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PAST PROJECTS & TESTIMONIALS

Landowner Spotlight
An Interview with Tom Martin

What is the background to your Elgin Clean Water Program Project?
Erosion has always been a problem on my farm, especially after multiple days of heavy rainfall. In order to reduce erosion, grassed waterways were established causing my fields to become triangular, as opposed to rectangular. These triangular fields were difficult to work, especially as farm equipment became larger. I needed another solution to reduce erosion on my farm, which lead to the creation of eight wetlands on my property.

What sort of project was finally undertaken?
A series of eight wetlands were created on marginal land to capture, filter, and release water slowly into a municipal drain on my farm. Once the wetlands were created and began managing water, the grassed waterways were removed. Their removal has allowed for more efficient movement of farm equipment and has minimized herbicide overlap issues on my farm. From an agri-business perceptive, the loss of marginal land for wetland creation and the gain of productive land due to the removal of grassed waterways has been beneficial to my overall farming operation.

Have you seen any improvements to your property after completing the project?
The creation of these eight wetlands has probably been the best thing to happen to my farm in my lifetime. The wetlands have reduced erosion and nutrient runoff on my farm. After heavy rainfalls I have noticed that the wetlands have not only slowed and captured runoff, but have also helped filter nutrients, increasing the quality of water leaving my farm.

Working my fields is also more enjoyable since the removal of grassed waterways, and I have seen animal species on my farm that have never been present before. These wetlands have been a real joy for my family and for the health of my farm.

How did Conservation Authority staff assist with this project?
I am grateful for all the work Conservation Authority staff did to assist me with my project. Staff along with Darrell Randell from Ducks Unlimited offered wetland layout and contractor suggests. Their assistance was on-going throughout the entire project timeline, which made the project progress smoothly.

What would you say to other landowners considering an Elgin Clean Water Program project?
I would support anyone considering an Elgin Clean Water Program project on their property. This program made my project possible not only because of funding, but also because of the expertise and guidance staff provided. I was so pleased with my project’s outcome that I have begun another wetland creation project with the Elgin Clean Water Program.

Landowner Spotlight
An Interview with Duncan McCallum

What is the background to your Elgin Clean Water Program Project?
My farm was experiencing soil erosion and gully washout. I knew something needed to be done because my topsoil is only valuable on my farm, not in Lake Erie.

What sort of project was finally undertaken?
Once I decided to control the erosion on my farm, a catch basin system was designed and constructed. This system also includes riprap at the outlets.

Have you seen any improvements to your property after completing the project?
I have definitely seen improvements to my farm after the project was completed. Now erosion is under control and topsoil is staying on my farm. My farm is 100% workable and it has increased the value of my farm.

What would you say to other landowners considering an Elgin Clean Water Program project?
I would tell other landowners not to be scared to apply, staff are very helpful and the project benefits everyone.

Landowner Spotlight
An Interview with Sarah Emons

What is the background to your Elgin Clean Water Program Project?
During heavy rainfall water would collect in an area of low-lying land around a small pond on my farm. The excess water in my field caused erosive runoff, impacting the water quality downstream of my farm. Since water pooled in this area, the land was marginal for crop growth resulting in poor yields. For this reason, my family and I decided to make a change on our land that would be beneficial in terms of water management and biodiversity.

What sort of project was finally undertaken?
The existing pond on my farm was restored and expanded into a much larger wetland that would more effectively capture, filter, and slowly release water. Native prairie grasses were seeded and trees were planted along the perimeter of the wetland to provide additional wildlife habitat.

Have you seen any improvements to your property after completing the project?
I have seen improvements on my farm in terms of both water management and biodiversity. The wetland itself manages water on my farm by slowing and capturing runoff. It has also led to improved groundwater recharge, while reducing downstream flooding and water quality issues by filtering and slowly releasing water. The wetland also provides wildlife habitat that has greatly increase the biodiversity found on my farm. This biodiversity has improved my farm by increasing the presence of beneficial insects like pollinators, but also birds and amphibians that consume insect pests.

Landowner Spotlight
An Interview with Dick Brown

What is the background to your Elgin Clean Water Program Project?
The back of our property had a few different features. There are ponds that are part of an old oxbow of Catfish Creek, and prior to the project there was a Walnut and White Pine plantation. However, the Walnuts had developed canker and the pines weren’t doing very well either, and the understory began to be taken over by thorny undergrowth. I wasn’t sure what to do. I was talking to a friend about it, and he told me about the Elgin Clean Water Program and that there might be some funding available to do work on my property.
I got in touch with Catfish Creek Conservation Authority, and Tony Difazio came out to look at the property. He suggested doing a wetland creation project, and had Darrell Randell from Ducks Unlimited come to see if it could be a project they could help with.

What sort of project was finally undertaken?
Once Tony and Darrell had a look at the property, and saw how close to Catfish Creek it is, they suggested that a wetland project would be the best solution to replace our ailing tree plantation. With the spring flooding of the old oxbow ponds nearby, I realized this was a natural fit.

Once Tony and Darrell had planned it out, Frank Laemers came and did all the excavation work. He created all the ponds you now see here. It’s designed to fill up with flood water in spring, and any overflow connects into Catfish Creek. They also relocated many native wetland plants from our existing ponds to help colonize the newly created ones.

Have you seen any improvements to your property after completing the project?
We get a lot of satisfaction from seeing the increase in wildlife on our property. With these new ponds we now see snapping turtles, painted turtles, tree swallows, indigo buntings, and this spring we’ve had 80 to 90 ducklings hatched right here. We really want to do the best thing possible for the environment with this project. Even though this is a very small site, it provides habitat for so many animals that we know we’ve done the right thing.

How did Conservation Authority staff assist with this project?
They made it happen! They coordinated the whole thing; the Elgin Clean Water funding, Ducks Unlimited support, working with the contractor, and bringing in student volunteers to help with planting. Even creating access to the site to minimize impact to the existing wetlands was done be accessing our property through the adjacent Conservation Area.

What would you say to other landowners considering an Elgin Clean Water Program project?
Definitely pursue it. I’m fully committed to it. There have been a lot of benefits to us, it helps the environment and creates wildlife habitat, and the water purification benefits are important. People should go ahead with it if they’re thinking about a project on their land.

Thank you for the support from: