Trees being removed to support grassland stewardship
The Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA), in partnership with the City of Brantford, is focused on helping grassland habitats make a comeback in southern Ontario. Grassland habitats support a number of grassland-specific bird species including the Eastern Meadowlark– a threatened species that has been recorded in and around the City of Brantford.
To help with the establishment of this habitat, approximately 75-100 trees will be removed by a local contractor beginning March 12, through to March 16. The work will take place on the Eagles Nest property near Birkett Lane in Brantford. A large number of the trees on the property will be retained, while the majority of those being removed are non-native and invasive species, primarily Siberian elm. Most of the work will be completed in areas with limited access, however the public is reminded to stay well back and obey safety signage if they are in an area where work is being completed. The work will have no impact on the Trans Canada Trail, which runs along the top of the dike and is maintained by the City of Brantford.
“The purpose of this stewardship project is to improve the quality of grassland habitat on the site for Eastern Meadowlark, as well as other songbirds and pollinators that depend on this type of habitat,” explains Crystal Allan, GRCA Supervisor of Natural Heritage. “Meadow and grassland stewardship and restoration are an integral part of an ecologically healthy watershed and benefit a whole host of grassland dependent plants and animals.”
The project will be carried out on this property, as well as in portions of Brant Park, and was initiated in 2017 with the approval of a twenty year habitat compensation agreement between the GRCA and the City of Brantford. The agreement provides for the stewardship of 16.3 hectares of tallgrass prairie habitat – habitat that is often home to the Eastern Meadowlark. Currently considered a threatened species, at risk of becoming endangered, this songbird thrives in tall grassland habitat similar to that found near the John Wright Soccer Fields along Birkett Lane.
The project will be entirely funded by the City of Brantford, as it is required under the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry’s Endangered Species Act to compensate for the loss of Eastern Meadowlark habitat related to highway enhancements at Highway 403 and Oak Park Road. The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry is the lead agency for the provincial Endangered Species Act. Conservation Authorities are not involved in reviewing approvals or compliance under the Endangered Species Act.