In March of this year, we updated you on the progress of the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s (NCC) Florian Diamante Wetland Restoration project on Pelee Island. This NCC project focusing on creating a massive 25-hectare (62-acre) wetland and trail on their Florian Diamante Nature Reserve on Pelee Island. Taking place in the area of Browns and Henderson roads near the middle of the island, the trail system will connect with the existing Brown’s Road trail. Originally a marsh that was drained and kept dry with clay tile for farming, it is now being restored to its original state.
Many don’t know that Pelee Island started out as 3 islands with a system of surrounding marshlands. If you look at old maps of Pelee Island, where the edge of one of the old islands was, is now the existing forest. The tree line was the edge of the island and the farm field was all marshland that continued on to the north. NCC saw an opportunity to restore the field back to its natural state.
“We’ve built a berm all the way around the edge of the field and then it comes in towards the forest,” says Jill Crosthwaite, NCC Coordinator, Conservation Biology, Southwestern Ontario subregion.
A water control structure and stop logs control the flow of water out of the wetland. Leaving it open in the first year is important so the berm clay and soil gets packed down and can settle in. This will allow the vegetation to establish also to avoid erosion.
“I thought that at this first year mark, it’s not going to look like anything,” shared Crosthwaite, “but it’s absolutely incredible.”
The NCC team, worked with Ducks Unlimited and took the time and broke down all the clay irrigation tiles formerly used for farming the land. These were used to direct water elsewhere and into the ditches. Now the water is no longer being drained away from the field but stays in the wetland.
“So many cool things have shown up here already. An Island resident birder has spotted pairs of Wilson’s Phalaropes, as well as many species of ducks, Sandhill Cranes and shore birds. There was a White-faced Ibis which is usually found more south yet it just happened to show up. We’re really excited by it all.”
Florian Diamante Wetland Restoration Support Continuing
We continued our fundraising efforts, with the assistance of our customer community, in September and October with our 20% of proceeds from our VQA core line wines and our Pelee Island Snapshot Series, along with the donation button on our wine shop.
We continue our commitment to the Nature Conservancy of Canada in 2022, so stay tuned.
Should you find yourself on Pelee Island in 2022, ask our Pavilion team for directions to the wetland restoration project. When standing on what will one day be an observation deck, you’ll get an amazing view of the past restoring the future.
Did you miss the earlier blogs about the Florian Diamante Wetland Restoration Nature Reserve Project? Here you go: