Breaking Down Barriers
You may have seen some construction vehicles near Sheppard’s Bush in Aurora this past fall. They were creating a safe passage for brook trout along a tributary of the East Holland River and replacing the old bridge. The bridge, which had seen better days, was constructed years ago when the old Mill was in working order. It was no longer considered safe for people or vehicular traffic, and underneath there was a steep ramp creating a blockage, not allowing the fish to pass through.
In order to ensure no fish were injured during the course of construction, a fish rescue was planned. Staff blocked off a portion of the creek and safely relocated the fish to another part of the stream. A cultural heritage study of this area was also completed and it revealed old pieces of the Mill were used in the original construction of the bridge. A small portion of the bridge was saved to preserve its history and will be displayed beside the new bridge, post-construction.
Now that the project is complete, the fish can safely pass through and the bridge is safe for pedestrians to cross.
Look out for the Trout!
Brook trout in the Lake Simcoe watershed are able to thrive in cool and barrier free streams thanks to overwhelming community response and funding from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Recreational Fishery Community Partner Program and the Lake Simcoe Conservation Foundation.
Over the last three years, goals for the number of streambank projects were surpassed, going above and beyond expectations.
The success of the Fish Habitat Restoration Project was due to a new collaborative approach including a fresh new marketing campaign, combined with scientific research and geographic information system mapping, to identify and invite landowners, who have brook trout on their property, to a community workshop. At the session, numerous landowners enthusiastically signed up for site visits and with their help, work began on a number of projects. Thanks to 21 landowners, 1826 metres of streambank was restored and 1542 native trees and shrubs were planted to create cool and inviting environments for brook trout to spawn, live and thrive into the future.
What the WHPA?
In the spring, we partnered with the Town of Newmarket to give the Magna Centre parking lot a makeover.
It was the first project to use wellhead protection area (WHPA-Q2) compensation funds. The local source water protection plan requires new development to achieve a water balance. If this cannot be achieved, compensation is required for another project at a site nearby.
Prior to construction, stormwater from the western paved entrance of the Magna parking lot flowed unfiltered into the stormwater management pond nearby and eventually into Bogart Creek. When left unfiltered, stormwater carries pollutants and contaminants into our creeks and streams and eventually into Lake Simcoe.
The five low impact development features installed as part of the project included grass swales with drain inlets (cuts in the concrete curb) that direct rain water away from catch basins and into the swales. Once the water enters the swale, it’s directed down into a perforated piping system that is surrounded by a layer of clear free draining stone. The stone can store large amounts of water and allows it to drain slowly into the native soils below, helping to recharge the aquifer.
WHPA-Q2 refers to the area where activities that reduce recharge may be a threat.