January 12, 2016 — Construction of the first of two large aquatic culverts on Long Point Causeway near the former mouth of Big Creek was completed in December. A second culvert will be installed at the north end of the Causeway in 2016.
Dredging to connect the new culvert of open water areas of the Big Creek Marsh has been delayed until August due to environmental concerns. When completed, dredging will restore water flow and fish spawning habitat in the Marsh.
The construction was carried out by Bre-Ex Construction Inc., of London, the low bidder on a tender issued by Norfolk County on behalf of the Long Point World Biosphere Reserve Foundation (LPWBRF) that has raised all of the funds required for the project.
This funding includes $200,000 from the US National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) through its Sustain Our Great Lakes program.
“One of this US program’s priorities is the restoration of Great Lakes coastal wetlands, including those on the Canadian side of the lakes such as the Big Creek Marsh,” said Brian Craig, president of the LPWBRF. “It is very gratifying to have the importance of our work to restore the historic aquatic connections between the Marsh and Long Point Bay recognized and supported financially by the NFWF.”
Most of the remaining funding for installing the two culverts and related work has come from Environment Canada’s National Wetlands Conservation Fund. The total cost of the culvert construction, dredging and fencing is estimated at nearly $700,000.
As well, funding from Environment Canada’s Habitat Stewardship Program for Species at Risk and Ontario’s Species at Risk Stewardship Fund has supported the completion of a full Environmental Assessment, various pre-construction studies and the design and engineering of the culverts. Stephen Burnett and Associates were the consulting engineers on the project and supervised the culvert construction by Bre-Ex.
With the addition of the US funding, the LPWBRF has now raised nearly $2.5 million for its work to reduce the negative effects of the Causeway on the surrounding ecosystem.