newberry park wetland restoration project - ontario .environmental study report for newberry park

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  • Environmental Study Report for Newberry Park Wetland Restoration Project

    October 2007

    Prepared under the MNR Class Environmental Assessment for Resource Stewardship and Facility Development Projects, 2003.

  • Project Partners:

    The Great Lakes Sustainability Fund is a component of the Government of Canadas Great Lakes Program. The Sustainability Fund provides resources to demonstrate and implement technologies and techniques to assist in the remediation of Areas of Concern and other priority areas in the Great Lakes. The report that follows was sponsored by the Great Lakes Sustainability Fund and addresses fisheries issues in the Humber River Area of Concern in Toronto, Ontario. Although the report was subject to technical review, it does not necessarily reflect the views of the Sustainability Fund or the Government of Canada.

    Project Team:

    Siobhan Neil Project Coordinator Ontario Streams

    Doug Forder Field Supervisor Ontario Streams

    Mark Heaton Project Manager OMNR

    Tracy Steele Project Manager Town of Richmond Hill

  • Table of Contents

    List of Figures i List of Tables ii List of Appendices iii Introduction 1 1.0 General Information 2 1.1 Definition of a Wetland 2 1.2 Classification and Types of Wetlands 2 1.3 Impact of Wetlands on Water Quality 3 1.4 Importance of Wetlands as Wildlife Habitat 4 1.5 Importance of Wildlife Corridors 5 1.6 West Nile Virus 5 Step 1 Project Proposal 2.0 Project Description 6 2.1 Project Purpose 6 2.2 Rationale 6 2.3 Site Description 8 2.3.1 General 8 2.3.2 Ecological Setting 13 2.3.3 Geological and Hydrogeological Setting 16 2.3.4 Investigation of Soil Conditions 16 2.3.5 Infrastructure 17 2.3.6 Archaeological Resources 17 3.0 Project Alternatives 18 3.1 Creation of Wetland Only 18 3.2 Creation of Wetland and Diversion of Stream 18 3.3 Do Nothing (Null) Alternative 18 3.4 Pumping of Groundwater Control Wells 19 3.5 Installing Tile Drains 19 3.6 Creating an Aquitard 19 4.0 Mitigation Measures Required 23 4.1 Minimizing Sedimentation 23 4.2 Avoid Spawning Periods 23 4.3 Limit Noise Disruption 23 4.4 Public Safety 23 4.5 Revegetation of Disturbed Areas 23 4.6 Protecting Cultural Heritage Resources 23 5.0 Supporting Watershed Objectives 24 5.1 Supporting Objectives 24 5.2 Permits Required 26

  • 6.0 Project Category 26 7.0 Preliminary Evaluation of Alternatives 27 8.0 Project Evaluation 28 Step 2 Environmental Analysis 9.0 Environmental Concerns Associated with the Construction of a Wetland Excavation and Channel Alteration 30 9.1 Potential Impacts to Water Quality 30 9.2 Disruption to Fish and Wildlife Habitat 30 9.3 Changes in Channel Morphology and Flow Dynamics 30 9.4 Natural and Cultural Heritage Features 31 9.5 Resource Use Conflicts 31 9.6 Noise 31 9.7 Degradation of Scenic Quality 31 9.8 Dust 31 9.9 Public Safety 32 9.10 Hydraulic Impacts 32 10.0 Environmental Checklist 32 11.0 Determination of Significance of Effects 33 12.0 Environmental Analysis Summary 33 13.0 Environmental Analysis 34 13.1 Creation of Wetland Only 34 13.2 Creation of Wetland and Diversion of Stream 36 13.3 Do Nothing (Null) Alternative 40 Step 3 Public Consultation Process & Selection of Preferred Alternative 14.0 Opportunity to Inspect the Draft ESR & Public Information Centre 46 15.0 Evaluation of Alternatives 46 15.1 Evaluation of Alternatives and Project Selection Process 46 15.2 The Null Alternative 47 15.3 Evaluation of Alternatives 47 16.0 Selection of Preferred Alternative 48 Step 4 Project Plan 17.0 Design Details 48 18.0 Construction 49 18.1 Construction of Wetland and Stream Channel 49 18.2 Potential Environmental Effects Associated with Construction 50 18.3 Proposed Schedule of Construction Phase 50

  • 19.0 Operation and Maintenance 50 20.0 Abandonment 50 21.0 Mitigation Measures 50 22.0 Assessment of Project to Meet Intended Purpose 51 23.0 Monitoring 51 Bibliography 53

  • i

    List of Figures

    Figure 1. Location map 10 Figure 2. Existing soccer field and baseball diamond 11 Figure 3. Groundwater flowing across the walkway 12 Figure 4. Sign indicating soccer field closed 12 Figure 5. Groundwater on soccer field and wetland vegetation growing 12 Figure 6. 1978 aerial photograph showing Newberry Park 14 Figure 7. Photograph showing an example of a restored wetland 20 Figure 8. Photograph showing an example of a constructed stream 20 Figure 9. Groundwater control wells and piping system 21 Figure 10. Photograph of drainage tile to be installed 22

  • ii

    List of Tables

    Table 1. Comparison of fish species caught in Newberry Park and Leno Park, 1995-2005 7 Table 2. Significant species found in the Rouge River Headwater Wetland Complex 15 Table 3. Groundwater levels observed in the boreholes 17 Table 4. Preliminary evaluation of alternatives 27 Table 5. Significance of effects for each alternative 41 Table 6. Ranking of Alternatives 47

  • iii

    List of Appendices Appendix A. Screening criteria Appendix B. OMNR/Ontario Streams fish collection records, 1995-2005 Appendix C. Newberry Wetland Complex Hydraulic Analysis Report, June 4, 2007 Appendix D. Artists rendering of Option 1 and 2 as presented at the Public Information Centre Appendix E. Advertisement, circulation list and comments received following public consultation process

  • 1

    Introduction Wetlands are among the most important and productive ecosystems in the world. They serve as essential habitat for countless species of flora and fauna. In addition to this, they play an important role in various ecological processes. They function as chemical sinks, absorbing excess nutrients and pollutants from the surrounding environment. They act as natural filters to cleanse polluted waters, as well as trap sediments and reduce erosion. Wetlands also act to store surface water thus, reducing the impact of flooding. All of these wetland functions are essential to maintaining the health of our fresh water resources. Canada is home to nearly 25% of all the wetlands on earth (Ducks Unlimited Canada, 2005). Unfortunately, this wetland area continues to decrease as it becomes increasingly threatened by land development. Of the countrys total wetland area, approximately 41% is found in Manitoba and Ontario. Southern Ontario, in particular, has experienced the most extensive wetland loss with an over 80% reduction in some areas. (Mitsch & Gosselink, 2000) Previously, wetlands had been seen as wastelands (Mitsch & Gosselink, 2000) and were destroyed to make room for more productive or economically valuable land uses. They were commonly drained and filled to be converted to agricultural land, developed for commercial and residential land uses, or mined for peat or mineral extraction. However, as the importance and value of wetland ecosystems continues to gain widespread recognition, efforts are being focussed on protecting and restoring existing wetlands, and creating or re-establishing additional wetland habitat. This document is an Environmental Study Report completed under the Ministry of Natural Resources Class Environmental Assessment for Resource Stewardship and Facility Development Projects, 2003. This report presents the proposal to rehabilitate a portion of Newberry Park in the Town of Richmond Hill to a more natural state, and examines alternative options for this proposal.

  • 2

    1.0 General Information 1.1 Definition of a Wetland

    A wetland is defined as: land that has the water table at, near, or above the land surface or which is saturated for a long enough period to promote wetland or aquatic processes as indicated by poorly drained soils, hydrophytic vegetation, and various kinds of biological activity that are adapted to the wet environment (Mitsch and Gosselink, 2000).

    1.2 Classification and Types of Wetlands

    The Canadian Wetland Classification System (National Wetlands Working Group, 1997) recognizes five classes of wetlands which are:

    1) Bog A peat-accumulating wetland that has a water table at or near the surface. Main source of water is from precipitation and there are no significant inflows or outflows. Dominant vegetation is generally acidophilic mosses, particularly Sphagnum. 2) Fen A peat-accumulating wetland that has a fluctuating water table at or near the surface. The water table is not stagnant but rather moves through the peat by seepage or in open channels. They usually support marshlike vegetation. 3) Swamp Area with stagnant or slow flowing pooled water, dominated by trees or shrubs. 4) Marsh A frequently or continually inundated wetland characterized by emergent herbaceous vegetation adapted to saturated soil conditions. 5) Shallow water Wetlands with open water less than 2 meters deep. Includes basins, pools and ponds, as well as wetlands adjacent to rivers, coastlines and shorelines. Dominated by submerged vegetation and floating leaved plants.

    These classes are based on natural features of the wetlands, hydrological processes, and the nature of the wetland environment. In addition to these classifications, wetlands can be further assessed on th

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