By Ryan McGreal
Published October 25, 2007
From the Law of Unintended Consequences Dept:
The Hamilton Spectator reports today that accumulated silt washing down from the West Mountain, Ancaster, Dundas and Waterdown suburbs is dumping 17,000 tonnes of sediment into Cootes Paradise per year.
According to a new report by Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG) ecologist Jennifer Bowman, Cootes will be completely filled in 90 years if nothing is done to stop this.
Bowman says people living upstream in the Spencer, Chedoke, Ancaster, Spring and Borer's creek watersheds have to do more to combat erosion and runoff that carries sediment into Cootes.
"A lot of people don't realize putting up new homes and other activities are impacting the marsh, but water from 14 creeks drains into Cootes Paradise. We've cleaned up our act a little bit, but there's still a lot more sediment in the streams than is natural."
The report says provincial guidelines for aquatic life call for no more than 25 milligrams of suspended sediment per litre of water, but Ancaster creek last year had a mean value of 135.31 mg/L and Spencer Creek, below the junction with Ancaster Creek, had a value of 84.85 mg/L.
Bowman adds that Cootes "supplies vital habitat for fish and wildlife of Lake Ontario and its loss would be devastating."