A Media Release from Bert Miller Nature Club
Town of Fort Erie Drainage Superintendent Brett Ruck was honoured at the March 19thmeeting of the Bert Miller Nature Club for fostering science, community involvement and intergovernmental cooperation through the innovative approach used for drain maintenance in Beaver Creek.
A project was initiated in 2009 through an innovative arrangement between the Town of Fort Erie, the Department of Fisheries & Oceans and several other partners, including the Friends of Fort Erie’s Creeks, and the Bert Miller Nature Club. The purpose of the project, called the Grass Pickerel Project, was to determine if there was a way to perform drainage work in Beaver Creek while promoting the protection of grass pickerel. This species, found in the creek, is at risk of disappearing from Canadian waters.
Over a period of two years a variety of data was gathered for two sections of creek. One where work was to occur and another which provided for a controlled comparison. The results of the study indicated nursery habitat for young fish was critical to maintaining grass pickerel populations. This habitat can be created with plantings to provide shelter from predators. The project has been widely recognized as a model that can be used by other municipalities as a way of performing necessary maintenance under the Drainage Act while protecting important habitat for resident species at risk of survival.
Drainage work began in the Fall of 2011. After the maintenance work has been performed, the grass pickerel will continue to be monitored and modifications to the work will be made as necessary to protect their population. The interesting data gathered through this project has created the opportunity for further study of the creek by regional academics.
Other participants in this project included the Ministry of Natural Resources, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food & Rural Affairs, the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority, the University of Guelph, Niagara College, Land Care Niagara, Urban & Environmental Management Inc, LCA Environmental, K Smart & Associates, Suda & Malesyk Surveying Inc., as well as cooperative Fort Erie landowners.
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