The importance of water to the project cannot be understated. Marden Creek is a watercourse that feeds the Speed River, which in turn is a tributary of the Grand River. The creek travels for 2.2 kilometres through the Ignatius Jesuit Centre, including a stretch of nearly a kilometre through the lands of the Ignatius Old-Growth Forest to meet the Speed River.
From the 1830’s until October of 2010, Marden Creek was dammed, forming a pond that could be seen on either side of Highway 6. Dams alter environmental integrity: they limit the range of fish and negatively impact water quality through sedimentation and forming warmer, slower water bodies. It is for these reasons that the dam removal and Marden Creek restoration became integral aspects of the Ignatius Old-Growth Forest.
History of Marden Creek at Ignatius
The Ignatius Jesuit Centre pond was constructed by the Nichol Family in 1832. The dam was originally used to power a lumber mill and eventually a grist mill. Thomas Bedford bought the land from the Nichols, and then sold it to the Jesuit Fathers of Upper Canada in 1913. In the early 1930’s the dam was rebuilt and strengthened to withstand storm events that had caused dam failures in the past. October 2010 saw the dam removed and the creek returned to its natural course as a cold-water stream.
Brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis). An indicator species of good water quality, they historically traveled Marden Creek to the Speed River. In the few years since the dam removal, brook trout have been seen again in the lower reaches of Marden Creek!