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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 Beaver Dam Creek Restoration Strategy The Beaver Dam Creek subwatershed is primarily drained by municipal drains; Beaverdam Drain. The final extent of the Beaverdam Drain before it outlets to Lake Erie is a Class C Drain, the remainder is classed as Class F. The watercourses in this subwatershed have not been evaluated in terms of importance for fish habitat. Water quality sampling conducted at the outlet of the subwatershed indicates a water quality index of Poor and a BioMAP rating of Impaired. Factors affecting water quality include nutrient enrichment from upstream urban and agricultural areas and a lack of riparian buffer (NPCA 2010). Promotion of the NPCA‟s education programs pertaining to agricultural best management practices and water quality would be beneficial for the landowners. These programs also include information on sources of funding for environmental projects on private land to encourage adoption and implementation of best management practices. Geomorphic assessments were conducted at four sites within Beaverdam municipal drain. Bank instability was identified at all four locations and some of the field sites had relatively deep unconsolidated sediment deposited along the bed. 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). Land use in this study area is primarily agriculture with a strip of residential along the lakeshore and rural residential scattered throughout the study area. There is one golf course in this portion of the study area; Emerald Pines Golf Club. 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 MNR has identified the Lake Erie shoreline in this area 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. In terms of natural heritage features, Humberstone Marsh provincially significant life science ANSI straddles the northern boundary of the study area and the southern portion of the subwatershed is home to Beaver Dam Creek Wetland Complex PSW. The fragmented pattern of numerous wooded areas scattered throughout the subwatershed offer ample of opportunity to create ecological corridors linking fragmented natural areas with the larger core areas. The establishment of riparian buffer corridors will play an important role in linking fragmented natural areas throughout the subwatershed. In addition, ample of opportunity is present for filling in gaps of existing natural areas creating a larger contiguous natural area that would support a wide diversity of flora and fauna. Like Wignell Drain subwatershed, the challenge of the Beaver Dam 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. Incorporation of best management drain maintenance practices are also recommended for this subwatershed, if not already being undertaken, such as minimizing bank disturbance or leaving one side of the drain covered in vegetation. The Beaver Dam Creek P.C. Subwatershed Restoration Strategy identifies three zones with specific stewardship and restoration recommendations (Table 19 and Figure 30). 198

LAKE ERIE NORTH SHORE WATERSHED PLAN Table 19: Beaver Dam Creek P.C. Subwatershed Restoration Strategy Restoration Recommended Restoration Strategies Opportunities Riparian Wetland Upland and Ecological Linkages 1. North of Second Concession Road: headwaters region 2. North of Killaly Street and south of Second Concession priority should be placed on establishing riparian buffer habitat; portions of the headwaters flow through agricultural lands with little to no buffer. riparian buffers will help to reduce sediment and contaminant loads from adjacent land uses, and cool the water to enhance water quality and fish habitat. main channel and portion of east branch flows through Humberstone Marsh; existing riparian should be maintained to protect and enhance integrity of water quality 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) watercourses receive partial cover from adjacent natural areas, however there are large sections of watercourses with little to no riparian habitat; therefore focus should be on establishment of riparian buffers in areas with little to no existing riparian main branch largely flows along the roadside therefore measures to establish and enhance buffer should be implemented to reduce sediment and contaminant loads from adjacent land use (road and agriculture) wetland restoration suitability mapping indicates very high wetland restoration suitability for wetland enhancement surrounding Humberstone Marsh mapping also indicates very high suitability for riparian-wetland restoration along watercourse between Humberstone Marsh and West Humberstone Wetland linking complexes providing a corridor between natural areas protect and enhance existing wetlands (e.g., create a buffer of trees and shrubs between the wetlands and the agricultural activities) high suitability for filling in gaps in and around fragmented wooded areas creating a larger contiguous natural block which will increase the natural heritage areas‟ ability to support a larger diversity of flora and fauna high suitability for riparianwetland restoration along watercourse from Humberstone Marsh to Beaver Dam Creek Pt. Col Wetland Complex protect existing wetlands (e.g., create a buffer of trees and shrubs between the wetlands and the 199 very high suitability for upland restoration adjacent to Humberstone Marsh; focus should be on increasing core natural heritage block would increase the area‟s ability to support a larger diversity of flora and fauna upland enhancement of Humberstone Marsh would also provide a Critical Function Zone and would provide a variety of habitat functions for wetland-associated fauna that extend beyond the wetland limit upland restoration suitability mapping indicates very high suitability surrounding Humberstone Marsh providing a Critical Function Zone that would provide for wetlandassociated species that extend beyond the wetland boundary moderate to high upland suitability surrounding existing natural areas, therefore focus should be on enhancement of existing wooded areas and filling in gaps of natural areas reducing forest edge –interior ratio and creating a larger contiguous natural area extending

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