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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 Point Abino Drain Restoration Strategy The Point Abino Drain subwatershed is primarily drained by municipal drain; Point Abino Drain. The main channel is a Class B Drain and the northern branch is a Class F Drain. The outlet of the main channel is evaluated as critical fish habitat and the remainder of the main branch and its tributaries are classified as important fish habitat. The MNR has also indentified the bay at the outlet as an important fish spawning area. The remaining watercourses in this subwatershed have not been evaluated in terms of importance for fish habitat. Water quality sampling conducted near the outlet of the subwatershed indicates a water quality index of Fair and a BioMAP rating of Impaired. Factors affecting water quality include nutrient enrichment from upstream urban and agricultural areas. The water quality at this site is influence by backflow from Lake Erie (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 six sites within Point Abino municipal drain. Relatively deep unconsolidated sediment and organic material was deposited along the bed throughout the watercourse and bank instability was noted near the outlet. Excessive sediment deposition can cause problems in a watercourse such as lateral channel adjustments, increased turbidity, filling in of pools, and impacting fish habitat (NPCA 2009b). Land use in the subwatershed is a mix of agriculture, rural residential and seasonal and permanent dwellings along the Lake Erie shoreline, and western portion of the subwatershed where a seasonal trailer park is located. The shoreline in this subwatershed consists of private and public beaches. There are several significant natural features located in the Point Abino subwatershed, including 2 identified old growth forests, Point Abino Peninsula Sandland Forest Life Science ANSI, Carolinian Signature site and PSW, as well as numerous PSW‟s and woodlots. The MNR has identified 13 Species at Risk in this subwatershed including for example, the endangered prothonotary warbler, acadian flycatcher, the threatened fowler‟s toad and eastern hognosed snake, and the grass pickerel and woodland vole of which both are species of special concern. In addition, the MNR has identified the Lake Erie shoreline in this area as habitat for the fowler‟s toad of which Niagara is one of only three areas in Canada where this provincial and federal SAR is found. One of the challenges presented in the Point Abino Drain subwatershed, like other subwatersheds along Lake Erie, is the establishment and maintenance of sufficient riparian habitat when maintenance activities are necessary on the municipal drains to facilitate in proper drainage of the agricultural fields; primarily the headwaters where the watercourses flow through agricultural fields with little to no vegetative buffer. Existing riparian should be preserved in the lower half of the subwatershed where the watercourses receive cover from adjacent natural areas. Ample of opportunity exists for filling in gaps and divots reducing edge-to-interior ratio and increasing core interior habitat. Plenty of opportunity for enhancement of existing natural areas and the establishment of ecological corridors is also present in this subwatershed. The Point Abino Drain Subwatershed Restoration Strategy identifies two zones with specific stewardship and restoration recommendations (Table 22 and Figure 33). 220

LAKE ERIE NORTH SHORE WATERSHED PLAN Table 22: Point Abino Drain Subwatershed Restoration Strategy Restoration Opportunities Recommended Restoration Strategies Riparian Wetland Upland and Ecological Linkages 1. Headwater region priority should be placed on establishing riparian buffer habitat; the headwaters run through agricultural lands and along roadways with little to no buffer strip 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 while creating corridors connecting fragmented natural areas providing cover for wildlife existing riparian should be maintained watercourses are in part 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) protect existing wetlands (e.g., create a buffer of trees and shrubs between the wetlands and the agricultural activities) wetland restoration suitability mapping identifies very high suitability for enhancement and filling in gaps surrounding Point Abino Wetland Complex very high suitability for wetlandriparian restoration linking fragmented natural areas wetland restoration suitability mapping identifies numerous areas suitable for wetland creation: see map very high suitability exists for upland restoration in and around Point Abino Wetland Complex extending into the adjacent subwatershed creating ecological linkages or infilling increasing interior size of feature high suitability for creating a Critical Function Zone surrounding PSW‟s. This will provide for a variety of critical functions for wetlandassociated fauna (e.g. nesting habitat) focus in this portion of the study area should be on enhancement of existing natural areas and the creation of ecological linkages 2 watercourses receive cover from adjacent Point Abino Wetland Complex with small segments with little to no riparian habitat; focus should be on establishment and enhancement of riparian buffers in areas with little to no existing riparian (watercourse between ANSI complexes is critical fish habitat with little to no buffer strip) riparian buffers will help to reduce sediment and protect existing wetlands suitability mapping indicates very high suitability for filling in gaps west of Mathews Road and for wetland-riparian restoration along watercourses segments between Point Abino Complex creating ecological linkages between fragmented natural 221 very high suitability for infilling and enhancement surrounding Point Abino Wetland Complex PSW and ANSI providing a Critical Function Zone, increasing interior size, and/or creating larger contiguous which would enhance the natural areas ability to support a larger diversity of flora and fauna opportunity for creation of ecological linkages between fragmented natural areas facilitating in the movement of flora and fauna

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