It’s officially spring, and we’re excited for all the changes happening in Jim Tovey Lakeview Conservation Area. At the beginning of April, after three years, we opened access to the Serson Wetland West for fish from Lake Ontario. This is one of three newly created wetland marshes in JTLCA.
Why did we wait three years to allow fish access to the wetland? Because you can’t build a healthy ecosystem overnight. We needed time to let the 20,000 aquatic plants that we planted to establish and grow. At the mouth of each wetland, you’ll find a water control structure. These structures are designed to let desirable fish (like sunfish, bass, pike and minnows) into the wetland while keeping out the larger, invasive common carp. Carp are harmful to the wetlands because they will uproot and kill aquatic plants which also decreases the water quality and habitat for other fish and wildlife. The wetlands provide a safe, sheltered habitat for fish to live and act as an important nursery and spawning habitat while also acting as a home for frogs, turtles and migratory birds.
Why are wetlands so wonderful? Wetlands (in the form of swamps, marshes, bogs or fens) are low-lying areas of land soaked with water. They’re one of the healthiest, most diverse ecosystems in the world that also have many important environmental roles. Not only do wetlands provide food and habitat for many different species, but they help control flooding and filter pollutants out of the water. The wetlands marshes at JTLCA will naturally purify water before it enters Lake Ontario – a drinking water source for eight million people.
Despite their importance, over 48 per cent (or more than 5,260 hectares) of wetlands have been degraded or disappeared from the Credit River Watershed since the 1950s. This is why we’re so proud to celebrate the newly opened wetland at JTLCA. It’s not every day we get to create an entire new conservation area in the heart of the city. Not only will JTLCA have almost eight hectares (one hectare is just a bit bigger than a soccer field) of wetland, but also five hectares of forest and 12 hectares of meadowland.
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