RRCA Grassland Habitat Restoration in Cooper Marsh Conservation Area

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Provided by the Raisin Region Conservation Authority

Visitors to the Cooper Marsh Conservation Area in South Glengarry will be able to witness a grassland restoration project from start to finish, as the Raisin Region Conservation Authority (RRCA) is currently restoring a former hayfield at the eastern end of the swamp near County Road 2.

“Over time, this area has become overgrown with non-grassy and invasive species, which has significantly undermined the quality of the habitat,” says Jessica Herrington, RRCA Stewardship Coordinator.

The RRCA recently mowed the site and will prepare the ground this fall by deep plowing before seeding it with a mixture of native grasses selected in consultation with the community and indigenous partners.

“In addition to providing habitat for endangered species such as Bobolink and Eastern Meadowlark, grasslands can provide ecological benefits such as pollination by encouraging bees, butterflies and hummingbirds with regular sources of nectar, mitigating the effects of climate change by capturing and storing atmospheric carbon, and supporting biodiversity by providing habitat, shelter and food for a wide range of species,” adds Herrington.

The grassland restoration work is part of the Cooper Marsh Biodiversity Project, a multi-year RRCA effort to protect and enhance the marsh’s rich biodiversity through initiatives such as habitat planting and enhancement, pest control, invasive species, biodiversity monitoring and awareness raising. This project was undertaken with financial support from the Nature Smart Climate Solutions Fund, a program of the Government of Canada’s Department of Environment and Climate Change in partnership with Conservation Ontario. Funding was also provided by Ontario Power Generation.

The Cooper Marsh Conservation Area is nestled on the scenic north shore of the St. Lawrence River, a short drive from South Lancaster. The 663-acre wetland is home to a rich variety of plant and animal species and is part of the larger Charlottenburgh Marsh – one of the most significant wetlands in all of Ontario. The RRCA actively maintains, enhances and restores this natural space, which also includes blinds and lookout towers, as well as a five-kilometre network of nature walks and trails.

Homeowners looking to establish, improve or maintain their own grasslands within RRCA jurisdiction in Cornwall and surrounding SDG may now be eligible for funding of up to 100% of the cost of their project, through a new grassland stewardship offered by the RRCA through a partnership with Grasslands Ontario. The initiative complements other RRCA stewardship programs designed to improve forest cover, improve water quality, and conserve and restore sensitive ecological habitat. Interested owners are encouraged to contact Jessica Herrington at [email protected] or (613) 938-3611 ext. 228.

For more information, please visit rrca.on.ca or contact (613) 938-3611 or [email protected]

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