In 2009, The Rural Lambton Stewardship Network (RLSN), Ducks Unlimited and St. Clair Township developed a project proposal to improve and enhance the fish and aquatic habitat values of a low-lying area within Branton Cundick Park. Historically, source waters from adjacent agricultural areas channeled through the park toward the outflow at the St. Clair River. Sediment had built-up along the outflow area, between the road culvert and the river.
The project involved sediment removal at the outflow point allowing for a connection from the St. Clair River to newly excavated wetland areas. The creation of wetland areas with connectivity to the river have provided fish spawning habitat and habitat for other wetland dependent species. In 2016, northern pike were spotted utilizing the wetlands.
The spoil from the excavation was spread on the open areas adjacent to the wetlands and was planted with native tallgrass prairie to act as a riparian buffer, help minimize erosion and provide wildlife habitat. The remaining ditch channel was also planted with native vegetation to filter surface water entering the St. Clair River.
Native tallgrass prairie plugs, grown by RLSN and planted by summer students from the Ministry of Natural Resources stewardship program, have been planted along the edge of the wetland. This area, due to its location along part of the St Clair River trail, acts as a demonstration and educational area for the public to increase awareness of the importance of protecting and enhancing fish and aquatic habitat. Interpretative signs have been installed throughout the project location as well.
Prescribed burns play an important role in the success of native tallgrass prairie establishment as it is a fire-dependent ecosystem. Burns help control woody invasive species and blacken the soil so native plants can establish earlier in the spring. Branton Cundick Park has been burned twice since 2010 and with great success.
If you are in the neighbourhood and would like more information regarding this pollinator park please feel free to contact Ontario NativeScape.
Land Stewardship Manager