“We all live downstream” – David Suzuki

Situated on the banks of the Speed River and encompassing a 2km section of Marden Creek, the project lands form a green corridor providing forest habitat, ecological connectivity and is an important riparian buffer contributing to the health of the Grand River watershed and the Great Lakes.

Integral and symbolic to the beginning of the Old-Growth Forest Project was the removal of the Marden Creek dam after 180 years of impoundment. In partnership with Trout Unlimited and the Wellington Stewardship Council ongoing rehabilitation efforts have restored the health and ecology of the creek, allowing it to once again flow naturally from source to confluence with the Speed River. Subsequent monitoring of the creek have found that healthy cold water stream species such as Sculpin and Brook Trout have returned to the Ignatius section of the creek!

By being stewards of these small tributaries we are ultimately taking care of something much bigger.

Brook-Trout-2Brook 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!

 

 

Significant ecological benefits from the dam’s removal include:

  • Improved water quality as measured by lower temperatures
  • Increased dissolved oxygen levels
  • Lower turbidity and decreased pathogens such as E. coli
  • Moving water that doesn’t support algal blooms
  • Free passage for fish and other wildlife between the Marden Creek and Speed River
  • Quality habitat for brook trout and other cold water species that had experienced major declines
  • Great biological diversity of the resulting exposed wetland

Photos of the pond, during the creek’s restoration, and one year later: