Although frequently associated with sporting pursuits, the SSA’s involvement in conservation projects is considered to be equally important. Over the years the SSA has been associated with some ground-breaking initiatives that give pride not only to the association but to the region in general. Several of those are listed below.
SSA Conservation Projects Highlights
- Nesting Box construction and maintenance for species such as Eastern Bluebirds, Wood Ducks, and American Kestrels.
- Nesting platforms for Geese and Puddle Ducks are constructed and erected.
- Bat boxes and toad slabs are constructed and distributed
- A Demonstration Wildlife Management Area is under construction near the Club House
- Interpretive trails are being developed on the S S A club property
- Wildlife Management occurs through habitat manipulation in area woodlands
- Monitor deer yards to provide information for management
- Many members are involved with the public in our annual Earth Day campaign during which we clean up streamside litter in and around Owen Sound
On the fishing side are the many Stream Enhancement projects in which valuable tributaries of Coldwater streams are fenced, stabilized and narrowed as required. Cattle access areas are constructed with landowner permission. The SSA is credited with the largest artificial spawning channels east of the Rockies. These channels are situated on the Sydenham River downstream of Inglis Falls.
Due to the generosity of the Ben Miller family, we have been permitted to operate two hatcheries on Weaver’s Creek in the former Derby Township. In the largest, Chinook Salmon are raised. Native Rainbow Trout make their home in the smaller hatchery.
An extremely significant event each August is the Owen Sound Salmon Spectacular. This major fundraiser involves 300+ volunteers and provides a world class fishing tournament. Much of our conservation funding is due to this spectacular event (which just happens to be a lot of fun as well).
General Committee Project Gallery
Butterfly Habitat Conservation Project on Doug Reid Memorial Conservation Property
In 2019, the SSA Wildlife Advisory Committee started to plan for an area, friendly to our native butterfly population. We asked Cheryl Jobbins, a committee member, to act as the lead on this project. She actively researched what plants could be purchased and planted them in her personal garden until the area was ready for planting. We needed to have the large area (55m by 40 m) worked up. Sasha Wagner spent a day working and cultivating the site. After, Wayne Gallaugher kept the area weed free until the fall.
During the fall of 2020, a number of committee members planted the butterfly friendly plants and shrubs provided by Cheryl. We had asked SSA members to provide us with Milkweed pods so that we could plant part of the area with the seeds. Since this is a 3 year project, we have planted about 1/3 of the area. We hope that the spring of 2021, will show signs of growth.
Walker Wetlands Wildlife Pond
After the success of the Paired Mallards wildlife pond at the Doug Reid Memorial Conservation Property, the Wildlife Advisory Committee decided to explore the idea of a wildlife pond at the Walker Wetlands Conservation property owned by the Sydenham Conservation Foundation.
We enlisted the expert help of David McLaughlan, a DU biologist, to examine the site to see if it was suitable. After determining that a clay base existed, David worked on plans for a pond. The plan was for a pond approx. 0.51 acres. It was designed in the shape of a 7 with a length of 260 ft, a top width of 145 ft and a bottom width of 6o ft.
After approval, we hired King Holdings to construct the pond. As construction progressed, it was discovered that a spring was uncovered which filled the whole pond.
In the spring of 2021, we plan to smooth the topsoil and plant the area with clover.
We want to acknowledge the contribution of David McLaughlin to the success of this project.
Walker Wetlands Deer Protection
Over that last number of years, we have had legitimate reports of deer fawns being trapped and killed in a north/south fence separating the Walker Wetlands property from an adjacent farm. The solution was to make 2 holes in the fence by first bracing the posts on each of the hole. This has been completed by Wildlife Committee members and will be monitored for future activity.