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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 Oil Mill Creek Restoration Strategy Oil Mill Creek subwatershed is primarily drained by municipal drains; Oil Mill Creek Drain is a series of Class F drains. The watercourses in this subwatershed have not been evaluated in terms of importance for fish habitat and the NPCA does not conduct water quality sampling in this portion of the study area. However, 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. Geomorphic assessments were conducted on 2 sites within Oil Mill Creek Drain. Both of the sites had areas of bank instability but only the upstream site had relatively deep unconsolidated sediment deposited along the channel bed. There are a number of small tributaries entering the main channel, as well as bare soil exposed along the banks. These two factors may be contributing to the sediment along the channel bed (NPCA 2009b). Like most subwatersheds in the study area, land use in Oil Mill Creek is primarily agricultural with some strips of residential areas and a public along the shoreline; Humberstone Centennial Park Beach. Large sections of watercourse flow through agricultural fields with little to no riparian buffers. 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. In terms of natural heritage features, numerous wetlands and wooded areas are scattered throughout the study area offering an abundance of opportunity for linkage and ecological corridor creation. Like other subwatersheds a challenge of Oil Mill Creek will be 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, these riparian habitats are important linkages between natural areas. The Oil Mill Creek Subwatershed Restoration Strategy identifies one zone with specific stewardship and restoration recommendations (Table 20 and Figure 31). 206

LAKE ERIE NORTH SHORE WATERSHED PLAN Table 20: Oil Mill Creek Subwatershed Restoration Strategy Restoration Recommended Restoration Strategies Opportunities Riparian Wetland Upland and Ecological Linkages 1. priority should be the establishment of riparian buffer strips in areas with little to no existing riparian existing riparian should be maintained large sections of watercourse flow through agricultural fields and along roadways with little to no riparian; buffer strips will help to reduce sediment and contaminant loads from adjacent land uses, and cool the water to enhance water quality and fish habitat. 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) wetland restoration suitability mapping indicates very high wetland restoration suitability for most of the subwatershed including wetland-riparian suitability providing important linkages between fragmented natural areas to facilitate in the movement of flora and fauna between natural areas: see map therefore focus should be on enhancement and filling in gaps creating larger contiguous natural blocks and creating ecological linkages between natural areas create/enhance wetlands in areas where the wetness index and soil drainage permit; priority should be given to areas adjacent to existing wetlands and high groundwater recharge 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 upland restoration surrounding southern complexes of Oil Mill Creek Wetland Complex; focus should be on enhancement of this feature creating a Critical Function Zone that would provide for wetland-associated species that extend beyond the wetland limit very high suitability for enhancement surrounding 3 small wooded areas on east side of subwatershed creating one large natural block. Opportunity exists to connect to watercourse and with riparian creation connect to fragmented natural areas existing natural areas should be preserved 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 Recommended Action for Public and Private Lands NPCA Lake Erie North 1. Vimy Road (OMCMa): This section of watercourse is managed as a municipal drain; Oil Mill Creek Drain. Shore Geomorphic Assessment Study (NPCA 2009b) It has been channelized and lacks any depositional features along the stream bed which indicates little flow diversity within the channel. Bank instability is present in the form of bare soil extending up the bank, as well as slumping. Bank protection structures exist along both banks at this field site. These structures consist of concrete blocks laid on top of each other forming a wall, as well as riprap lining the bank. There are numerous culverts found within this site and the water flows through some of these culverts for relatively long distances. A large amount of the buffer zone consists of a manicured lawn and the lack of large woody vegetation impacts habitat 207

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