In 2021, our restoration team completed over 100 projects across the Lake Simcoe watershed. From stormwater retrofits, Low Impact Development, to meadow enhancements and online pond removals, we continue to make critical on the ground improvements.
Here are some of our favourite projects from 2021 or if you’re interested you can check out our 2021 Year in Review video.
1. Green Lane Low Impact Development
In partnership with the Town of East Gwillimbury, we completed a low impact development retrofit at the Green Lane Parking lot of the Rogers Reservoir Conservation Area.
The previous parking lot, made of an impervious, hard-packed gravel layer, made it difficult for water to soak into the ground. During major storm events, the runoff from the large surrounding area would flow across the parking lot, picking up pollutants along the way. So, we resurfaced this parking lot and added a bioretention swale which filters up to 454 cubic metres of stormwater during each major storm event, while reducing the amount of phosphorus and sediment reaching the river.
2. Restoration Designs
An important aspect of each of our restoration projects is developing designs for construction. In partnership with private landowners, we are designing conceptual plans to retrofit the 404 Town Centre in the Town of Newmarket and Bayfield Mall property in the City of Barrie. Both designs offer options for the implementation of low impact development (LID) features to help infiltrate water into the ground.
These properties were selected because during significant precipitation events, the runoff from the surrounding areas would flow across the parking lot negatively impacting nearby creeks. Once these improvements are implemented, they will allow stormwater to reduce runoff volume and erosion to Kidd’s Creek and tributary of the East Holland River and Eastern Creek. These construction projects can now move forward in 2022 or 2023.
3. Restoring Kettleby Creek
Together with various partners, we funded the removal of a dam and restoration of a portion of Kettleby Creek that runs through Kettleby Valley Camp. The removal of the dam allows coldwater fish such as brook trout to migrate through the creek unhindered. It also reconnects endangered redside dace to their spawning habitat, enhances the genetic stock of fish populations and reduces thermal impacts. Natural watercourses, with their vegetated flood plains and meandering channels, also help to slow the rate of water flow and provide ideal habitat for all life stages of fish populations.
This project resulted in the restoration of 60 metres of stream and 120 metres of riparian buffer, along with 130 potted shrubs planted, 500 live stakes installed and a total area 1,500 m2 being seeded with native grasses and wildflowers.
4. Community Action
After a year long pause, due to the pandemic, we were excited to get back to work with our community volunteers and partners in 2021! Together, we completed 27 Community Action projects with over 275 dedicated volunteers planting a total of 6,716 native trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants. We also worked with four schools to plant native trees and shrubs that will help enhance their schoolyards and create outdoor learning spaces. It also provided the opportunity for students to connect with nature and explore the natural environment.
The 27 Community Action projects not only improved wildlife and pollinator habitat, but they also increased biodiversity, helped store carbon, protected our streambanks and created shade in urban environments. If you are interested in volunteering at a tree planting event in 2022 or organizing your own event, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our Community Action page.
5. Retrofitting a Stormwater Pond in Barrie
We have partnered with the City of Barrie to help improve localized stormwater by retrofitting a dry stormwater pond to increase infiltration and improve water quality. This will be achieved through the implementation of a treatment train which includes the installation of an underground vault chamber storage/infiltration facility as well as a twin unit oil/grit separator running in parallel. The site location is ideal for this type of retrofit as the native soils are sandy and pervious with a water table that is over 7 metres deep. The environmental benefits of this project will include:
- 16,789 m3/year of additional storm water Infiltration
- 10.43 kg/year of additional phosphorus reduction
- Reduction to downstream peak flows at Kidd’s Creek
- Reduction in thermal impacts to Kidd’s creek through the promotion of infiltration
6. Working with Livestock Farmers
This past year we saw increased uptake in our agricultural funding categories: restricting livestock from watercourses and managing manure and milkhouse waste. The implementation of these projects protected 320 metres of streambank from erosion caused by livestock access and prevented 488.7 kilograms of phosphorous from entering our waterways. We assisted in creating 7,723,280 litres of storage capacity for manure and milkhouse waste and improved conditions for 125 dairy cows, 25 beef cows and 6 horses.
7. Farming in the Holland Marsh
In 2021, we continued to support farmers in the Holland Marsh by completing projects that help conserve and protect value muck soil. Farmers completed projects like seeding cover cropsto help control wind and water erosion, prevent soil loss and reduce weed competition. Cover crops can also help improve the overall health of the soil and replenish nutrients. Some farmers installed de-dirting equipment on their carrot harvesters. Another farmer installed a closed loop wash water treatment system for their vegetable processing plant. This system reduces the amount of water used to wash the vegetables by approx. 5,019,456 litres/year and prevents discharge from the processing plant into the local drainage ditch and the West Holland River subwatershed.
8. Prescribed Burns
In 2021, LSRCA supported the restoration of 11.4 hectares of native grasslands by providing funding for two low complexity-controlled burns. A prescribed burn is a deliberately set and carefully controlled low fire that consumes dried leaves, small twigs and grass stems, but does not harm larger trees. Fire therefore is an effective tool in the management of grassland habitat and the suppression of invasive species.
The first burn took place on 2.4 hectares at the Maple Cross Nature Reserve in the Township of King, which is owned and managed by the Oak Ridges Moraine Land Trust. The second burn took place on 9 hectares at Innisfree, located on the south side of Degrassi Point in the Town of Innisfil. In addition to funding these two projects, one of our staff completed burn boss training so that we can plan and implement more burns in the future.
9. Reducing Surface Water Runoff to Lake Simcoe
With Phase 1 of the runoff-reduction study complete in 2019, we were ready to make some major improvements at a Beaverton Farm in 2020 and 2021. Grassed waterways, water and sediment control basins, buffer plantings, windbreaks, and new ditches, are all among the various new features installed to reduce the amount of phosphorus, sediment, and other contaminants from reaching Lake Simcoe.
We’ve recently completed the Phase 2 of the study which looked at the remaining parcels owned by the Beaverton Farm. Like Phase 1, the plan will outline recommended agricultural surface water improvements to be implemented in the future. In 2021, 35% of the projects completed by the Restoration team directly addressed and reduced sedimentation from occurring to help protect our streams and the lake.
10. Increasing Biodiversity and Creating Pollinator Habitat
In 2021, we completed 102 projects to help improve water quality and quantity, conserve soil and enhance our natural heritage system. Having a greater biodiversity of species leads to a healthier and more stable ecosystem.
- 75% of the completed projects help increase biodiversity
- 66% of the projects we completed enhanced pollinator habitat
- 58.9 hectares of pollinator habitat for bees, small insects and birds
Our projects included planting native trees, shrubs, wildflowers and grasses, seeding grasslands and planting native gardens, all which benefit the pollinator species in the Lake Simcoe watershed. These projects are important, no matter what their size.
Lake Simcoe Conservation Foundation
Our work wouldn’t be possible without the generous support of the Lake Simcoe Conservation Foundation. Each year, the Foundation supports environmental programs and projects that help support our vision of a cleaner and healthier Lake Simcoe watershed.
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