Silver Creek Wetland headed for full & complete protection
The Silver Creek Wetland, the most important coastal wetland on southern Georgian Bay, now has the backing of both municipalities with jurisdiction over its area. The Collingwood Town Council and The Blue Mountains Council have both passed motions in support of a proposal to protect the Wetland in perpetuity.
“The Silver Creek Wetland – A Vision for the Future” Plan has been put forward to the Councils as well as the Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority (NVCA) and the Grey Sauble Conservation Authority (GSCA). This was presented to the Niagara Escarpment Commission (NEC) in November. The Plan would transfer management of the Wetland and its sensitive portions—those that by law must remain unaltered—to the NVCA.
“The NVCA is the logical steward for this delicate ecosystem,” says Norman Wingrove, President of the Watershed Trust. “Without their monitoring and management, adjacent development will degrade the area, diminishing its ability to provide healthy habitat for birds, turtles, fish and mammals.”
Motions in principle put to the test
Now that concerned municipalities have signed on to the Plan, it’s just a matter of time to see how well it works. Don Kerr, Watershed Trust Director and spokesperson on this issue, is optimistic. “The next time a developer submits plans to build on property that includes protected Wetland area, we can expect Collingwood or TBM planning staff to encourage the re-deeding of that portion to the Conservation Authority,” he says. “With wetlands management out of their hands, they are free to talk up the Wetland, its trails, observation posts and tranquillity as a selling point to prospective homeowners.”
The Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) first evaluated the Wetland in 1985 as provincially significant. There was a re-evaluation in 1995 which confirmed the provincially significant designation and complexed (put three areas together as one wetland). The fear of encroachment, however, is real. The Wetland is located in the north-western corner of the Town of Collingwood and the north-eastern corner of The Blue Mountains, straddling Osler Bluff Road and Long Point Road where they approach Georgian Bay. The Wetland is a rich, bio-diverse area that improves water quality, provides habitat for hundreds of species of bird, reptile and mammal, and reduces erosion. It spans just over 165 hectares and has survived waves of proposed development since the 1980s.
Nature League was working with the Georgian Trails group in putting together three signs to be placed along the the Georgian Trail & to help celebrate the Trail's 25th Anniversary ( 2014).The Georgian Trail Association paid for the signs; the Nature League ( Gary /Lois Cauthers & Janet Howden) provided the Display information. The first of these signs is now in place. It is the "SILVER CREEK / WETLAND " sign & can be viewed next to the Silver Creek bridge about a 40 minute walk on the Georgian Trail west from Canadian Tire. The sign stresses the importance of the Silver Creek & the Silver Creek Wetland Complex. Have a look !!
The remaining two signs should be in place by the time you receive the Fall Newsletter : one will be installed next to the trail bridge in Thornbury. Its theme is ESCARPMENT / BAY & one " FLORA / FAUNA will be placed just east of Meaford on the Georgian Trail.
The signs fit the Nature League mandate of " promoting an awareness & appreciation of our natural surroundings ". The signs recognize the Nature League & by means of a QR code provide access to League information.
The Nature League is grateful to Richard Rood, Murray Knowles & the Georgian Cycle and Ski Trail Association for this wonderful opportunity.
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