Ontario Power Generation

Western Waste Management Facility & Bruce Complex

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Certified Gold through 2023

Project Name
Project Type
DGR, South Priority Natural Area (SPNA) and North Priority Natural Area (NPNA)
Grassland
Phragmite Management at Baie Du Dore
Invasive Species
Snake Hibernaculum
Reptiles & Amphibians
Turtle Nesting Program
Reptiles & Amphibians
Turtle Basking Structure
Reptiles & Amphibians
OPG Environment Tent at Pumpkinfest
Awareness & Community Engagement
Snake Coverboard Monitoring Program
Reptiles & Amphibians
Amphibian Marsh Monitoring
Reptiles & Amphibians
Eastern Meadowlark Observations
Avian
Bruce Site Old Growth Forest
Forest
Bird Marsh Monitoring
Avian
Peregrine Falcon and Birds of Prey School Program
Awareness & Community Engagement

The Western Waste Management Facility & Bruce Complex program is located in Ontario, Canada near the Baie du Dore, a part of Lake Huron. This site contains grassland, wetland, and forest habitats that are home to a wide array of wildlife. The objective of this program is to protect, enhance, and restore habitats across the site to benefit wildlife while also teaching the community the importance of these ecosystems.

Practices and Impacts

  • OPG partners with the Invasive Phragmites Control Centre and Bruce Power to manage the wetlands for invasive phragmites to encourage an increase native biodiversity.
  • OPG funded the use of specialized aquatic machinery to cut phragmites in deep water. Almost 43 ha of phragmites were cut between 2018 and 2020. This project is managed adaptively, using drone images to assess phragmites treatment areas each year.
  • Frog call surveys are conducted annually at five established monitoring stations within the wetlands as part of the Marsh Monitoring Program (MMP). An ecologist and employee participate in evening monitoring events in the summer to identify frog and toad species and their abundance within the OPG Western Waste Management Facility wetlands.
  • Marsh bird monitoring is also conducted at the five monitoring stations as part of the MMP. Visual observations and recorded playbacks are used to identify least bittern, American bittern, sora, Virginia rail, common gallinule, American coot, and pied-billed grebe within the habitat. Data collected are compared over time to illustrate the health of the habitat.
  • Trail cameras are set up in the "Spirit Site" area on OPG property to monitor for native midland painted turtles, spotted turtles, and snapping turtles. The sandy substrate provides an ideal habitat where turtle nests have been observed in the past. Nesting cages provided by the Saugeen Ojibway Nation will be installed over discovered nests to protect them from predators.
  • Basking structures installed in a pond on site provide a safe basking area for turtles away from the shoreline. Midland painted turtles have been observed and photographed using the logs during monitoring events.
  • A hibernaculum was created for native snake species by digging a 6 foot depression below the frost line then covering the area with large and small rocks. In addition to providing a place to hibernate, larger rocks were placed so they receive direct sunlight for snakes to bask. The area is monitored visually by employees and an ecologist and with use of a trail camera.
  • 32 wooden cover boards were deployed and GPS located in the South Priority Natural Area (SPNA) and North Priority Natural Area (NPNA). These boards provide artificial shelter within the habitat to attract snake species. Information collected is mapped and will be used as a baseline for future projects. In 2020, five species of snakes were observed using the cover boards.
  • The open grassland areas on site provide eastern meadowlarks with habitat for nesting, foraging and shelter. When eastern meadowlarks are observed, their locations are recorded and monitored. In 2019 the birds were observed in 4 locations on site and in 2020 a potentially breeding pair was observed in the South Parcel grasslands.
  • 19 native butternut trees threatened by butternut canker are GPS located and monitored annually to collect percent crown in leaf, diameter at breast height, and description of visible butternut cankers on affected trees. One additional tree and one seedling were discovered during monitoring. Current data, compared to information collected on 11 living trees in 2008, indicates the same amount of trees present.
  • The team collaborates with local conservation organizations to plan and implement a community awareness and engagement learning event every year at Pumpkinfest. Community members that visit the tent gain understanding about habitat, conservation, and OPG’s environmental programs and initiatives on the Bruce nuclear site. In 2020, the team adapted to COVID-19 restrictions and in lieu of in person learning provided primary age school children and their families backyard environment activity kits available for curbside pickup.
  • The Peregrine Falcon and Birds of Prey School Program brings a live falcon to elementary schools as part of an environmental program that teaches students about habitats, conservation and being an environmental steward. The learning plan aligns with Ontario’s Provincial science curriculum. OPG sponsors these programs every year so the community can learn about local avian habitat such as the Baie Du Dore wetland located on OPG lands.


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