Group aims to take on Mad River restoration projects

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Local community members are partnering with staff at the Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority (NVCA) to undertake restoration work along the Mad River.

Volunteer Jesse Wright, who works as a local fishing guide and fish habitat restoration coordinator with Water First, is leading the community effort, in partnership with the NVCA’s Restoration Biologist Laura Wensink and Stewardship Services managerFred Dobbs.

Wright said through other watershed related volunteer work he came to know Dobbs, who was interested in putting together a group of people willing to do restoration work on the Mad River.

The NVCA looks to work with local volunteers on projects such as this, and will match funds raised.

“Our community did have a big response as far as openness to volunteer to do some work,” said Wright.

Throughout the spring, the Friends of the Mad River have been meeting and planning habitat restoration work in partnership with the NVCA. To build momentum, the group has planted trees, and on Tuesday they hauled tires out of the river at Glencairn Conservation Area. They are gathering data and monitoring the river in preparation for a larger scale bank stabilization project between Creemore and Glencairn that has been identified as a priority.

Working with landowners, the group will work to stabilize the bank of the river and add tree cover to stop erosion and create shade. The eroding bank is eating away at the adjacent farmland at a significant rate but also increases the phosphorus level of the river when the nutrient rich soil gets into the water, while the vegetation keeps the river at the optimum temperature for healthyfish habitat.

“When the river runs on a hot day through an area that has no shade or cover it heats up to a point that it can change 2 ̊C over two kilometres and that can be the difference between suitable fish habitat and an area that trout [and other species] can’t live in because it’s too warm,” said Wright.

For the initial phase of the habitat restoration project, the Friends of the Mad River will be looking to raise between $8,000 and $10,000 this year to support data collection and design plans.

The group is currently investigating ways to accept donations. Anyone wishing to get involved or support the project financially is welcome to contact Wright at jkwright.79@gmail. com.

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