A provincially significant wetland will get a makeover this winter, thanks in part to a $55,000 grant from Wildlife Habitat Canada.
The Hutton Creek Marsh near Lombardy has become a monoculture: choked and overgrown with cattails, only 10 per cent of the marsh is now open water.
Crews will construct three 0.5 acre ponds and 500 metres of channels to help return the wetland to a healthier hemi-marsh state (50 per cent vegetation and 50 per cent open water).
This will provide new fish passages and areas for spawning and feeding, and will support critical life stages for amphibians, turtles and other wildlife. This healthier water-to-vegetation ratio is also ideal for waterfowl and would support the greatest biodiversity. Creating more open water will also restore local access for paddling, fishing and hunting.
Construction could begin as early as November. Crews will wait until the marsh has frozen to keep impacts to wildlife and water quality low.
This work is Phase 2 of a long-term project to bring the important wetland back to a more natural, productive state. In 2015, the nearby Motts Mills Dam was decommissioned and replaced with an earthen berm. In 2017, the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority (RVCA) lowered local water levels to help staff study the wetland and determine the best way to address the crowded cattails.
A dedicated group of local stakeholders made this project possible, including the RVCA, Ducks Unlimited Canada, Leeds and Grenville Stewardship Council and the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville (UCLG), which owns the property where the work will take place. Support of local residents has also been key to the project’s success.
The project is jointly funded by Wildlife Habitat Canada, Leeds and Grenville Stewardship Council, Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters Zone F, Ducks Unlimited Canada, UCLG, RVCA and the Rideau Valley Conservation Foundation.
The Wildlife Habitat Canada grant represents more than 40 per cent of the project’s total cost. The primary source of funding for the grant program is from the purchase of the Canadian Wildlife Habitat Conservation Stamp (Canadian Duck Stamp) by waterfowl hunters.
To learn more about how the Rideau Valley Conservation Foundation works to protect wetlands and waterways in the region, or to donate to the cause, visit www.rvcf.ca.
For more information about Motts Mills Conservation Area and the Hutton Marsh, visit https://www.rvca.ca/conservation-areas/no-fee-required/motts-mills-ca.