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creek breach

Posted on: August 26, 2009

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the topic of water source protection brought us to the York Region in Newmarket today to listen to the South Georgian Bay Lake Simcoe Source Protection program. here you see Brook talking to us about the creek in the Eastern Creek Naturalisation Project under the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority.

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to breakdown the complicated scenario here, we have urban development located on a floodplain that can potentially flood; a man-made pond introduced into the middle of a natural creek (that is unmanaged nor maintained); manicured lawns that perimeter the creek and pond that allow all rainwater to drain directly into the creek/pond without filtration; and water runoff from urban development (carparks and buildings surround the area).

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this is how the creek looks like now, and the vegetation has grown back in part because of the efforts of the LSRCA. one of the main methods that have worked really well seemingly (it has only been a year since they’ve done it) is to place Willow and Red Osier Dogwood clippings into a fascine. growth from the clippings then strengthen the soil and earth structure around the bank, and prevent erosion. 

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this is the fascine visible from where i’m standing. you can also notice that the water is pretty clear, not very turbid or silty. the stream floods when heavy rains arrive, and when it floods the erosion isn’t too bad because of the fascines and because manicuring of the banks isn’t done anymore. planting of vegetation that is able to tolerate water as well as salt (salt that comes from road salt used on the snow in winter to make roads more manageable) is planted, so not just any plant will do.

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fishes are present too! he didn’t mention too much about whether frogs and other animals were here though. fish population doesn’t seem much affected by the management work done on the creek and ponds (largely because they took a very short time to work – in these situations working as fast as possible and staying in the river as short a time as possible is important).

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wood chips placed on the ground also help retain moisture for the plant as well as prevent the grasses from overcrowding the woody vegetation that they want growing there. ingenious eh? (:

so with the naturalisation project things seem set to go well, and once they start creating the systems needed to treat water going from the pond into the creek that comes from urban runoff, we’ll really see how things work out. right now, oh man its pretty interesting to see bio-engineering at work!

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