When restoration vision and restoration targets conflict: A case against targeting a single species for restoration within urban nature preserves

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Heather Whitehouse, Heather Beam

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The Niagara Escarpment, a world biosphere reserve, is the landscape setting of Lathrop Nature Preserve, a mature Carolinian forest in urbanized southern Ontario, Canada. Carolinian forest occupies only 1% of Canada’s land mass but is home to 25% of Canada’s rare species. Lathrop Nature Preserve provides habitat for numerous rare Carolinian forest flora and fauna and is also within the southernmost watershed in Canada with cold-water fish habitat. The vision for restoration in a nature preserve, including Lathrop Nature Preserve, is foremost to maintain rare habitats/species, and secondly to enhance habitat quantity and/or quality. Restoration targeting a single species without considering the impacts to other species can threaten the overall restoration vision. At Lathrop Nature Preserve, a restoration target was set to improve downstream water quality to offsite cold-water fish habitat. Onsite ponds were created a century ago when a rail line was built across several valleys, impeding overland flow and groundwater seepage. These ponds contribute sediment and warm water to the downstream cold-water fish habitat. The ultimate restoration goal was to completely remove both ponds; however, baseline inventories determined that both ponds provide the only overwintering habitat for a rare turtle. To meet the restoration vision of maintaining and enhancing biodiversity, the restoration target was revised to improve downstream habitat for cold-water fish while protecting the rare turtle habitat. Restoration goals are currently being revised, given the constraints of the retained rail line and minimizing the construction footprint in the rare Carolinian forest habitat.

Resource Type:
Conference Presentation, SER2021

Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program