Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Crucial Part of Our Ecosystem

Media Release from Orkin Pest Control Company in Regina:

"As Canadians we cherish the summer months that bring sunshine, warm weather and the urge to spend time outdoors. Inevitably, the summer season also brings pesky critters into the mix, including house flies and the dreaded mosquito.  Although these uninvited guests could put a damper on your summer plans, they all play an essential role in nature. At Orkin Canada, we believe that every pest has a place, and while not in our homes, hospitals and public buildings – they are indeed a crucial part of our ecosystem. The following lists the roles they play in the natural environment.

House Fly In Nature: Although they may bug us, flies are an essential part of the food chain. House flies have an important role in nature pollinating plants and recycling all things dead and decaying. It may not seem glamorous but flies play a vital role in assisting the decomposition of dung and decaying matter, plants or animals.

Mosquito In Nature: Mosquitoes are delicious to eat and easy to catch! Mosquitoes are the main course for multiple species including spiders, salamanders, lizards, frogs, bats, birds and multiple species of fish. Without mosquitoes of off the menu, many of these animals would lose a primary food source."

See more at: http://blogs.leaderpost.com/2013/08/20/common-critters-friends-or-foe/#sthash.32vkVtnd.dpuf

Ragnhild Brosvik Mosquito Image from Flickr under Creative Commons

P.S. Check out my latest "urban wild" nature blog: Wild. Here. (2016 update)

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Abandoned Mines and Bats (Ontario)

Found this on the Science North website:

WHY have an Abandoned Mines and Bat Workshop?           
  • Provide information on the mitigation measures available to mining companies that have abandoned mines on their properties
  • Demonstrate the importance of abandoned mines as hibernating sites for several species of bats
  • Explore what remote sensing instruments are required to survey bats, and how these instruments are used
  • Demonstrate how to ‘Bat Gate’ an abandoned mine
  • Address the safety concerns surrounding abandoned mine sites
  • Inform participants about White-nose Syndrome (alien fungus), a recent threat to hibernating bats
  • Provide each participant with a video documentary on “Abandoned Mines and Bats” post conference
Why Mining Companies Should Become Involved?
  • Mining companies will increase their knowledge on ‘mitigating measures’ for abandoned mine.
  • ‘Bat gates’ are an effective way to protect bats in abandoned mines and keep people out.
  • The technology used to monitor bats and the information collected is easy to access, even by non-scientists.
  • Mining companies can be proactive at protecting bat species by identifying abandoned mines used by bats.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Projects by ECOS (Old Ottawa South)

Found some interesting projects organized by ECOS (Environment Committee of Ottawa South):

- Last year they held two expert-led birding outings in May and September.  They were given by Bruce DiLabio and enjoyed by several dozen local residents, including a half dozen youngsters. In May they toured the neighborhood to see what birds live and/or migrate through Old Ottawa South and in September they expanded the tour to include other neighborhoods including Brantwood, Windsor, Brewer, Lansdowne Park as well as Dow's Lake and Sawmill Creek. The idea was that participants would learn about some of nature’s most exquisite animals without having to clock mileage in a car and to open eyes and ears to the beauty of birds that can be found in the city.

- As mentioned before there was an inventory of trees in Brewar Park completed last fall.  As part of this project the City is planting new trees (of various ages - you can see the diameters above).  It's great to see so many partners involved in this project including Carleton University, the Community Association, the Canadian Biodiversity Institute along with local businesses.   More details on this project are here.  The list of trees to be planted include:

Black Walnut
Prospector Elm
Sugar Maple
White Pine
Silver Maple
Kentucky Coffee

Monday, August 5, 2013

New Brewar Pond Link to Rideau River (editorial)

Glad I saved this editorial (below) as now the link is gone. (This blog is like clipping newspaper articles for me - somewhere to keep all the information I read.) It is great to read that the project is funded by developers to enhance natural areas (to replace what has been developped). I hope to read/hear about more projects like this. Perhaps developers should plant 1000 trees per hectare that has been lost or pay for removal of invasive species that are threatening urban parks and waterways (such as periwinkle in Montfort Woods or dog-strangling vine found in Fletcher Gardens and along the canal). The City of Ottawa should start an environmental fund like that (mirror on the gas tax program) where developers are taxed or pay heavy fines depending on how much ecosystem is lost during construction of new suburbs.

Construction timing window (dependent upon getting all permits) is hopefully from August to October. The restoration project would reconnect the pond to the Rideau River and create a wetland shoreline adjacent to the sports field.  This would allow fish year round access in and out of the pond and by altering elevations allow more diverse submergent and emergent aquatic vegetation in the pond. The wetland portion would also provide a suitable environment for fish spawning,and improve water quality for the Rideau River.

Editorial: Nature in the city

Springtime in the city doesn’t have to smell like dust and concrete. It can also smell like ponds waking up, plants bursting and small eco-systems coming back to life. Supporting nature, beyond simply grass and trees in parks, helps keep a city healthy in many ways.

Ottawa is blessed with plenty of wildlife just outside the city, which can improve the quality of life of those who can get to it. But nature within the city can have an even greater effect on neighbourhoods and the way people live.

Which is why the restoration of a pond at Brewer Park in Ottawa is worth celebrating. On a scale of, say, the reconstruction of Lansdowne Park or downtown LRT stations, it may seem like a small thing in the life of the city. But its value should not be overlooked.

The plan being carried out by the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority, along with provincial, federal and private partners, is to reconnect a pond at Brewer Park to the Rideau River in order to build a year-round habitat for fish and other aquatic creatures. A particular focus of the project — which has been in the works since the 1990s — is to build a habitat for muskellunge, which is one of Canada’s largest freshwater fish.

The pond was created decades ago from existing islands in the Rideau River by Brewer Park and Carleton University in order to build a swimming hole. The swimming area was not used long because bacteria buildup in the stagnant water made it unsafe. Reconnecting the river and the pond will allow for the regrowth of wetland habitat in the area which should be home to fish, birds and other aquatic life.

The project is moving ahead now because there is private funding from Minto and Richcraft, under the Fisheries Act. The two companies are involving in building an urban community in the city’s east end, where there will be a net loss of fish habitat. Their funding for the Brewer pond project is compensation.

The Brewer project suggests that development and wildlife can both have a place in a healthy city. Ottawa residents can already head to places such as Mud Lake, Green’s Creek, the shoreline of the Rideau and Ottawa rivers and more in central Ottawa to see wildlife. Soon there will be a new stop for nature lovers.
Editorial link: http://www.ottawacitizen.com/Editorial+Nature+city/8086134/story.html#ixzz2RTejmYwT

More information: Restoring Brewar Pond Connection (Old Ottawa South Community Association)

More detailed project information: RVCA Restoration Webpage

Brewar Park Pond Image from: Ottawa Snapshots