Massive Wetland Creation Project Announced For Pelee Island
Sunday February 3rd, 2019
Posted at 3:58pm
The Nature Conservancy of Canada has announced plans to create a wetland on Pelee Island. This will be their largest wetland restoration project in Ontario.
The overall plan calls for a substantial 62-acre (25-hectare) wetland, restoring 20 acres (8 hectares) of native meadow, and plans to tackle invasive phragmites, and create new trails and signage to welcome island visitors and the local community.
Drained in the late 1800s, this former marsh once sheltered migratory songbirds and waterfowl. When complete, the wetland will also support migratory shorebirds such as semipalmated plover and spotted sandpipers, turtles, salamanders and a multitude of other species. The wetland will also provide critically important water retention, filtration and flood mitigation.
“Wetlands play an important role in the health of our country and our communities. They play a critical role in absorbing and storing carbon pollution,” says Julie Vasseur, acting program director, southwestern Ontario, for the non-profit. They also remove sediments, excess nutrients and even bacteria from our drinking water. Like a giant sponge, they absorb and hold water to buffer our cities and farms from floods and droughts – both of which are growing more common and extreme in recent years”.
The most southerly inhabited part of Canada, Pelee Island supports a high density of rare and at-risk species, including monarch, gray fox, yellow-breasted chat, blue ash, Lake Erie watersnake and blue racer snake. Some of these species are at the northern edge of their range, meaning that in Canada they are only found on Pelee Island.