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The Nature Conservancy of Canada would like to send a huge “thank you!” for helping us cut down invasive Scotch pine at the Riverbend property on October 27!
With your help our small but mighty group spent a mild fall day removing small and mid-sized Scotch pines from about 1.5 acres (0.6 ha) of forest and meadow. By removing these invasive trees we made space for native plants (like those scattered white pine!) to grow, and the brush piles we built will create new habitat for birds and other wildlife.
Walking through the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC)’s Riverbend property, visitors can see why the area is so special: a long stretch of high quality shoreline along the Maitland River; cliffs that host old, slow-growing cedars; deciduous forests containing southern species, such as common hackberry and northern spice-bush. Unfortunately, the property also hosts an unwelcome visitor: Scotch pine.
Scotch pine (or, if you prefer – Scots pine) was originally brought over from Europe to help stabilize soil and reduce erosion. Unfortunately, the species was a bit too hardy, and today Scotch pine is considered an invasive species throughout eastern North America. Regenerating Scotch pine fills in open areas and crowds out the native plants that should be growing there. On the Riverbend property, it has established along the trail sides and we need your help to get rid of it!
On Friday, October 27, we’re looking for volunteers to help us remove this invasive tree from the trailside. We’ll be cutting down small Scotch pine using hand saws and loppers. NCC will provide gloves and tools, but feel free to bring your own. To learn more or to sign up, please visit: https://events.natureconservancy.ca
The weather was sunny and hot but great, with absolutely no bugs at our location. Dan Burns loaned us his Kubota side-by-side which Tom used to deliver people and supplies to the site. We logged 150 hikers through the day and, being only 2 km from the finish, every one of them was delighted to find a place to rest with slices of watermelon, desert sweets and cold water waiting for them. Almost as exciting was the chance to use a spotless outhouse close by. We went through 9 watermelons, piles of cookies baked by the ladies of the LMSG (thanks out to Beth, Rachel, Laurie and Paula) and countless water bottle fill-ups. All the hikers were nuts over the watermelon and snacks but a real show stopper was Paula’s Frozen Grapes on a Stick!
Thanks Tom, Cara, Paula and Wayne for helping the hikers and giving them something more to remember about their trip.
The 7 lady hikers posing for me in the group shot are hoping we post the picture on our website so “they can make a copy and have it forever!”.
Photos and article submitted by Barrie Elliott, landowner along the Maitland River
On Saturday July 8th, about 40 people gathered in Goderich to talk about Phragmites: what it is, why it’s a problem, and what we can do about it. Phragmites is Canada’s worst invasive species, and it is starting to be seen more frequently in Huron County. It is found most often where there is water – along roadsides, in agricultural drains, and in rivers and wetlands.
The take home messages from the day?
- Phragmites grows and spreads very quickly. It’s damaging our environment by displacing native plants and animals. It hurts tourism by invading beaches and rivers, and agriculture by preventing water flow.
- There are several ways to control Phragmites, including spading, chemical control, burning, rolling, and drowning. The best method depends on the site, and it’s likely you’ll have to work for several years to fully get rid of it.
- Phragmites is a BIG problem in other areas and is expensive to control if it’s well established. We need to ACT NOW to prevent it from becoming a big problem in Huron County.
- Working together is our best chance to get rid of this invasive plant from our community!
The Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority can advise landowners on control methods for Phragmites, and are available to spray Phragmites (if that is the appropriate method) on a fee for service basis. Contact Kate Monk at 519-235-2610.
Our three incredible speakers made the day a great success. Dr. Janice Gilbert is Ontario’s leading Phragmites expert. She has done extensive research on the effect of Phragmites on Ontario’s wetland ecosystems, and has been travelling across the province to talk about why it’s important to control Phragmites and the impacts it could have if we don’t take action. Nancy Vidler is passionate and determined about mobilizing communities to remove Phragmites. She is an active member of the Lambdon Shores Phragmites Community Group, which has done extensive work to eradicate Phrag. Lynn Short is a Professor at Humber College and has been removing Phragmites using a ‘spading technique’, which she demonstrated to the group at the Hindmarsh property.
We were pleased to co-host the Phragmites information session and demonstration with the Lake Huron Centre for Coastal Conservation, and Maitland Conservation. The day would not have been possible without the support of the John Hindmarsh Environmental Trust Fund.
The meeting place for the river clean up is on North Harbour Road, at the base of the Menesetung Bridge trail. See you there at 11!
Thank you to everyone who joined us to get Back to Blacker. We had a little bit of rain to cool us down while we planted 400 hardwood trees.
The good news was we had lots of helping hands. From people who helped prepare the site ahead of time (mowing, digging holes), to moving trees around the site, trucking in mulch, and of course getting the trees in the ground, it truly took a team effort to get everything done.
Now each of us can watch the trees grow up as we make our trips in and out of town. The trees have had a good drink of water in the rain we had last week.
Thank you once again to everyone who contributed to the tree planting event. We’d also like to acknowledge the leadership and hard work of our partners at the Nature Conservancy of Canada. It’s been fun!
Photos were provided by Mike Francis (NCC).
Where? Blacker Property on Highway 8 (Huron Road), 5 km from Goderich. The property is owned and managed by the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC).
When? May 7, 2016, 11:30am to 3pm
To register, click here.
Join NCC, HSC, and Maitland Valley Conservation Authority staff on Saturday May 7th as we go ‘Back to Blacker‘ to continue our restoration of a former agricultural field to a beautiful mixed forest characteristic of the Lower Maitland River Valley. By planting native deciduous trees to augment the restoration of the area we’ll be increasing the overall size and quality of the forest on the Blacker property as well as creating more habitat for area sensitive bird species.
No previous experience is required, but but participants should dress for the conditions: wear sturdy closed-toe shoes (steel toes if possible), long pants, comfortable clothing you don’t mind getting dirty, and a hat. Please bring your own lunch and refillable water bottle. You may also bring your own work gloves, if you have them.
NCC will provide work gloves for those who need them as well as extra snacks and water. There will be no on-site washroom facilities at this event. Additional event details, including directions and parking information will be provided after registration.
The Lower Maitland River Valley Natural Area is one of the largest areas of natural cover in southern Ontario. It is a physically diverse landscape of cliffs, forests and seepage areasproviding habitat for many species, including some of which are globally and/or provincially rare. NCC has acquired a number of properties in the area in an effort to conserve and maintain these features, including the Blacker Property. The property contains a wide range of interesting species, including the endangered butternut tree.
If you’d like to carpool to the event, please click here, https://www.groupcarpool.com/t/7xipyk to add your car or join a ride going to the event. There is also a waitlist feature if there isn’t a ride there yet that works for you. Happy carpooling!
NCC would like to thank the Edge Renewal Fund and Huron Clean Water Program for their generous support of this CV event.
We hope you can join us for our spring and summer events. The details about these events will be posted closer to the date, but for now make sure you have them marked in your calendars.
May 7 – Tree planting at the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s Blacker property, on Highway 8 between Clinton and Goderich. (Rain Date: May 14)
June 11 – Brenda Gallagher from the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority will be leading us on a tour to learn more about the NCC’s newly acquired Riverbend property. Brenda is very knowledgeable about plants and along our route will be able to discuss plant species, their history, ecology, folklore, medicinal uses, etc. We’re fortunate she has offered to lead our outing!
Join us for the Lower Maitland River Video release! At the Maitland Trail Association AGM, we will present the debut screening of the video that has been created over the past year. We’re so excited for everyone to see the breathtaking shots in this video.
We’ll see you there!
For the third year in a row, the Lower Maitland Stewardship Group sponsored the Cherrydale checkpoint at the El Camino event. Hosted by the Maitland Trail Association, the ‘El Camino’ is a hiking journey from Auburn to Goderich along the entire length of the Maitland Trail. The event was held the weekend of September 26-27, 2015.
At Cherrydale, hikers were greeted by Barrie Elliott, Tom Lobb, Laurie Ginn, Rhea Hamilton-Seeger, and Klaus Seeger with homemade treats and ‘souvenir’ LMSG postcards showing the unique and sensitive plants and animals that can be found along the Lower Maitland River.
The LMSG checkpoint at Cherrydale was 27 km in to the 30 km hike. This year, 250 hikers participated in the event, both from the area and out of town. The checkpoint gave us a chance to spread the word about our group, showcase the rare species that rely on the Maitland, and promote good stewardship!