The Clarkson’s: Visionary Thinking Brings a Buried Stream Back to Life

Nestled among the rolling hills in Caledon, David and Faith Clarkson’s family has owned Applegarth Farm for 35 years. Although David is familiar with CVC, it wasn’t until he attended an information night that he learned about our agricultural programs and habitat restoration services.

David and Faith met with Mark Eastman and Sherwin Watson-Leung, CVC’s agricultural and stream specialists. David described a broken tile drain in his field and the group discussed options to fix it. “I realized we could restore the stream that once ran through the field by removing the tile drain,” said David.

In what David modestly describes as a small project, he and a CVC team replaced the tile drain pipe and brought 500 meters of buried stream back to life. They created big benefits for biodiversity and contributed to healthy and connected ecosystems. Their design supports habitat for cold-water fish like brook trout and grassland birds in the adjacent valley.

“Projects of this magnitude are very rare on private land, said Mark. “They need special landowners like David and Faith to show initiative for their vision and to stick with the project through sometimes lengthy design, permitting, fundraising and construction phases.”

Five years from that first meeting, the project is now complete.  “We’ve successfully recreated the stream. Nine species of fish have already moved in and we anticipate brook trout will follow. Bobolink and Eastern Meadowlark are enjoying the grassland beside the stream, and frogs and toads are thriving in the wetland,” said Sherwin.

David and Faith have been recognized provincially for their exceptional contribution to conservation. In January, they received an Ontario Heritage Trust Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Conservation Excellence.

David’s father, A.G. Clarkson, wrote the Chairman’s Message in CVC’s founding 1954 Watershed Report. In it he said, “As to the future, the protection and preservation of the environment in the watershed will continue to be our greatest responsibility.”  His vision lives on.

Watch a video of the stream construction at cvc.ca/daylighting