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Wetlands

Re-establishing ecologically rich wetlands in King Township

Restored habitat flourishes at family farm near Ontario’s busiest highways

February 13, 2019
Kathryn Clark and DUC’s Bill Jones toured the winter wetland.
Kathryn Clark and DUC’s Bill Jones toured the winter wetland. © DUC

Kathryn Clark’s farm rests under a dusting of snow in a quiet corner of King Township. The landscape is beautifully dappled with woods and wetlands. In summer, the countryside comes alive with birdsong.

There are nearly 30 acres (12 hectares) of wetlands on Clark’s farm. It’s located on the Oak Ridges Moraine and is part of the large and biologically rich Pottageville Swamp north of Toronto. A keen conservationist, she has enhanced the natural features of her land with plantings of trees and native grassland that includes milkweed to support monarch butterflies.

The Pottageville Swamp is a provincially significant wetland that adjoined Holland Marsh until the 1920s when the northern marsh was largely drained for intensive agriculture. The treed swamp and cattail marsh habitats in the Pottageville Swamp provide a natural oasis for wildlife, including species at risk such as Blanding’s turtles and cerulean warblers.

In 2016, DUC worked with Kathryn to re-establish a wetland that had been previously drained for agricultural expansion. The newly restored, small wetland supplies year-round open water and spring breeding habitat for waterfowl and other wildlife.

Clark’s wetland restoration was funded by DUC through the now-ended Lake Simcoe Georgian Bay Wetland Collaborative program and the North American Waterfowl Management Plan, with in-kind support from Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority.

On a recent tour of the now-established wetland, DUC received a generous “payback” from the caring landowner.

“Kathryn is absolutely thrilled with the wetland and wanted to do her part to contribute to our mission,” says William Jones, development manager for DUC. “Her heart is definitely in the right place.”

The Clark farm stands in stark contrast to a teeming 400-series highway just a few kilometres away.
The Clark farm stands in stark contrast to a teeming 400-series highway just a few kilometres away. © DUC

Standing at the heart of this farm, it’s easy to forget that a few kilometres to the east is one of Ontario’s busiest highways where 100,000 vehicles pass by, every day.

The pressure of that highway, and the constant growth that it drives, stand in sharp contrast to this sheltered place—making Kathryn’s conservation commitment even more impressive.

The Managed Forest Tax Incentive Program & Wetlands

If you’re like Clark, you want to do as much for conservation as you can on your private land. Clark’s property is registered with the Province of Ontario’s Managed Forest Tax Incentive Program (MFTIP), which rewards her conservation spirit with a tax reduction.

DUC has a pilot partnership under this program with the Ontario Woodlot Association. Forest landowners who qualify for MFTIP, and have an existing wetland that is a minimum of five acres (two hectares) and meets our criteria for waterfowl habitat, can receive a 40 per cent reimbursement (up to $600) toward their required Managed Forest Plan.

The rewards of conservation

Learn more about DUC's landowner opportunities through the Ontario’s Managed Forest Tax Incentive Program.

Learn more