Ducks breeding at Cooper Marsh Conservation Area this year will be treated to newly repaired nesting boxes, complete with fresh woodchip bedding, thanks to recent maintenance and monitoring work by the Raisin Region Conservation Authority (RRCA).
“After making sure the nesting boxes at Cooper Marsh were in good condition, we recorded which waterfowl species used the boxes by examining leftover feathers and eggshell fragments,” says Jamie Would, RRCA’s Stewardship and Outreach Assistant. “This will help us determine the best spots to install additional nesting boxes.”
The work is part of the Cooper Marsh Biodiversity Project, a three-year initiative to restore and enhance habitat and increase biodiversity at the 663-acre Conservation Area. The project also includes mapping and removing invasive plant species, engaging the community in citizen-science biodiversity monitoring, and creating a long-term management plan for the Marsh.
A recent data analysis by the RRCA has shown that management strategies at Cooper Marsh during the last decade were successful at improving habitat.
“We have seen a significant increase in the abundance of birds who specifically require wetland habitat to survive and reproduce, such as the least bittern, the sora, and the Virginia rail,” says Would, who is coordinating the Biodiversity Project.
The RRCA will be working with various community partners throughout this project in order to share resources and knowledge and to identify collaborative opportunities. Funding support has been provided by both Ontario Power Generation and Environment and Climate Change Canada.
The RRCA also recently installed new wayfinding map signs within Cooper Marsh’s 11.5-kilometre nature trail system. The bilingual and accessibility-friendly signs will help visitors to confidently explore the trails and experience the Marsh’s rich biodiversity.