The (re)Making of a Marvelous Meadow
A unique new home for birds and butterflies coming soon to Rogers Reservoir
Restoring a former glory
It's estimated that 99% of grasslands (including meadows) have been cleared from landscapes in southern Ontario. The four hectare patch we're restoring at Rogers Reservoir will help increase this very threatened habitat. From grazing cattle to growing hay, the once rich-diversity of plant and animal species has suffered. The hardened compacted soil now only supports a few non-native and invasive plants.
Through the support of partners including the Town of East Gwillimbury and the Lake Simcoe Conservation Foundation, we're excited to undertake a transformative restoration project at the south east corner of Mt. Albert and Yonge St.
Meadow Restoration at Rogers Reservoir
This native meadow will be a sight to behold - you'll be able to see this beautiful landscape from the Nokiidaa Trail on the north side of the river, but a newly meandering trail will also allow you to explore up close. As we move forward with this project, there may be opportunities to participate in meetings, plantings, guided walks and more.
Make sure you join the Rogers Reservoir mailing list to stay informed of upcoming opportunities.
Fall 2020 - Planting Native Grasses and Wildflowers
Native grasses and wildflowers are being planted using a seed drill, to help plant the seed at the correct soil depth, in the East and West Meadow.
Why do we plant seeds in the fall? Fall is the best time to seed for native grasses and wildflowers because it allows the seeds to naturally establish over the winter and assists with germination the following spring. When seeds are exposed to cold winter months, it helps break down seed dormancy and promotes early germination, improving seed establishment in the spring when conditions are just right. Seeding in the Fall also mimics mother nature, as most grasses and wildflowers naturally release seeds in the fall and don't begin to grow again until the following year in the Spring.
The seed mixes we're planting contain a variety of native grasses and wildflowers, including Canada Wild Rye, Big Bluestem, Blue Vervain, Black-Eyed Susan, Grey-headed Coneflower, Wild Bergamot and Evening Primrose. Additional seeding will continue in 2021 and 2022.
Altogether, the minimum anticipated length for this project's completion is four years.
As we get started we ask that visitors and their pets respect all posted signage, follow detour routes and stay out of areas under restoration.
Four New Unique Habitats are Coming!
- The new 1 hectare The West Meadow area will feature beautiful native grasses and will be the perfect habitat for nesting birds, like the Eastern Meadowlark and Bobolink.
- The 2 hectare East Meadow section will be the largest of the four and will include picturesque pollinator-friendly plants such as Butterfly Milkweed and Wild Bergamot.
- A Wet Meadow Marsh 0.7 hectares in size will help retain water during wet spells and allow moisture-loving plants like Swamp Milkweed to thrive.
- The 0.15 hectare Western Chorus Frog Habitat will be made up of a seasonal body of water surrounded by native plants and shrubs to entice many types of frogs and other amphibians to take up residence.
The location of this project also supports other nearby meadow restoration efforts undertaken in the past couple of years. This newest project will complement nearby grassland restoration projects including those completed at the Holland Landing Lagoons and the Bendor and Graves Tract.
What's a meadow? What does it do?
Eastern Meadowlark © Emily Fikkert
A meadow is a landscape consisting of grasses and wildflowers and not woody plants or trees. There are different kinds of grasslands each providing distinctive ecological roles and habitats for different animals. These grasslands include meadows, prairies, oak savannahs or even pastures and hay fields.
Meadows are vital to a healthy and resilient ecosystem for many reasons.
- They have a great ability to store a large amount of carbon and release it very slowly, mitigating the effects of climate change.
- The deep roots of meadow species help not only filter contaminants that accumulate in run off, they also absorb more water and therefore prevent flooding.
- Meadows provide excellent habitat for a number of birds who will not nest elsewhere and are therefore at-risk: the Eastern Meadowlark and the Bobolink.
- The numerous native flowering plants that make up a meadow benefit pollinators, like bees and butterflies, who are essential to produce the food we eat.
Perhaps most noticeable of all to us, a meadow is a sight to behold year around: from the long swaying grasses of Big Blue Stem and Indian Grass, and the colourful flowers and winged visitors of the spring, summer, and fall.
The abundance of types of plants is more than just beautiful; it helps encourage biodiversity as a whole. With the increasing urbanization and fragmentation of our watershed, conservation of our local grasslands is critical.
If you have questions or would like more information about this project, contact Lori McLean, Restoration Project Specialist at l.mclean@LSRCA.on.ca or 905-895-1281.