Over the years, Ontario Power Generation (OPG) has generously donated funds to various initiatives through the Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority (GRCA). The local conservation authority is grateful for OPG’s continued support, with a generous donation in 2019 that helped the GRCA with restoration projects within the Ganaraska Forest.
The first project, namely The Dell Road Project, saw the GRCA fence off a local tributary known as Soper Creek. The area, essential to the health of the watercourse and the species that live in and around it, was frequented by Ganaraska Forest recreational users. The creek, connecting to the Ganaraska River, contributes to the health and resources of Lake Ontario, which is a drinking water source for thousands of Ontario residents. The Ganaraska River supports a diverse biological community of aquatic and terrestrial species, and locally important recreational fishery including species like trout and salmon; thus the area is now protected to ensure a healthy future for these species and many others.
The second project, completed on the Ochonski Property in the central section of the Ganaraska Forest, saw the removal of dense populations of the invasive poplar and black locust trees. The trees were cut and the stumps were treated with herbicide to prevent the regeneration of new trees. The management of tallgrass prairies requires on-going efforts and constant monitoring to ensure the tree species are under control and that there is a healthy diversity of tallgrass species. Remnant patches are not only important because they are rare but because they are habitat for many provincially and nationally rare plants and wildlife species. Remnant prairies sustain unique gene pools that should be conserved for their ecological, economic and social values. With the removal of the tree species, Ochonski Prairie will be able to expand, diversify and can act as habitat for endangered and threatened grassland birds and the Eastern Hog-nose snake.
The GRCA was formed in October 1946 under the Conservation Authorities Act and is one of the oldest conservation authorities in Ontario. The conservation authority’s overall goal is the conservation, restoration, development and management of natural resources on a watershed basis while providing for the public enjoyment of the lands it oversees. The watersheds of the GRCA cover an area of 935 km2 from Wilmot Creek in Clarington to east of Cobourg and from the south shore of Rice Lake down to Lake Ontario, including the 11,000 acre Ganaraska Forest. In 1947, the first trees were planted on 1,580 acres. By 1991, the total amount of land acquired by GRCA was 10,400 acres. Reforestation was necessary on 50% of this land. In April of 1997, the GRCA became completely responsible for the management of the Ganaraska Forest. Today, the forest is a living example of how the principles of integrated resource management can be used to balance many different uses of forested lands on a sustainable and ecologically sound basis. With hundreds of kilometres of trails, the Ganaraska Forest provides year-round opportunities for a variety of activities.
For more information on the Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority’s programs and services, please contact the Conservation Authority at 905.885.8173 or visit www.grca.on.ca.