shoreline in this area has been identified as Fowler‟s toad habitat, a federally and provincially threatened species, of which Niagara is one of only three areas in Canada where this SAR is found. The challenge of the Eagle Marsh Drain 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. However, a sufficient vegetative riparian buffer is imperative in assisting with the protection and enhancement of water quality while providing a corridor and shelter that will facilitate in wildlife movement along the watercourse between natural areas. 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 177

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