Long Point Causeway Improvement Project


Ecopassages installed on Long Point Causeway

Above photo : Members of the Long Point Causeway Improvement Committee and dignitaries turned out on a beautiful Friday morning, November 16, to witness the installation of ecopassages on Long Point. Participants included (left to right): MPP Toby Barrett, Long Point World Biosphere Reserve Foundation Vice President Paula Jongerden, Committee Coordinator Rick Levick, “Myrtle”, Councillor Betty Chanyi with grandson Ben Baruth, Committee member Jim Abbey and Biosphere Reserve President Brian Craig.

Port Rowan Good News, Dec. 2012

For Rick Levick, Christmas came early this year. “It’s so exciting” said Levick as he watched the wet ecopassage being installed west of the Canadian Wildlife Service office at Big Creek National Wildlife Area on the Long Point Causeway.

After years of hard work by the Causeway Improvement Committee of the Long Point World Biosphere Reserve Foundation, three ecopassages were installed to permit the safe movement of animals between Big Creek Marsh and Long Point’s Inner Bay under the Causeway road.

“It’s going back to the way nature designed” said Levick. “It’s a big operation dredging out that channel to restore connectivity”.

The wet ecopassage will allow fish and other aquatic species to travel back and forth. Two smaller dry ecopassages have already been installed for turtles, reptiles and small mammals. Levick said: “We were aiming to be done by the first week of December and we’re at least three or four days ahead of that”.

Critics warned of the cost of maintaining the ecopassages. Levick responded: “Bill Cridland [Norfolk County Roads Manager] isn’t worried. They maintain culverts all over Norfolk County. These structures are half the price of traditional box culverts”. Up to eight more ecopassages may be added after a two year study is undertaken by Long Point Waterfowl.

Committee member Jim Abbey attended the ceremony on November 16 and said “People forget how it all started. There was a tremendous sense of indignation about what was happening to the road itself and all the mortality. The first meeting took place at Bird Studies Canada about six years ago with Paul Ashley and Dave Reid and Scott [Gillingwater] and Rick and a lot of other people. They helped bring together a plurality of the community”. “There were concerns that it would be very expensive and property taxes would rise”. “There was a growing sense of nostalgia about what it was like years ago”. Abbey predicted: “Once this is in, people will see that it’s not catastrophic”. Abbey said: “Rick has shown real leadership. I don’t believe we would have weathered the controversies without his buoyant enthusiasm”.

Biologist Scott Gillingwater commented: “The positivity of the community has been phenomenal”. Councillor Chanyi described the initiative as “something that’s so very needed” and MPP Toby Barrett said: “A Causeway like this would never be allowed today”. “It’s our responsibility to remediate what was built”. Rick Levick said: “It will be reward enough when the first turtle goes in one end and out the other”.