Eastern Meadowlarks Benefit from Grassland Restoration
Last year, CVC conducted its first single-day controlled grassland burn at Upper Credit Conservation Area. The purpose of this carefully managed fire was to restore, maintain and protect prairie and grassland habitat by preventing non-native grasses and trees and shrubs from establishing. The burn targets undesirable species through timing and management to foster conditions suitable for native plants to thrive. Just over a year later, here’s what we’ve seen happen as a result.
Many native species that were included in our restoration seed mix really took off, especially the warm-season native grasses, like big bluestem and Indiangrass, and forbs, like false sunflower and Virginia mountain mint. Our monitoring teams found big bluestem coverage has tripled since 2020, while smooth brome, a non-native cool season grass, fell by over half.
The increase in big bluestem and other warm-season grasses and forbs indicate that the grassland is showing characteristics of a tallgrass prairie, which is the target ecosystem for this site. Additionally, we continue to see grassland nesting birds that rely on these ecosystems for habitat, like bobolink and eastern meadowlark, enjoying the area.
Why we Restore Grasslands
Native prairie meadows and grasslands are some of the most diverse and resilient ecosystems in North America. They provide valuable habitat for local wildlife like birds, butterflies and bees. They also prevent soil erosion, absorb carbon, slow rainwater runoff, suppress weeds and prevent soil nutrient loss. There are very few native grasslands left in Ontario, so preserving them is critical to protecting the diversity of the plants, animals and insects that rely on them to survive.
Grasslands on your land
CVC works with residential landowners, farmers, corporations and municipalities to implement, manage and monitor grassland restoration projects throughout the watershed. Funding may be available for eligible projects. Connect with a stewardship coordinator to discuss grassland restoration projects for your property.
Grasslands for Pasture
Restoring native grasslands and growing warm-season grasses can improve forage opportunities on your farm. The ALUS Peel Pilot can help Peel Region farmers with project funding and annual maintenance payments. Connect with your ALUS Peel coordinator, Holly Shipclark, to learn more.
Grasslands for Birds
Landowner Chris Wedeles loves watching birds. Rather than go further afield to catch a glimpse of his feathered favourites, he brought the birds right to his backdoor by working with CVC to transform two old farm fields on his property into native meadow. Read Chris’ story.
Your Countryside Stewardship Team