Beaver Creek Municipal Drain Grass Pickerel Project: Demonstration of stakeholder partnership
Municipal drains improve the productivity of agricultural land by allowing the removal of surplus water from fields. This reduces flooding and erosion. Over time the drains accumulate sediment, consequently drain maintenance is required. Municipal drains also provide important habitat for fish and drain maintenance activities have the potential to disrupt, alter and destroy these habitats. Drains may be inhabited by Species at Risk, therefore this habitat must be protected. As a result of drain maintenance, the relationship between species at risk and their habitat is not currently known to a useful level of detail. The maintenance work to be performed in Beaver Creek Municipal Drain will be used to generate information that can help develop best management protocols for similar projects in Ontario. Beaver Creek is drainage works under the Drainage Act and is necessary for the drainage of roads and local properties in the Fort Erie area. This project will research the role of municipal drainage in conducting excess water off of agricultural lands, and the impacts and benefits on species at risk habitat, including the Grass Pickerel, a species of special concern. This may contribute to the development of provincial protocols for drainage practitioners and environmental agencies. This project is a collaboration of efforts between the Town of Fort Erie, OMAFRA, Ministry of Natural Resources, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, and the Friends of Fort Erie Creeks, as well as several private firms.