LGSC, Leeds Community Pasture Association and the Thousand Islands Watershed Land Trust worked together to protect the wetlands on the East Pasture over three years (2014-2017) (see the map below for details). The East Pasture includes grasslands, woodlands and wetlands. Trumpeter Swans, wood ducks, teal, ring necks and mallards frequent the largest wetlands on the pasture and Upper Beverly Lake. Known species- at-risk in and around the Beverly Lakes include musk, northern map and snapping turtles, least bittern, black tern, bald eagles (active nest on Upper Beverly), gray ratsnake and grass pickerel all of which will benefit from water quality improvements.
The wetlands on the East Pasture are quite extensive covering some 111 hectares (276 acres) fed by natural springs. This water eventually flows into an arm of Soperton Creek which ultimately runs into Upper Beverly Lake (designated as a provincially significant wetland) at the top of the Gananoque watershed and then southwards through the Frontenac Arch Biosphere (an area designated by UNESCO in 2002 as a World Biosphere Reserve because of its internationally renowned natural heritage) and ultimately into the St Lawrence River.
In year 1 - 780 panels of fencing, amounting to some 2830 meters, were installed as well as the first of two solar waterers and a shallow water crossing. The first year's fencing will exclude cattle from 80 acres of habitat - 57 acres of wetlands and 23 acres of woodlot.
In 2015, the second year of work was also completed on time and within budget. Some 745 panels of cedar rail fencing covering 2.6 km were installed around the wetlands as outlined in the map below. Some 76 acres of habitat were protected from cattle intrusions - 31 acres of wetland and 45 acres of woodlot.
Last year also saw LGSC form an important partnership with Ducks Unlimited (DU). DU has worked to rebuild the water control structure to ensure the maintenance of open water important for the conservation of water and waterfowl.
Funding has been provided by TD Friends of the Environment Foundation, Environment Canada's EcoAction Program, Wildlife Habitat Canada and Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources' Land Stewardship and Habitat Restoration program. Student support was provided by Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources' Junior Rangers and students from Athens District High School.