Friends of the Cawthra Bush
Greater Mississauga Area
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article, as printed, in their Summer 1998 Wildland News, Page 11.
by Donald Barber, Friends of the Cawthra Bush & Greater Mississauga Area
HELP SAVE THE SALAMANDERS IN AN OLD-GROWTH URBAN FOREST
The Cawthra Bush is a highly significant, urban old-growth ecosystem in Mississauga and is home to rare and threatened species. In 1994, the City decided that Cawthra needed radical surgery by chainsaw to "rehabilitate" it. The city initiated an extensive logging and tree-farming program designed to remove the old trees and allow new trees to grow quickly and straight so, logging could occur every 15 years. Most of the logged trees were sold for firewood! City council passed a "Woodlot Management Plan" without public involvement and the newly formed Friends of the Cawthra Bush (FCB) organized residents to protest and stop the logging program.
Now, four years later, the City is back with virtually the same plan. FCB tried to ensure that the public was fully informed but the mayor intervened and, denied access to city files. The struggle continues, not just to save Cawthra and other forested areas in Mississauga, but to ensure that other cities don't use this method of management to despoil their urban forests.
What makes Cawthra so special? It is a large remnant forest/old-growth ecosystem, composed mainly of deciduous trees, most of which are 80 years old and some as old as 125 years. Cawthra's biological significance has been well-documented: Ontario's Ministry of Natural Resources has designated it a regional Area of Natural and Scientific Interest, one of only 10 such areas in the GTA; the Credit Valley Conservation Authority has identified it as an Environmentally Significant Area; The Waterfront Regeneration Trust calls it the best representation of naturally vegetated beveled till plain along the waterfront in the Golden Horseshoe; it is considered one of the top 11 botanical sites in Peel, and one of the top five in Mississauga. Cawthra is a diverse and healthy forest system supporting more than .292 plant species, 75 species of. animals, 43 species of birds and its ground flora shows much less disturbance than other city forests.
In 1997, the very rare Jefferson (mole) salamander was discovered there and in 1998 the threatened burrowing crayfish was identified,. both by the FCB, yet the City has shown no interest in protecting their wetlands habitat.
FCB's "Save the Salamanders" campaign can make a real difference in saving Cawthra's ecosystem, but the group needs you. If you can help, please contact Friends of the Cawthra Bush, Station B, Box 1504. Mississauga, ON, L4Y 4G2, (905) 278-7877 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Even a letter as short as "Salamanders should have the highest priority in management plans," can help our City make the right decisions.
A photograph was printed of a "Rare Jefferson salamanders have been found in the Cawthra Bush."
PLEEASSE SIGN OUR PETITION
It will make a difference!
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