05.08.2019

LAUNCHING HEALTHY TWELVE MILE CREEK PILOT PROGRAM IN NIAGARA REGION

FONTHILL, Ont. (May 8, 2019)—On Saturday, May 4, Niagara West MPP Sam Oosterhoff met with representatives from the Niagara Chapter of Trout Unlimited Canada to launch Healthy Twelve Mile Creek, a Landowner Stewardship pilot project. MPP Oosterhoff and other regional and municipal representatives offered their congratulations on the eco restoration work being done as a result of receiving a $75,000 Seed grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation last fall.

The grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation is enabling Trout Unlimited Canada to engage landowners along Twelve Mile Creek and offer them ways to improve the water quality of the stream and protect the dwindling population of native Brook Trout, which is an indicator species of healthy, clean, cold water. Funds from the pilot project grant are being used to establish a Landowner Stewardship program including bringing a Stewardship Coordinator on board, covering the costs for landowner outreach and education as well as plant materials and other equipment that will be used to improve aquatic habitat.

The local chapter is focused on finding ways to partner with landowners to cool the stream, mitigate flooding and sedimentation, and strengthen banks to prevent erosion and property damage. Together, these measures will improve the Brook Trout’s habitat and encourage more biodiversity in the headwaters of Twelve Mile Creek.

“With effects of climate change, Niagara’s unique native Brook Trout habitat is experiencing excessive water flows in spring and drier summers.’ says Niagara Chapter Chair, Dennis Edell. ‘With over eighty percent of the headwaters in private hands, it’s essential we involve landowners if we are to protect this valuable resource.”

Property owners who opt into the program will have the section of their land that meets the creek assessed and a program of restoration will be suggested. With the agreement of the land owner, measures may be taken to improve the aquatic health of the stream. These measures could include selected plantings in the riparian zone (six to 10 feet along the stream bank) to provide shade that will cool the water, as well as other restoration measures to stabilize banks and protect properties from erosion.

Informed by the work of eco-restoration and GIS students at Niagara College, for the past six years, the Niagara Chapter of Trout Unlimited Canada has been working to improve the health of the headwaters of Twelve Mile
Creek and restore the native Brook Trout population once plentiful there. This grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation will allow the Niagara Chapter to continue engaging landowners and other partner organizations, including the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA)

“During our 60th Anniversary year of the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority, we embrace our mandate to conserve and restore this precious watershed system. But we can’t do this in isolation, the importance of our partnerships with organizations like Niagara Trout Unlimited cannot be over-stated.” says NPCA Vice-Chair, and Pelham Regional Councillor Diana Huson. “The Authority has recently revitalized our restoration program and we are looking forward to working with Niagara Trout Unlimited. Their focus on the Twelve Mile Creek is vital, as it represents the only cold-water system in the Niagara Region.”

The Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) is an agency of the Government of Ontario, and one of Canada’s leading granting foundations. OTF awarded more than $120 million to some 700 projects last year to build healthy and vibrant communities in Ontario. For more information, please visit: www.otf.ca.

Trout Unlimited Canada (TUC) has been improving the lives and health of Canadians for over 40 years. A leader in water and fisheries protection, TUC Chapters work with volunteers and partners to protect natural spaces and improve Canadian resources. Science based and volunteer driven, TUC puts more work on the ground than any other national water conservation organization. www.tucanada.org

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For more information:

www.healthytwelvemilecreek.ca

Brian Green, Niagara Chapter Trout Unlimited Canada, green_ink@sympatico.ca,
(905) 892-5265

Dennis Edell, Niagara Chapter Trout Unlimited Canada dennisnedell@gmail.com,
416 918-4448

Erika Navarro, Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority enavarro@npca.ca,
905-650-4027