First phase of streambank restoration completed
Ausable Bayfield Conservation, Ontario Streams restore streambank, working with Southcott Pines in Grand Bend
Restoration of streambank undertaken in October 2020 to help protect important Old Ausable Channel ecosystem
Ausable Bayfield Conservation has completed the first phase of a streambank restoration project in partnership with Ontario Streams and Southcott Pines Park Association (SPPA). Staff from the three organizations completed the restoration work on October 1, 2020.
“It was exciting to work with the Southcott Pines community on this project,” said Rosalind Chang, Healthy Watersheds Technician with Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA). “We were pleased to complete the first phase of the stream restoration project.” The restoration of more than 100 feet (36 metres) of riverbank will help to reduce erosion, protect water quality, and protect species at risk fish and turtle species in the important Old Ausable Channel (OAC) ecosystem.
The work supports implementation of the federally-approved Ausable River Action Plan (ARAP).
“The Government of Canada is dedicated to the protection and recovery of aquatic species at risk,” said the Honourable Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans, and the Canadian Coast Guard. “Through the Canada Nature Fund for Aquatic Species at Risk, we have partnered with the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority to protect the aquatic habitat in the Ausable River. We are excited to learn that phase one of the streamside restoration project has been completed. The restoration of streambanks to reduce erosion will mitigate one of the main threats to the fish species.”
The work on the streamside project was made possible with funding from the Canada Nature Fund for Aquatic Species at Risk (Fisheries and Oceans Canada) and the dedication of SPPA, according to ABCA.
The first step in the project is to make an area along the channel bank where native plants can grow.
“When we restore the streambank and reduce erosion this helps to keep the water clean and to reduce floating sediment and to limit turbidity,” Chang said. “Restoring a streambank has benefits for property owners because soil won’t wash away as much in a heavy rain.”
The buffer work completed in October will also make it harder for geese to walk up the bank. The buffer also helps to filter water runoff, reducing the amount of pollutants and chemicals entering the channel. Phase Two includes a proposed planting of native shrubs in the spring.
“This vegetation provides habitat but it also shelters and provides shade for the water, keeping the temperatures cool,” according to Chang. “Cooler temperatures often mean more oxygen in the water and that’s something we need for the fish,” she said. “Here in the Old Ausable Channel we do have problems with low oxygen and we want to do everything we can to increase the health of the channel.”
Other current projects between SPPA and ABCA include a dissolved oxygen concentration study, as well as a long-term water sampling program to monitor nutrient levels.
To find out more about the restoration project please visit: oldausablechannel.ca, abca.ca or ontariostreams.on.ca.
This project was undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada. Ce projet a été realisé avec l'appui financier du gouvernement du Canada