Ash-killing pest kick starts Spencer Creek rehab plan

Community Mar 24, 2016 by Richard Leitner Dundas Star News

The Hamilton Conservation Authority’s plan to make some modest habitat improvements to the stretch of lower Spencer Creek along the south side of Cootes Drive is being pushed into gear by the emerald ash borer.

Scott Peck, director of watershed planning and engineering, said he expects “a significant number” of ash trees killed by the pest – possibly 100 or more – to be cut down by the Spencer Creek Trail and adjacent swamp by the end of this month.

He said the work needs to be done as soon as possible because the trees are a safety hazard for the public and the nesting season for birds is about to begin.

“We want the community to be aware of, when they see some of those trees being removed, why they’re being removed, but it is part of an overall habitat enhancement project,” he said.

“We are replanting some, but not certainly the same amount that are being removed.”

Peck said the tree cutting offers the chance to begin a scaled-back rehabilitation effort in the area that includes creating turtle nesting spots and erecting a barrier along the edge of the swamp to try to keep turtles off of Cootes Drive.

The city and Royal Botanical Gardens have already installed a similar barrier on the north side of Cootes.

Peck said the rehab plan will also try to eradicate the swamp’s invasive phragmites by flattening and applying herbicide to the reed-like grass, which is taking over the area.

The goal is to “create that habitat for snakes, frogs and turtles, but also restore the swamp so you have the other flora and fauna that would be within that area,” he said.

Peck said the work will cost about $50,000, with roughly half funded through a grant from Sustain Our Great Lakes, a public-private partnership dedicated to improving fish and wildlife habitat.

He said the authority isn’t proceeding with a more ambitious transformation of the area announced in the fall of 2014 that had an estimated $1-million bill.

The plan back then also proposed to restore channelized sections of the creek to a more natural, meandering form and move the walking trail closer to Cootes Drive.

“We’re taking a step back from that and we’ve worked with our funders to suggest this as a substitution to the original project,” Peck said.

“We think this gives a bigger bang for the buck as far as addressing some habitat issues relating to the turtles but at the same time addressing the invasive species issues that at this point in time we think are a higher priority for the authority and the community.”

Ash-killing pest kick starts Spencer Creek rehab plan

Felling of dead trees expected by month’s end

Community Mar 24, 2016 by Richard Leitner Dundas Star News

The Hamilton Conservation Authority’s plan to make some modest habitat improvements to the stretch of lower Spencer Creek along the south side of Cootes Drive is being pushed into gear by the emerald ash borer.

Scott Peck, director of watershed planning and engineering, said he expects “a significant number” of ash trees killed by the pest – possibly 100 or more – to be cut down by the Spencer Creek Trail and adjacent swamp by the end of this month.

He said the work needs to be done as soon as possible because the trees are a safety hazard for the public and the nesting season for birds is about to begin.

“We want the community to be aware of, when they see some of those trees being removed, why they’re being removed, but it is part of an overall habitat enhancement project,” he said.

“We are replanting some, but not certainly the same amount that are being removed.”

“We are replanting some, but not certainly the same amount that are being removed.”

Peck said the tree cutting offers the chance to begin a scaled-back rehabilitation effort in the area that includes creating turtle nesting spots and erecting a barrier along the edge of the swamp to try to keep turtles off of Cootes Drive.

The city and Royal Botanical Gardens have already installed a similar barrier on the north side of Cootes.

Peck said the rehab plan will also try to eradicate the swamp’s invasive phragmites by flattening and applying herbicide to the reed-like grass, which is taking over the area.

The goal is to “create that habitat for snakes, frogs and turtles, but also restore the swamp so you have the other flora and fauna that would be within that area,” he said.

Peck said the work will cost about $50,000, with roughly half funded through a grant from Sustain Our Great Lakes, a public-private partnership dedicated to improving fish and wildlife habitat.

He said the authority isn’t proceeding with a more ambitious transformation of the area announced in the fall of 2014 that had an estimated $1-million bill.

The plan back then also proposed to restore channelized sections of the creek to a more natural, meandering form and move the walking trail closer to Cootes Drive.

“We’re taking a step back from that and we’ve worked with our funders to suggest this as a substitution to the original project,” Peck said.

“We think this gives a bigger bang for the buck as far as addressing some habitat issues relating to the turtles but at the same time addressing the invasive species issues that at this point in time we think are a higher priority for the authority and the community.”

Ash-killing pest kick starts Spencer Creek rehab plan

Felling of dead trees expected by month’s end

Community Mar 24, 2016 by Richard Leitner Dundas Star News

The Hamilton Conservation Authority’s plan to make some modest habitat improvements to the stretch of lower Spencer Creek along the south side of Cootes Drive is being pushed into gear by the emerald ash borer.

Scott Peck, director of watershed planning and engineering, said he expects “a significant number” of ash trees killed by the pest – possibly 100 or more – to be cut down by the Spencer Creek Trail and adjacent swamp by the end of this month.

He said the work needs to be done as soon as possible because the trees are a safety hazard for the public and the nesting season for birds is about to begin.

“We want the community to be aware of, when they see some of those trees being removed, why they’re being removed, but it is part of an overall habitat enhancement project,” he said.

“We are replanting some, but not certainly the same amount that are being removed.”

“We are replanting some, but not certainly the same amount that are being removed.”

Peck said the tree cutting offers the chance to begin a scaled-back rehabilitation effort in the area that includes creating turtle nesting spots and erecting a barrier along the edge of the swamp to try to keep turtles off of Cootes Drive.

The city and Royal Botanical Gardens have already installed a similar barrier on the north side of Cootes.

Peck said the rehab plan will also try to eradicate the swamp’s invasive phragmites by flattening and applying herbicide to the reed-like grass, which is taking over the area.

The goal is to “create that habitat for snakes, frogs and turtles, but also restore the swamp so you have the other flora and fauna that would be within that area,” he said.

Peck said the work will cost about $50,000, with roughly half funded through a grant from Sustain Our Great Lakes, a public-private partnership dedicated to improving fish and wildlife habitat.

He said the authority isn’t proceeding with a more ambitious transformation of the area announced in the fall of 2014 that had an estimated $1-million bill.

The plan back then also proposed to restore channelized sections of the creek to a more natural, meandering form and move the walking trail closer to Cootes Drive.

“We’re taking a step back from that and we’ve worked with our funders to suggest this as a substitution to the original project,” Peck said.

“We think this gives a bigger bang for the buck as far as addressing some habitat issues relating to the turtles but at the same time addressing the invasive species issues that at this point in time we think are a higher priority for the authority and the community.”