Operation Restoration at Glenorchy Conservation Area
The ecology and forestry team at Conservation Halton is working in collaboration with funding partners and the support of the community to restore the Glenorchy Conservation Area. When complete a rich landscape will have been created to blend in with the adjacent natural areas and it will be home to a diverse mix of plants and wildlife.
Glenorchy Conservation Area was established in 2008 and covers 400 hectares (approx 1000 acres) in north Oakville. CH is in the midst of an ambitious ten year plan to restore 170 hectares (approx 420 acres) of native forests, wetlands and grasslands. The site is managed by Conservation Halton through a long-term lease with the province with aims for natural heritage protection. This partnership is an integral part of the province’s Greenbelt in southern Ontario, and a recent announcement indicated the province wishes to expand it.
Prior to becoming a Conservation Area, these lands were devoted to a blend of agricultural and forest cover. Following its designation, CH began rehabilitating the area by working with community partners to map a vision to restore the natural habitat of this once natural landscape, through the Glenorchy Conservation Area Master Plan.
Partnership with Hydro One and Métis Nation of Ontario creating a home for wildlife
One such community partnership is a project involving Hydro One, the Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) and CH to establish 25 hectares (approx 60 acres) of pit and mound forest in Glenorchy as part of Hydro One’s Bruce to Milton Biodiversity Initiative. The project will expand the existing adjacent forest associated with Sixteen Mile Creek and will replicate its natural topography, habitats and ecological functions, creating a contiguous green space for local wildlife.
On a weekend early in November, 2012, 56 community volunteers planted more than 60 kg of tree seeds, removed invasive species and installed silt fence to support this restoration project. Volunteers came from the MNO, Field and Stream Rescue Team, Niagara College, Oakvillegreen Conservation Association and other community members.
An important design feature of this project is to reproduce the natural topography of the area through the creation of pits and mounds in the forest floor to restore a diverse and resilient ecosystem. John Vice, Chair of Conservation Halton noted, “This innovative technique will also significantly increase breeding habitat that is essential for the survival of many salamander and frog species that are native to this area.”
This year, the project between Hydro One, MNO and CH generated economic opportunities for construction works, heavy equipment operators, ecologists, and foresters. In addition it has created a demand for local businesses such as plant nurseries and restoration material suppliers.
The 2012 restoration scorecard and funding partners
CH and its community partners made good progress on its restoration goals in 2012 at Glenorchy. In terms of ecosystem restoration, the key numbers are:
- 24,000 trees planted
- 360 litres of tree and shrub seed
- 98 kilograms of wildflower and grass seed
Conservation Halton is grateful for the following organizations that supported restoration work at Glenorchy in 2012:
- Hydro One
- ALCOA Foundation and American Forests’ Global ReLeaf
- Trees Ontario
- Environment Canada’s Habitat Stewardship Program
- Shell Canada
- Town of Oakville
- Glenwood Trees Services
- Gosling Foundation
- HIVA Foundation
- Lunan Foundation
You can help Conservation Halton secure $100,000 through Shell’s Fuelling Change for Glenorchy
The Conservation Halton Foundation once again has a project in Shell’s Fuelling Change initiative. Songbird Meadows 2: Sparrow’s Green is the next phase of successful habitat restoration projects at Glenorchy. Sparrow’s Green is eligible to receive $100,000 but needs to finish in the top three of the category.
Thanks to your support, Conservation Halton Foundation received $50,000 for Songbird Meadows as it finished in the top four of Phase II voting for the category that concluded in April 2012. Those funds were used towards the restoration work noted above.
To vote for the Sparrow’s Green project you will need to register with Shell Fuelling Change, and all new sign-ups receive 10 votes; click here to see how you register and can earn extra votes. Voting closes on April 30, 2013. The Sparrow’s Green Project has three goals:
1. to create 61 acres of grassland meadows to support songbird species such as the Henslow’s Sparrow,
2. to create a 2 acre wetland to support waterfowl and amphibians like the Western Chorus Frog,
3. to create 16 acres of riparian habitat to increase water quality and wildlife corridors in the headwaters of Fourteen Mile Creek
Click here to learn more about Sparrow’s Green and see the good things that will happen with this project. You can create a green legacy in our community with your support, thank you.
Glenorchy Conservation Area is a key parcel of the North Oakville Natural Heritage System Core Lands. The primary purpose of the conservation area will be to preserve and enhance the natural heritage features of the lands such as creeks, valleys, and woodlots, and to restore some of the open area to unique habitats such as meadows and wetlands. This will enhance the property’s importance as a link to the Niagara Escarpment and other natural lands in the Greater Toronto Area Greenbelt.