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Through the generosity of Dr. William and Judith Mills, the land trust has acquired a new 68 acre woodlot along the Old Wooler Road near Codrington. It is part of Judith’s McColl family farm which was purchased by F. H. McColl in 1934.
Early attempts at agriculture by the McColls were not very successful due to the sandy, erosion prone soils. Therefore, in the 1950’s the McColls began a tree planting program using scots and red pine. Planting continued into the 1970s and also included sections of white spruce, Norway spruce and black walnut. The forest has been maintained as a registered managed forest since 1975.
Thinning of the planted stands was carried out in 2003 and again in 2011. As a result, the regeneration of hardwoods (most notably red oak) is progressing very well. It is the goal of the land trust to allow a natural regeneration of the reforested areas to mature mixed forest.
The rear of the property is transected by the main water course of Cold Creek and features an impressive stand of 40 year old white pine. The rear section also contains an eight acre swamp.
A series of forested ridges transect the middle of the property. Between two of these ridges is a very moisture rich cedar valley which contains many seeps and vernal ponds.
In early June we were saddened to hear of Judy’s passing. She had always wished that the property be conserved in its natural state. We are honored to become stewards of her cherished property.
written by Doug McRae
The acquisition and wise stewardship of biologically important properties is a land trust’s greatest responsibility and we take this very seriously, which is why all of our holdings have management strategies that guide our actions.
Our flagship property, the Lone Pine Marsh – Braham Tract, has seen great changes since we acquired it nearly a quarter century ago. The original purchase by our founder, Murial Braham, was essentially the large cattail marsh only. A subsequent purchase allowed us to take control of the adjacent cornfields and begin the conversion to habitats more suitable to our biodiversity goals. While the marsh habitat itself hasn’t changed significantly, the surrounded lands are now unrecognizable from their corn field days.
Some areas along the western boundary regenerated naturally and have since filled in with alder and birch, while others areas were planted with hundreds of trees. Those earliest plantings now constitute a 20 year-old forest that connects to the existing forest along the southern boundary. This spring we had two Grade 9 classes from Cobourg plant 200 more trees in this area to fill in some gaps that didn’t take in the first planting.
The two fields north of the marsh are being managed as grassland habitat to provide a nesting place for Bobolink and Meadowlark, both listed as Threatened under Provincial and Federal legislation. At present we have about 8 pairs of Bobolink and one pair of meadowlarks nesting here. To improve their chances of breeding successfully we do not permit hay to be cut from the fields until August, well after the young have fledged.
We suspect that the area could support greater numbers if we undertake some management efforts so we are presently investigating our options regarding improving the quality of this habitat through reseeding the fields to benefit grassland birds, butterflies and other pollinators.
Another issue we have looked at is the thin line of conifers that were planted along the west side of these fields, and in an east-west line dividing them. These trees were planted about 15 years ago before we had defined our grassland management strategy and unfortunately they are now starting to get to a height where they will negatively impact grassland birds that prefer wide-open spaces. Short shrubs like the dogwood and sumac that are currently there are not a problem, however a wall of tall trees will be. Once the spruce and pine get much taller they will reduce or eliminate the suitable grassland habitat.
After much discussion and consultation with the Ontario Heritage Trust (OHT holds an easement on this property) and others, we have decided to cut the row of planted conifers. While we generally don’t like to remove trees (besides invasive species which we remove regularly) this is a necessary action for the long-term health of our grassland habitat.
written by Robert Kennedy
Approximately a year and a half ago the LPLT was approached by Trans Northern Pipeline (TNP) who wanted to perform remedial work on their refined petroleum product pipeline which passes through the Kennedy tract. The steel pipeline is 62 years old. TNP believes the pipeline has an indefinite lifetime as long as it is properly maintained. A device called a pig having many sensors, is put through the pipeline once every 5 years to look for potential defect issues. The last time the pig detected two small dents in the pipeline which were approximately 50 metres apart in the middle of the wetland. The only access to these two locations is from County Rd 25. Prior to starting the work, Doug McRae and lawyer Malcolm Ruby sat down with Trans Northern to express concerns related to accessing the wetland with heavy equipment. LPLT’s main concern was the timing of the work so that it would have minimal effect on breeding birds and other wildlife as well as water quality and the possibility of the introduction of invasive species.
Trans Northern started the work in August 2017 and it took 5 weeks to complete. The work consisted of building the 700 m wood panel access road into the wetland from Cty Rd 25 with larger wood staging areas around the two repair sites. The area is laced with many streams which required the construction of dams to isolate the digs where repairs were going to be made. The dams consisted of long 3m diameter rubber like tubes which were filled with water to give them a flexibility which allowed them to follow the contours of the land. With these dams in place, TNP then pumped out any water inside the isolated dammed off area. This allowed them to then excavate and expose the existing pipeline in the dry and do the repair work. Most of the repairs consisted of a steel sleeve being welded to the exterior of the pipe thereby reinforcing it in the areas of defect. Once the repairs were completed, the trenches were backfilled and all the materials and construction equipment were removed from the site. All that remains is the exposed earth where the access road and staging areas were located. The vegetation is already growing back quickly and probably by this time next year the disturbed area will not be visibly noticeable.
It should be noted that Trans Northern had to obtain a number of government environmental permits which set out strict guidelines for the construction process and environmental controls to protect water quality, flora and fauna. Many thanks to Doug McRae who represented LPLT and Malcolm Ruby who generously donated his legal experience and his office for meetings with Trans Northern.
written by Gary Bugg
Visitors to the Lone Pine Marsh can now take advantage of the new viewing platform which was completed in early June 2017. Made possible through Trillium Foundation funding, the construction began with hired installation of four concrete base columns in 2016. The wooden structure was started in May 2017 and features a 10’ by 10’ Trex covered viewing platform which is raised more than six feet above marsh shoreline. At this height it is possible to view all parts of the marsh.
Construction was carried out by volunteers Tim Whitehouse, Rob Kennedy, James Munn, Doug McRae, Jim Moore and Gary Bugg. Special thanks go to Bill Wilson for his design advice and to Marg Fleming for co-ordinating the base installation. Thanks also to Paul Steels and Helmut Enns for the use of their generators.