Submitted by Brooke Harrison, BPBA
As the seasons are changing, the Biosphere Association is ending a busy field season and we would like to share some of our highlights. We started the season off with one of our longest running programs- salamander monitoring. Salamanders are sensitive creatures that allow us to track the environmental quality of forested versus disturbed areas. Through the summer, Neils Munk, Programs Director, installed 2 new solar powered cattle watering systems and 1.1km of new fencing to protect streams, with vegetation planting to stabilize streambanks. We worked closely with University of Windsor constructing a biomaterials-based filter to remove inorganic phosphorous from a manure contaminated water source for the cattle.
With the help of many volunteers, we planted 3,000 meters of windbreaks to help reduce soil erosion in agricultural lands. Additionally, we hosted students from Bruce Peninsula District School who helped us plant 600 trees at the headwaters of Judges Creek and 1,000 trees in Lindsay Tract.
For the third year, we helped address the issue of improperly functioning septic systems and their impact on water quality. We delivered septic system maintenance workshops to three communities, supported 30 septic system pumpouts and inspections, and the replacement of 10 failed systems.
Our volunteer-led monthly water sampling continued for a sixth year in the Six Streams area of Ferndale Flats, allowing us to document the improvements to stream water quality as we continue to tackle the sources of water impairment. Our monitoring of aquatic habitat quality, included seasonal benthic macroinvertebrates sampling and caffeine testing. Testing for caffeine helps determine if human waste is entering our watercourses through the improper functioning of septic systems because… cows don’t drink coffee! We have also added to the water quality information this year by monitoring the stream discharge and algae bloom occurrences along Judges Creek.
On the invasive Phragmites front, we had the help of over 60 volunteers this summer to manually control 125 sites on the Bruce Peninsula. We welcomed the amphibious cutter to Oliphant and the Fishing Islands to continue the control of the large shoreline invasion there and delivered informative workshops to community groups on how to control invasive Phragmites.
The Spring Earth Day event and our Fall Forest Fair were wonderful celebrations of our beautiful environment on the Bruce Peninsula – thank you to all who joined us.
We thank everyone who purchased a raffle ticket, winners have been contacted to arrange delivery of the wonderful prizes. From the septic workshops, to pasture meetings, to our Forest Fair, 2018 was filled with conservation, community building, and improved environmental conditions. Thank you to all the funders, volunteers and community members that made this year such a successful one. Happy Holidays and see you in 2019!
Support for these projects has been provided by Community Foundation Grey Bruce, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks, Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, Nature Conservancy of Canada, and Ontario Trillium Foundation. For more information on our projects, visit www.bpba.ca