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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 The Emerson Road Woodlot/ Lowbanks Backshore Provincially Significant Wetland Complex is over 32 hectares of provincially significant wetland made up of 85 individual wetland pockets. These pockets are composed 7.2 percent swamp and 28 percent marsh (Thomas and Knoll 1986). Thomas and Knoll (1986) have noted numerous vegetation communities including for example; robust emergents such as cattails and bulrush; broad-leaved emergents such as water plantain; low shrubs such as swamp rose, dogwood, and winterberry; and deciduous trees such as red maple, swamp white oak and white elm. Only a small portion of The Burnaby Wainfleet Airport Wetlands has been designated as a provincially significant wetland. This area has not undergone a complete evaluation to date, so it is possible that in the future as the evaluation is complete a larger tract of land will be given a designation of provincially significant. The Cement Plant Road Quarry is a provincially significant wetland composed of 8 percent swamp and 92 percent marsh (Kwicinski and Littleton 1989). Numerous wetland communities have been identified by Kwicinski and Littleton (1989) including submergents such as water milfoil; low shrubs such as dogwood and poplar; and tall shrubs such as willow. The Nickel Beach Marsh and Woodlot is 47 hectares of provincially significant wetland and woodlot. This area is a continuation of the Lake Erie shoreline dune complex. The area behind the dunes is flat and relatively dry except in the western section. The soils vary from Eastport Sand on the dunes to Muck and Jeddo clay in the areas behind the dunes (Brady 1980). Vegetation has been noted as mature and numerous species identified including for example, trembling and largetooth aspen; black and peachleaf willow; butternut walnut; and Allegheny serviceberry (Brady 1980). The Beaver Dam Creek Wetland Complex is a provincially significant wetland complex composed of 6 individual wetlands totalling 136 hectares. This wetland complex is located behind the Lake Erie Sand Dunes and is in part an organic backshore basin. Several terrestrial linkages are present such as hedgerows, abandoned agricultural fields and meadows. Other important linkages include Lake Erie to the south and Humberstone Marsh to the north (MNR 2009b). The Point Abino Wetland Complex is a provincially significant coastal wetland complex comprised of three individual wetlands consisting of 97 percent swamp and 3 percent marsh (Moraal and Smith 1984a). Numerous wetland vegetation communities have been noted by Moraal and Smith (1984a), including for example, robust emergents such as cattails; free-floating plants such as duckweed; tall shrubs such as dogwood; and deciduous trees such as maple, ash and willow. The Humberstone Marsh is 381 hectares of provincially significant wetland that straddles the borders of the Black Creek and Beaver Dam Creek subwatersheds. A portion of this system has also been designated Humberstone Muck Basin Swamp Forest ANSI, as previously described. According to a report done by Brady (1980) the vegetation species composition varies in each of the sections of marsh. Brady noted that the vegetation of the eastern section included for example, pin oak, white and red oak and shagbark hickory; the central section consisted of trembling aspen and black cherry; and the western section was dominated by species such as red and black maple and 56

LAKE ERIE NORTH SHORE WATERSHED PLAN yellow birch. Brady also noted that the groundcover varied in thickness throughout the area and included species such as spice-bush, fern spp., and solomon‟s seal. The Wainfleet Wetlands are 185 hectares of provincially significant wetland. The Wainfleet Wetlands Conservation Area consists of 181 hectares of woodlots; abandoned quarries; successional meadow; and provincially significant wetland. The Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority purchased the land in 1978 for the purpose of providing habitat for fish and wildlife while protecting the wetland, alvar, prairie and meadow communities, and unique open rock features. This wetland is unique as it attracts a large variety of bird species. Over 50 different species of birds have been sighted including, yellow warblers, great blue herons, egrets, gulls, terns, and sandpipers (NPCA No Date). This site is also important habitat for reptiles and amphibians (Frohlich 2010). In the woodlots that make up the wetland, numerous vegetation species have been noted by Brady (1980). These include for example, red, black and white ash, shagbark hickory, american beech and black cherry. Ground cover varies throughout the area and consists of arrow-wood, day-lilies, river-bank grape and fern spp., Identified Old Growth The Ministry of Natural Resources characterizes an old growth ecosystem “by the presence of old trees and their associated plants, animals, and ecological processes. They show little or no evidence of human disturbance” (MNR 1994). During an old growth forest survey conducted by the Bert Miller Nature Club during 2002 and 2003, the definition of an old growth forest used for purposes of their field work was “a natural community that has been continuously forested since before European Settlement, and that forest‟s canopy must be dominated by trees with ages of 150 years or older. Most old-growth forests have 8 or more trees per acre that are 150 years old or greater” (Bert Miller Nature Club 2004). In the Lake Erie North Shore Watershed study area, four old growth forests have been identified by the Bert Miller Nature Club. Marcy’s Woods, located at Point Abino, measures 65 acres of high quality (possibly virgin) old growth and has been identified as Niagara Peninsula‟s largest ancient forest and confirmed as the world‟s last known old growth black maple forest. In addition, it has also been designated as one of Carolinian Canada‟s signature sites. The Bert Miller Nature Club (2004) has also noted that Marcy‟s Woods is one of only 3 places where old growth hemlock grows on sand dunes and one of the only places known where Canadian yew thrives on sand dunes. The Canadian yew colonies in Marcy‟s Woods are probably 500 years old, possibly older. 57

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