Manitoulin Streams finishes up work on Kagawong River for the season

Plenty of helping hands and a little heavy machinery gets the art works into place.

KAGAWONG—Manitoulin Streams ’ Kagawong River rehabilitation project has ended for the season. Based on an enhancement plan for the Kagawong River, 20 key areas were identified in need of work, with three sites at the lower end of the river mouth scheduled for completion this summer.

The restoration work included improving the riparian vegetation on both sides of the river, improving the canopy on both sides, repairing bank erosion, reducing the stream width and increasing the streams depth, improving center habitat, improving the edge habitat and accommodating flow fluctuations due to the hydro dams.

“A really unique and special element of the project was the partnership with 4 Elements and artist Michael Belmore who carved three rocks, one of which was placed in the river and the other two along the river trail,” said Manitoulin Streams Project Coordinator Seija Deschenes.

“The rock in the water, ‘Replenish,’ depicts two fish swimming upstream, the other two will explore turtles in the forest, laying eggs and the cycle of life,” said Mr. Belmore, a Thunder Bay artist who is hoping to make Manitoulin his home. “I used a diamond grinder and wet polisher to carve the images.”

The carved rock art created by artist Michael Belmore adds a whole new dimension to a stroll down the hiking trail from Bridal Veil Falls.
The carved rock art created by artist Michael Belmore adds a whole new dimension to a stroll down the hiking trail from Bridal Veil Falls.

Mr. Belmore said he has explored a lot of mediums throughout his artistic career and started carving roughly 10 years ago.

“A lot of my work reflects nature, very simple things,” concluded Mr. Belmore. “I figure out what medium/material would be best for the piece and then I learn the process.”

Helping with the Kagawong River Restoration Project was the Windy Lake Provincial Park Stewardship Rangers and the Sudbury District Stewardship Rangers who installed a coffer dam to redirect the flow of the water down another channel to allow for in-stream work and assisted with garbage cleanup along the river trail.

Manitoulin Streams also completed work on Grimesthrope Creek and M’Chigeeng Creek this summer.

“We installed page wire fencing to restrict livestock and installed a livestock water pad,” said Ms. Deschenes of the work to the Grimesthrope Creek. “We also installed in-stream habitat boulders and gravel and planted native tress and shrubs.”

“With the M’Chigeeng River, we placed 13 yards of spawning gravel and cobble which was hauled by hand by Lakeview School students and the Stewardship Rangers planted 250-300 trees along the shoreline and did some river clean up,” added Ms. Deschenes.

Ms. Deschenes pointed out that the projects this summer wouldn’t have been possible without the long list of funding providers and in-kind support, along with the numerous volunteers.