Port Rowan, June 18, 2013 — The Long Point Causeway Improvement Project Steering Committee is looking forward to installing up to six more ecopassages along the Long Point Causeway thanks to $223,000 in recent funding received from Environment Canada’s Habitat Stewardship Program (HSP). Three ecopassages were built last fall to allow turtles, snakes and frogs to pass safety under the 3.6 kilometre roadway.
The funding enables the Long Point Causeway Improvement Project (LPCIP) to carry out the design, engineering and approvals work for additional ecopassages recommended in the project’s original feasibility study. Over the next 3 years, the committee plans to install at least six of these passages, to continue maintaining the barrier fencing that keeps the animals off the road, and to monitor the effectiveness of the ecopassages and fencing.
“We are very pleased to receive this ongoing support from Environment Canada for our efforts to reduce road mortality on the Causeway,” said LPCIP chair Paula Jongerden. “This continued funding shows that our work is considered scientifically valid and ecologically worthwhile”.
“We are also very pleased to advise that we have solid evidence that turtles and other animals are using the new ecopassages,” said Jongerden. The LPCIP began an expanded monitoring program in May to verify that animals are using the passages and to measure the direction and flow of water through the new aquatic ecopassage that reconnects the Big Creek Marsh with Long Point Bay. A sign dedicating this reconnection to the late Dr. Dave Ankney, an LPCIP committee member and respected local scientist, and his wife Sandi, was installed beside that ecopassage in May.
Environment Canada’s HSP is providing $223,000 over three years, bringing the total amount of funding raised by the LPCIP to nearly $1.2 million. Norfolk County has allocated $2.25 million in its capital budget for repaving the Causeway in 2017-2018. “Our goal is to have the additional ecopassages installed by the time this construction work begins,” said Jongerden.
As a first step, the LPCIP will be contacting several government agencies to find out what additional approvals and permits may be required to build more ecopassages under the Causeway. The LPCIP already spent more than $160,000 on studies, surveys and environmental assessments to install the first three ecopassages.
The Long Point Causeway Improvement Project is managed by Steering Committee comprised of representatives from 16 government agencies and local organizations and several individuals well-known in the community. The LPCIP receives financial and administrative support from the Long Point World Biosphere Reserve Foundation, which promotes research, monitoring, education and projects that support the goals of conservation and sustainable use in the Biosphere Reserve.
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