The Hutton Creek Wetland is part of a 1445 hectares (3,571 acres) provincially significant wetland complex located in Elizabethtown-KitleyTwp. about 5km south of the Village of Lombardy.The Rideau Valley Conservation Authority (RVCA) owns the dam at Motts Mills.
Leeds Grenville Stewardship have been working with our partners at the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority (RVCA) and their 11 fellow land owners sharing a portion of the Hutton Creek Wetland Complex: a Provincially Significant Wetland (PSW). A group including: RVCF, RVCA, LGSC, Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC), and other stakeholders prepared a wetland management plan in 2011.
One of the main objectives is to increase the amount of open water, returning it to hemi-marsh conditions, as the wetland had been slowly taken over by cattails forming a monoculture. The loss of open water has had a major impact on breeding waterfowl and other edge breeding species. All land owners have worked together to sign an agreement that allowed for the construction of an earthen berm to replace an existing dam. This project was completed in 2015.
The South Kanata Development Corporation voluntarily chose to make a $250,000 contribution to the Rideau Valley Conservation Foundation to jumpstart the dam replacement and wetland restoration.
Following this, the partners agreed to draw down the water level for 3 years. The logs will be re-installed allowing water levels to return to normal: likely in 2020. In the meantime, with water levels lowered, the group wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to complete some other projects to achieve their goal of 50% open water.
This first project will be undertaken on property owned by the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville and would be available for multiple use activities by the public, including hunting.
The project received funding from Wildlife Habitat Canada, Rideau Valley Conservation Foundation, Leeds Grenville Stewardship Council, Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters Zone F, and In-Kind support from Ducks Unlimited, United Counties of Leeds and Grenville and Delta Waterfowl.
The project is scheduled to be completed December 2019 –March 2020 and will have the following purposes:
a) The creation of three ponds totaling 1.5 acres acting as a quiet area for waterfowl to rear their young and an area for shorebirds to feed.
b) The creation of 500 meters of channels to encourage more habitat and wildlife diversity and providing new fish passages and areas for spawning and feeding as well as creating critical life stage areas for amphibians, turtles and other wildlife.
c) Increasing waterfowl hunting opportunities is a major objective.
d) Promotion of the benefits of the project and feature the many partners by designing and installing interpretive signs on site
e) Involve and engage many local community minded partners including hunters, observers, outdoor enthusiasts and land owners
Dwayne, Shaun and Kerry also conducted a Marsh Monitoring on the Hutton Creek Wetland Complex in the spring of 2017, focusing on amphibians. The program is designed to collect information about the presence and abundance of bird and amphibian species in Great Lakes coastal and inland marshes. It will be interesting to compare the results of the survey to the survey results after the wetland has been fully restored.