Friends of the Cawthra Bush
Greater Mississauga Area
Pages of Special Interest;
Other Table of Contents;
City of Mississauga.
ATTN: Urban Forest Management Advisory Committee
- Karin Brent, UFMAC Committee Coordinator.
RE: [#109] Norway maples wrongly removed - the second attack on Jefferson
It is specifically requested that this letter should be included in the earliest possible UFMAC agenda.
Dear Sirs: Sept. 17, 2001 [#109]
The City was caught red-handed violating the City's
Cawthra Woods Management and
Well ask your self this question; What is the point of creating forest management plans to protect forests' when they are not carried out or worse used by the City to destroy what they should protecting?? I don't use the term that the City most often uses, "woodlot", as that term means a place where you cut down trees for firewood and construction material. Currently UFMAC is setting its priorities for what parklands' they will provide aid to the City in creating management plans for. This exercise is also designed to ensure matters concerning the Cawthra Bush will not be allowed to presented to UFMAC by way of presentation or deputation, which will greatly aid the City in hiding just how it misuses the management plans created by UFMAC. In fact, the forest management plans that UFMAC creates to protect environmentally significant/sensitive areas are being used to destroy those very same areas by City staff that ignore or deliberately misinterpreted them! UFMAC needs to set as one of its priorities the review of how City staff are carrying out UFMAC's and City Council's approved forest management plans. If City staff are NOT carrying out the very specific instruction contained in the forest management plans that UFMAC approves, then surely this fact must be taken into account before aiding the City in any future forest management plans. UFMAC needs to know what the City will, in reality do, not do and why.
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Further more to what UFMAC's priorities should be - wildlife issues in Mississauga. Those of note, rare, threatened or endangered should be welcome on every UFMAC agenda as their survival depends on a speedy response to any concerns. UFMAC has to act like it cares by its actions and role. The Jefferson Salamander needs to be one of those species that UFMAC is willing to hear about at any time and especially if City staff have any dealings regarding the Jeffersons', they should report it to UFMAC, not hide it. Also, lands that are environmentally significant should also be welcome on any given UFMAC agenda. UFMAC appears to have taken the first step in ensuring the City will totally control UFMAC's agenda.
UFMAC should make the review of how the City is carrying out the Cawthra Management plans a top priority as the Cawthra Bush has been significantly upgraded to a Provincially Significant Wetlands Complex with a Federally declared threatened species, (the Jefferson Salamander), two very important environmental features that the existing management plans do not properly address. Further more the City has shown that it is not carrying out the existing Management plan. A list of questions is provided for UFMAC to ask the City to get the best possible understanding of the gravity of the situation and know more then just what the City wants you to know.
Time is an issue, to allowing the City to
delay hearing the facts till the Oct 22, UFMAC
Further more Jefferson salamanders have been know to migrate from the inside the forest 400 m (0.25 mi) and up to 1,600 m (1 mi), to get to their breeding ponds. The City claims that a buffer zone of 73 feet is somehow going protect these Salamanders? Given distance the Jefferson Salamanders can travel most of forest should be considered their habitat and subjected to forest management that specifically protects their habitat requirements and error on the side of caution to ensure their survival. In saying this it also needs to be clearly noted the City's management plans were not written to take into consideration two very important developments. The Cawthra Bush being declared a Provincially Significant Wetlands Complex with a Federally declared threatened species, (the Jefferson Salamander). The fact the City is having problems shows that it doesn't act like this matters. The City needs to upgrade its plans and present them to UFMAC and the FCB for review. UFMAC needs to give the City direction to do this as otherwise it will not happen in a timely fashion.
I withdraw my request, made in my letter dated Jul. 29/01, that the work be done at a later time in the year as the City has not done any of the studies it should have done before even starting the work, as they were to be used to control the work. Therefore the work needs to be put off till these studies are done and reviewed by UFMAC.
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From the UFMAC and City Council approved forest implementation plan for the Cawthra Bush dated Dec. 15/99 page AA 9, regarding controlling the Norway maples. Emphasis added.
[ COMMENTS - There is no "gradually thin out", it is a clear
cut. This forest management plan calls specifically for no
cutting when the salamander would be "breeding and migration" and the City's
clear cutting was done right in the middle of the time the Jefferson Salamanders
are known to be leaving the pond and travelling that route. The City
paid for a Salamander study that made that very clear and they keep that
study hidden from not only public but UFMAC as well. It is Sept. and there
are still salamanders coming out of the pond and in the general area.
I have seen them in the pond as late as Nov. I have studied the Salamanders
more then the City. The City's plan says all
Until such time that the complete exotic species survey is completed,
the following interim control measures will be adopted:
[ COMMENTS - The City has jumped ahead and tried to girdle four trees
at one time, in 2000. It needs to noted that the Norway maples have
not been properly girdled by the City's forestry staff. From; http://www.eeb.uconn.edu/cipwg/art_pubs/GUIDE/x15norway.html#C;
The plan clearly calls for the "Branches or stems of norway maples that are felled are to be left on the forest floor for habitat." and not only were the branches and steams not left to cover the area that they once covered, even after I requested it, but they were chipped up and removed from the forest. Which is not what was reported to the MNR by City staff. If the branches were left then it would not have created the death trap that the City has created. Jefferson Salamanders start to travel north along their established migration route only to find themselves exposed to predators and dehydration due to loss of forest cover.
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Further to the wrongful loss of forest cover - no plants were planted to replace those removed and the City says it will keep on cutting this Oct., unless UFMAC stops the City. ]
From the UFMAC and City Council approved forest implementation plan for the Cawthra Bush dated Dec. 15/99 page AA 10, regarding controlling the Norway maples. Emphasis added.
- Removal by manual severing of saplings below grade (with a shovel)
and hand pulling of
[ COMMENTS - Saw no evidence of any trees being removed by shovels.
Again the City states "The objective is to minimize habitat disturbance
by gradually thinning out the Norway maples", but it was a clear cut.
Material was removed from site which further harmed the environment.
This was hidden from the public and assistance from the public was not
sough, in fact the stewardship recording (615-4099), is still the same
one being played back in May of this year. If I had known when the
cutting was going to be done I would have been there to ensure it was done
right. Also the removal was hidden to make sure no one (such as myself),
would be there to quote the Cawthra Woods Management plan to City staff
as they were violating it. The City plan calls specifically for a
To aid the survival of the Jefferson Salamanders no further work should be done to Norway maples in the area till forest management plans have been updated to reflect the new environmental significance of the Cawthra Bush and the Jefferson Salamander. ]
From the UFMAC and City Council approved implementation plan for the Cawthra Bush dated Dec. 15/99 page 11. Emphasis added.
3.8 Wildlife - Issue Definition
The presence of breeding populations of amphibians (newts and salamanders) has been confirmed by members of the ‘Friends of Cawthra Bush’, who are continuing to investigate the finding independent of City staff involvement. ... Downed wood is a particularly important habitat requirement for salamanders (as well as many other amphibians, reptiles, insects, small mammals, etc.). In light of this finding, and the possible presence of relatively rare amphibians, there may be opportunity for provision of additional breeding habitat. City staff have contacted appropriate authorities/experts and are analysing these opportunities.
[ COMMENTS - Yes we are "continuing to investigate the finding independent of City staff involvement", but no one is listening. "Downed wood is a particularly important habitat requirement for salamanders", branches and stems should have been left but the City did just the opposite. Who are the people who are doing this and why are they not following the plan? The only habitat modifications opportunities that City staff are acting on, is removing habitat! ]
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From the UFMAC and City Council approved implementation plan for the Cawthra Bush dated Dec. 15/99 page 12. Emphasis added.
1. Through the park partnership program (See 3.1 above) contact special interest groups having the necessary knowledge or train other interested groups or individuals to begin an inventory of the fauna of Cawthra Woods.
[ COMMENTS - The City still shuts out the FCB and refuses to recognize the CRRA. Either way I was not contacted about this. ]
2. Continue the existing policy of leaving, standing den and snag
trees and downed wood in
[ COMMENTS - Downed wood was removed even after it was requested that it be left and the City informed the MNR that it would remain. The City should right away lay down about a foot thick layer of branches with leaves to replace this habitat, even if it means using material from outside Cawthra Bush. ]
4. Control of invasive plants, especially norway maple, must be assessed in known Jefferson complex salamander habitat to ensure that restoration plantings with native species are carried out immediately.
[ COMMENTS - Not done and Norway maples should remain till this situation is fully reviewed. ]
From the UFMAC and City Council approved forest management plan for the Cawthra Bush dated Dec. 15/99 page 20. Emphasis added.
Several recent discoveries have been made by members of The Friends of Cawthra Bush, a local group. In the spring of 1997, Jefferson complex salamanders (Ambystoma jeffersonianum x Ambystoma laterale) were observed to be mating in the pond located at the southerly end of the south lawn. The presence of this salamander was confirmed again in April of 1998. Jefferson salamanders are relatively rare, having a National Rank of G5 (the highest) and a Regional Ranking of 2 (second highest ranking for scarcity) as listed by the Natural Heritage Information Centre (Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, 1997). Other reported sitings by the Friends of Cawthra Bush include: red-backed salamanders, frogs located by the pond at the end of the south lawn, numerous toads and chimney crayfish found on the property adjacent to the easement. More research on herptile species inhabiting and/or breeding in Cawthra Woods and the adjacent easement needs to be done. It must include a much more rigorous inventory process to accurately assess population levels and habitat utilization.
[ COMMENTS - What has the City done in almost 2 years???? ]
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From the UFMAC and City Council approved forest management plan for the Cawthra Bush dated Dec. 15/99 page 32. Emphasis added.
4.7 Wildlife Management - Issue Definition
[ COMMENTS - Staff should report on what they have done. Below is what is repeated in the "Recommended Management Activities", repeated like it was important. ]
From the UFMAC and City Council approved forest management plan for the Cawthra Bush dated Dec. 15/99 page 33 & 34. Emphasis added.
A detailed inventory of reptiles and amphibians and continued seasonal monitoring of population levels, possibly in conjunction with the University of Guelph and/or other universities, colleges, high schools and local naturalists will be investigated. Protection of existing breeding and larval habitat for amphibians and possible provision of additional ponds is to be investigated.
From the UFMAC and City Council approved forest management plan for the Cawthra Bush dated Dec. 15/99 page A 42. Emphasis added.
4. It should be recognized that non-native plants are performing some ecological functions (e.g., soil stabilization, provision of habitat) and may be better than nothing at all. Thus the removal of non-native populations must be done in conjunction with re-establishment of native communities to prevent creating a greater ecological problem.
[ COMMENTS - The moisture regime is very important and the removal of the dense forest cover that Norway maples provide would have lower the moisture levels in the areas of removal and would be deadly to small Jefferson Salamanders leaving the pond. Moisture levels should be studied as well. A letter has been received from the University of Toronto offering a free study of the watertable at the Cawthra Bush and both the City and UFMAC has turned its back on this offer. WHY? ]
Another detail is the management plans doesn’t contain the
same details about Jefferson
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The enclosures and comments;
The "Salamander Survey at Cawthra Park" done for the City of
Mississauga by James P.
My July 29/01 letter to the MNR, CVC and City of Mississauga. Although I state that the issue is just timing in that letter, since then the City forest management plans have been reviewed in greater depth and timing is not the only issue. I withdraw my request that the work be done at a later time of the year as the City has not done any of the work it should have done before even starting the work. Therefore; the work needs to be put off till the City does the needed studies that are promised in its forest management and implementation plans and reviewed by UFMAC to ensure they are appropriate.
E-mails, dated Jul. 30/01 - Jul. 31/01 (from John Lohuis),
Jul. 31/01 (to John Lohuis), Aug.
The other e-mails. John Lohuis suggest that I will get a response from "Tony" but I never did. This is the way the City of Mississauga treats a community representative. The MNR has no such problem in responding to me. The e-mail from Judi Orendorff shows the City has certainly fooled the MNR with falsehoods. Way to make Hazel proud!
The City's letter dated Jul. 31/01, from Tony Fleischmann, the so-called Manager of Forestry. A master piece of deception and it is no wonder they didn't sent it to me, as I would not be fooled. Here are some point form comments;
* The statement that "associate brush material is to remain on site." is an outright falsehood. I have even check and photographed the piles of chipped wood around the Cawthra Bush and none had recently added material, to their piles of the same kind of material chipped up by this operation. And even if the City tries to argue this is not right, it will not change the fact the forest management plan called for the branches to be left to replace the very cover the City was removing.
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* First of all I am the person who sounded the alarm about the City
attacking the Jefferson
* This letter doesn't say who made the decision to go in, at the
time they did or who did the
* There is no suggestion in this letter of any error on the City's
part, all actions that are
* Where in the City's forest management plan does it say "the habitat
of the Jefferson
* The control of Norway maple is not being carried out according
to the City forest
* Were these students presented with the forest management plan and
if so why did they
* There are no details given about how the salamanders were monitored and what was seen.
* The idea that there is a reasonable "buffer zone" left for the
Jefferson Salamanders is
* Just as a side note - this letter have been provided to the Provincial government as a example of how City staff will provide falsehoods in writhing to fool the Provincial government.
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Questions/actions UFMAC should ask the City require a written report from staff on. UFMAC is a committee of Council and it can request this. Answers should be in writing as they would need to be verified. If UFMAC fails to act, then what else can the public believe but that UFMAC is knowing aiding the City in destroying the Cawthra Bush?
* How was the monitoring done by worker removing the Norway Maples and what was done to make sure salamanders were not stepped on?
* What specific training did the students who were doing the work have?
* Peter Lyons has reported to UFMAC there was a good crop of salamanders this year, he should be asked to provide, in writing, these facts as well as what ever else the City has to show the City has been studying and monitoring that the Cawthra Bush forest management and implementation plans have required the City do.
* Peter Lyons has earlier reported that a fence was to be built around the Jefferson breeding pond earlier this year and it was not. He should be asked to when it will be.
* James Bogart's study needs to rewritten so that the important facts contained in it can be used by staff and be shared with UFMAC, the FCB, MNR and CVC.
* The forest management plans calls for amphibian monitoring, what has been done and what has been done that relates to control of Norway maples?
* Has the "complete exotic species survey " been done?
* Has "City staff have contacted appropriate authorities/experts and are analysing these opportunities." in regrades to creating habitat for Jefferson Salamanders and what do they have to report.
* The City's forest management plans call for - More research on herptile species inhabiting and/or breeding in Cawthra Woods and the adjacent easement needs to be done. It must include a much more rigorous inventory process to accurately assess population levels and habitat utilization. Has this been done? If not, when?
* Are moisture levels going to be studied? Why has the City not agreed to the University of Toronto's offer of a free study of the watertable at the Cawthra Bush?
* Who decided how big the buffer zone should be and why is it that size?
* What has the City done to upgrade its plans to take into account the Cawthra Bush is now a Provincially Significant Wetlands Complex with a Federally declared threatened species, (the Jefferson Salamander)? If the City not, then the City should be told to do so.
* Ask for a copy of the City work order for the removal of the Norway maples and a copy of anything else used as instructions by the workers.
* A copy of the Cawthra Woods management and implementation plans should be sent to the MNR and CVC.
* Direct City staff to immediately do plants to replace the lost forest cover and lay down a foot or two of branches with leaves to create Jefferson Salamander habitat. This is so important that branches from outside the forest should be used.
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The Significance of Cawthra Woods, just so we don't forget the Cawthra
Bush is worth the special effort to over see the City actions to make sure
the City is properly controlled.
* High native Floristic Quality Index and native mean coefficient
I am willing to discuss my letter with you, in case the wording
seems a little ambiguous or
Please find enclosed;
The wrongful removal of Norway
The measurements noted here were
The removal of heavy forest cover
Financial Donations are Greatly Appreciated
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