Blanding’s turtles, Painted turtles, Western Chorus frogs, Leopard frogs and Yellow-Spotted salamanders. No this isn’t an introduction to a kid’s woodland amphibians project. Rather, these are only some of the species South Nation Conservation (SNC) is hoping to help through its latest restoration efforts in the Larose Forest.
The project aims to restore wetlands to a former red pine plantation site that was cut down four years ago. Remnants from the 1920s and 1930s—when the land was used for agriculture—make for a challenge. There are still long, straight ditches that are funneling water off the site. SNC will be working to restore those to more “meandering channels,” says Michelle Cavanagh, SNC’s stewardship team leader. That way, she says, “You’re creating more variety in the habitat.”
The slower streams will also help reduce erosion currently felt after the plantation was cut down.
The project comes as a three-year partnership mainly between SNC, Ontario Power Generation and the United Counties of Prescott and Russell and will cost about $264,000.
This first year is dedicated to restoring the ditches. That will will SNC to create open pools for amphibians and reptiles to use as breeding grounds. These grounds will be key to try and help bring back species like the blanding turtle that are considered endangered.
In the last year, teams will be planting shrubs to attract pollinators like butterflies, bees and dragonflies, and monitoring to see what effects its had on habitat.
Cavanagh says SNC has worked on a similar project before with good results.
“It’s really neat to see (species) come once you build this thing,” she says. “We’re hoping to see the same sort of thing in Larose Forest.”
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