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Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority

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A photograph of the new wetland at Rogers Reservoir. ​​

Wetland Wonderland

​You know you must be doing something right when the local media comment on one of your newest projects as “winning the lottery”. 

That’s how one of our local media personalities described our purchase and creation of a wetland in Rogers Reservoir, a project that began in 2017 and was completed in June of this year with a grand opening celebration in October. 

Thanks to a new program implemented last year, we were able to fund a brand new wetland feature and habitat in East Gwillimbury, the first of its kind in our watershed. The Rogers Reservoir Wetland Restoration Project was funded through our new Ecological Offsetting Program, with a price tag of nearly $600,000.

The new 1.06 hectare wetland is located beside the Nokiidaa Trail, a quick 10 minute walk from its entrance at Mount Albert Sideroad and Old Yonge Street. The location was carefully chosen because of its seasonally wet nature, making it a perfect location to be transformed into a habitat for local and migrating wildlife. Natural features added include enhanced and expanded forests, meadows, a snake hibernaculum and even a sandy shoreline for turtles to nest. Visitors to the wetland area can watch wildlife from the new boardwalk and viewing platform, and if they’re lucky, will see wood ducks, snapping turtles, painted turtles, green frogs, spring peepers, mayflies, water boatman and dragonflies. ​

The wetland wouldn’t be complete without creating a space for an education component. An outdoor classroom was built at the site, which is within walking distance to two local schools. In June, a kindergarten class from a nearby school walked to the wetland classroom and released monarch butterflies that they had lovingly raised in their classroom. 

To celebrate this major milestone, an official opening was held in late October. We invited the public and project partners to join us for a Halloween-themed tree planting. Many community members came out, in Halloween costumes, to participate in a variety of family-friendly activities and to plant trees. 

Through LSRCA’s permitting process, the Ecological Offsetting Program requires the funding support of developers. Funds collected under the program are applied to projects that will either create or restore natural heritage features within the watershed. The program’s effectiveness lies in the fact that the funding model requires projects that offset the impacts of development on a 2.5:1 ratio—meaning LSRCA can add or restore more natural features than were removed during development.