The multitude of plant and animal species found at Cooper Marsh Conservation Area will benefit from additional conservation efforts thanks to the recent contribution of $154,854 to the Cooper Marsh Biodiversity Project from the Nature Smart Climate Solutions Fund, a Government of Canada’s Department of Environment and Climate Change in partnership with Conservation Ontario. The federal grant supplements funding awarded by Ontario Power Generation in 2021.
The Cooper Marsh Biodiversity Project is a multi-year biodiversity-enhancement effort by the Raisin Region Conservation Authority (RRCA) aimed at protecting and enhancing the Marsh’s rich biodiversity through initiatives such as habitat planting and enhancement, invasive species control, biodiversity monitoring, and outreach. The RRCA is working with various community partners throughout the project to share resources and knowledge and identify collaborative opportunities.
“We are thrilled to receive this funding and would like to thank the Government of Canada for its investment in Cooper Marsh Conservation Area,” says Lisa Van De Ligt, RRCA’s Communications and Stewardship Team Lead. “Not only does Cooper Marsh provide habitat to a significant variety of plants and animals, including over 200 bird, 30 fish, and 8 amphibian species, it also helps mitigate pollution, reduce the impact of climate change, regulate water levels, and provide opportunities for visitors to connect with nature.”
The RRCA owns and conserves environmentally significant land such as Cooper Marsh Conservation Area to protect provincially significant wetlands, enhance forest cover, conserve sensitive ecological habitat, and provide recreational opportunities to the public.
As part of the Cooper Marsh Biodiversity Project, the RRCA is currently working on building, installing, and monitoring waterfowl nesting boxes, seeding native plants such as wild rice, removing and controlling the invasive common buckthorn, planning the creation of additional channels and ponds, and engaging the community in conservation through citizen science biodiversity monitoring and by hosting a series of public workshops.
Cooper Marsh is one of the RRCA’s three Conservation Areas. Located a few minutes’ drive from Lancaster, it is part of the larger Charlottenburg Marsh – one of the most significant wetlands in Ontario. The RRCA actively maintains, enhances, and restores this natural area. Cooper Marsh received 40,000 visitors in 2021.