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Greater Mississauga Area
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January 20, 1998
Dear C. David Main:
RE: CAWTHRA WOODS MANAGEMENT AND IMPLEMENTATION PLANS
Thank you for the opportunity to review and comment on your plans. The forestry aspects of the plan reflect sound research, but are outside of my area of expertise. Generally my concerns focus on relatively less information provided on vegetative community ecology of understorey plants, wetlands, hydrology, sensitivity analysis and the recent confirmation of Ambystoma salamander population.. These items should be given higher priority in the report.
It is my opinion that the wetland areas of the woodlot must be evaluated using the standard evaluation of the Ministry of Natural Resources. This exercise will clearly identify the ecological forms and functions of these and rank its importance on a provincial scale.
On my initial inspection of the wetland in the woodlot I noted they are characterized by monoculture beds of spotted jewelweed. This may be indicative of environmental constaints, however, diversifying these areas should be considered given that wetland areas are usually the most productive and diverse habitats.
Other than wetland plant associations other herbacious plant communities are not listed or analysed in the report although it is suggested the data is available given the comments on use of the Floristic Quality Index of the woodlot as a whole. Could this data also be used for sensitivity analysis with respect to proposed activities in the woodlot. Likewise plant communities could also be analysed using similar wetness indices in conjunction with a wetland evaluation.
I am most concerned about the hydrological impacts, the need for further investigations as recommended and the opportunities for rehabilitation. Damming flows, and stormwater treatment may represent only a few of the options available for rehabilitation. Clay plugs or other groundwater barriers and the importation of water from other sources (e.g. neighbouring rooftops) to raise water tables are just a few other ideas to consider.
Pond enlargement or creation should not be negatively viewed as it relates to mosquitos. Large populations likely occur from widespread wet areas that are usually seasonal in nature. More permanent ponds would provide relatively less habitat and can also harbour more predators of mosquito larvae such as salamander larva. Stickleback fish that are very adaptable could also be introduced. It should be recognized that such insects are the base of the food chain and if the goals and objectives of this plan in strengthening the native ecosystem of this area is to be achieved, mosquitos will be an integral component.
Easement plantings should consider a wider range of herbacious plants, particularly wetland species where appropriate. Purple loosestrife removal by hand should be encouraged as soon as possible.
At this time I would not assume that biking is appropriate in this woodlot unless well controlled. A similar management example worth considering is that of Rattray Marsh.
I would also recommend that potential corridors and enhancement be analysed in relation to Cooksville and Applewood Creeks as well as south to the lakeshore. Obviously continous wooded corridors are not feasible but improvements and minimizing gaps for some species would be. Ditches, road right of ways and street plantings could be looked at.
If you would like to discuss any of these items further or desire further input and review of further studies and implementation plans please feel free to contact myself.
Sincerely - Robert Morris - CVC Biologist
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