Saving Ellice Swamp

Saving Ellice Swamp

The Ellice Swamp, the largest wooded area in Perth County covering 2,115 acres, is located between Stratford and Milverton in the northeast portion of the Thames River watershed. The swamp is an important natural water storage/ recharge area in the watershed, helping to maintain stream flow and water table levels throughout the year. The swamp provides a high diversity of habitat communities for the numerous species of wildlife that frequent the area. Bird species are abundant and some, such as the golden-winged warbler, are found nowhere else in the county.Over the years, the characteristics of the swamp have been altered as large areas were planted in coniferous tree species. Other disturbances that threaten the area include snowmobile trails, gravel roads, the construction of drains through the swamp, and a railway right-of-way that cuts into the site.

Ellice Swamp is owned by the Upper Thames and Grand River Conservation Authorities. A number of community groups, including the Stratford Field Naturalists (one of Ontario Nature’s 140 member groups), have banded together as Friends of the Ellice Swamp to work with the conservation authorities in developing and implementing a management plan for the future stewardship of the site. One of the ongoing issues yet to be resolved is hunting. The Stratford Field Naturalists and several other local groups are opposed to hunting continuing to be a permitted activity within the swamp. The conservation authorities will need to make a decision on this matter.

For further information, contact Jennifer Baker,
Ontario Nature’s Southern Region Coordinator:
jenniferb@ontarionature.org or by phone at (905) 527-9477.

 

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Images courtesy of Steven Huyser-Honig,
West Grand Boulevard Collaborative, & Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve.