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Lakeshore’s Lakeview Park undergoes environmental restoration


Photo submitted by the Town of Lakeshore.

by Adam Gault

Aquatic life creatures at the Lakeview Park fish habitat and pond are beginning to breathe a little easier these days, as the Town of Lakeshore is finishing critical environmental restoration at the pond and park by the Belle River Marina.

  Looking to revitalize the pond and clear it of invasive species, the Town of Lakeshore went to work with the Essex Region Conservation Authority (ERCA) and third-party consultants to clean up the picturesque pond, both cosmetically and in terms of biodiversity.

  One of the biggest issues for the pond, and many other bodies of water in the region, was the intrusion of the invasive species of the aquatic grass known as phragmites.

  Native to Eurasia, phragmites are a type of perennial reed that have been damaging aquatic ecosystems across Ontario for decades, with an increase in their presence in Essex County over the last several years.

  This aggressive plant can spread quickly, and dominate native plant species in the hunt for nutrients and soil. Its high adaptability allows it to overwhelm other flora, decreasing an area’s biodiversity, lowering water levels, and generally being a poor source of food for area wildlife.

  “With the invasive species of phragmites we’ve got in this part of the country, they’ve pretty well taken over the whole pond and habitat,” Lakeshore Manager of Environmental Services, Albert Dionne, explained. “We had this company come in that deals with phragmites. They went by hand and cut it from the shoreline to the water.”

  In addition to cutting the phragmites down, the third-party also applied a spray application over the course of a month to ensure that any remnants of phragmites would be eliminated. This was prior to the Town re-applying topsoil and natural seeds to the shoreline, in the hopes of restoring native plant species to the habitat.

  “We’ll be putting in some turtle nesting logs and trying to attract more native species to the habitat,” Dionne said. “It will bring back the natural fish life and everything else. The phragmites take over everything and it looks like nothing really lives along the shoreline.”

  The work on the pond was made possible in part through a $150,000 grant from Canadian-based non-profit organization, Swim Drink Fish, which is a water protection organization founded in the wake of the contaminated tap water in Walkerton, Ontario in the spring of 2000.

  The organization strives to promote the protection of safe, clean water in Canada and around the world.

Intermittent spraying to control the phragmites at Lakeview Park may be required to ensure the invasive species is held at bay for the foreseeable future.

© 2020 The Essex Free Press ltd.

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