NORTHERN ONTARIO – Manitoulin Streams Improvement Association (MSIA) has received funding from the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH) for work MSIA will be carrying out this year in the Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory.
“Manitoulin Streams has made a funding request for $2,500 for stream rehabilitation this year,” said Roy Polsky, chair of Zone D of OFAH at its annual general meeting this past Saturday.
Seija Deschenes, MSIA coordinator told the meeting, “we will be working on six sites at the top end of Smith Bay Creek at the top end of Wiikwemkoong this year. We will be carrying out stream rehabilitation and tree planting as part of the project.”
Ms. Deschenes explained Manitoulin Streams, in partnership with Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory, will be working on Smith Bay Creek to restore 184.5 metres of in-stream habitat using bio-engineering techniques to reduce erosion and prevent sedimentation from occurring over critical spawning habitats. They will also plant 300 native trees and 300 shrubs, as well as 100 milkweed plants with the aim to restore 738 metres of riparian habitat to trap and absorb nutrients and rainwater runoff and reduce climate change impacts to stream temperatures. As well, they will conduct a garbage clean-up over the 4,602-metre stream watershed to remove plastics from entering the stream and affecting water quality, and remove invasive phragmites at the mouth of the creek to help migrating salmonids with accessibility, protect native species and the aquatic ecosystem.” She pointed out Vale is donating the milkweed plants for the project.
“Wiikwemkoong wants to drive more tourism to the community and we are beginning a partnership with them,” said Ms. Deschenes. She pointed out there is a lot of community involvement for the project from a variety of interest groups, including Wiikwemkoong Lands and Resources, Wiikwemkoong Tourism, Point Grondine Park Guardians, Wiikwemkoong Anglers, MSIA members, school groups (Wasse-Abin, Pontiac and Wiikwemkoong High School) and volunteers who will help contribute toward the completion of the project through in-kind support and resources.
Wiikwemkoong will see numerous benefits with this project including improved fishery for food security and recreational and cultural use; cleaner and healthier water for the community and surrounding waters; adaptations to reduce climate change impacts and removal of invasive species impacting resources used for materials, medicinal purposes and cultural activities.
For 2021 MSIA will also be helping with local fishing derbies and promoting them on Manitoulin Island, educational awareness through social media and, if allowed, community events; continued phragmites removal with the Manitoulin Phragmites Project and garbage clean-ups and brook trout egg stocking, among them.
The members of OFAH Zone D passed a motion to grant the funding request of $2,500 to Manitoulin Streams.
Ms. Deschenes provided an update of Manitoulin Streams’ activities during 2020, such as the extensive work done including education sessions and online and social media posts in order to do educational outreach on things like species at risk, invasive species and stream restoration; a stream rehabilitation project at Grimesthorpe Creek, Bass Lake Creek spawning pool, Manitou River restoration, helping with garbage clean-up in five different communities on Manitoulin and with Laurentian University invertebrate assessments were carried out on Blue Jay Creek and Mindemoya River. MSIA also helped the Manitoulin Phragmites Project in removing phragmites from many communities on the Island. They also participate in a monarch butterfly count and stocked 10,000 brook trout eggs into Norton’s Creek with the assistance of approximately 20 volunteers social distancing and wearing masks.
“We also tried two small online auctions and we are planning to try our Jacket and Jeans event online this year,” concluded Ms. Deschenes.