For several years, the aging Motts Mills Dam and struggling wetland was identified as an important project. The dam, constructed in 1952 to maintain water levels on the Hutton Marsh, was in need of replacement. The wetland, once home to a diverse number of waterfowl and wildlife, was slowly being overtaken by cattails. The Motts Mills wetland is ecologically significant and is greatly valued by many local residents because of its migratory, living and breeding habitat for Ontario waterfowl and migratory birds.
“The interest in dealing with the dam and wetland has been there for years, it just took time for key pieces of the puzzle to fall into place,” said Pederson. “Everyone’s patience and support is greatly appreciated.”
What jumpstarted the project was South Kanata Development Corporation’s voluntary decision to make a $250,000 contribution to the RVCF to assist with the dam replacement and wetland restoration. Additional funds were achieved through a grant from Wildlife Habitat Canada to conserve, enhance and restore wildlife habitat in Hutton Marsh.
Last spring, the RVCA obtained full ownership of the dam by purchasing the west half of the dam from Bill and Heather Griffith. The dam was then decommissioned in the fall and replaced with an earthen berm. The berm structure, built by Ducks Unlimited Canada, is pivotal to the next stage of wetland restoration. The RVCF was also the benefactor of a generous partial land donation from the Griffiths of a parcel downstream from the dam. This new landholding supports the RVCF’s goal to protect wetlands, plant trees and pursue species at risk projects.
“Now that we have a water control option we hope the momentum continues. We look forward to developing a plan to rehabilitate and create a healthy upstream wetland,” says Pederson. The RVCA will continue to work collaboratively with Ducks Unlimited Canada, the Leeds-Grenville Stewardship Council, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry and the Township of Elizabethtown-Kitley to develop a long-term management plan for the berm and wetland restoration.
A special thank you to local landowners for their cooperation and involvement in this project and to representatives on the local steering committee who have worked successfully to bring landowners, agencies and funders together to move this project forward.