Ontario Power Generation
Ontario Power Generation Wesleyville Site
Port Hope, Ontario, Canada
Certified Gold through 2022
OPG Wesleyville Coastal Marshlands Project
Wetlands & Water Bodies
OPG Wesleyville Nest Box Program
OPG Wesleyville Sea Lamprey Barrier
OPG Wesleyvile Creek Brook Trout Program
OPG Wesleyville Osprey Platform
About the Program
The Ontario Power Generation (OPG) Wesleyville site is located on the northern shore of Lake Ontario, approximately 8 km west of the Municipality of Port Hope. Wesleyville Creek flows from north to south across the eastern half of the property before draining into Lake Ontario. It is considered one the highest quality cold-water streams in the region and is valued for its native brook trout population. Other habitats on site include forested areas and coastal marsh. OPG is committed to maintaining biodiversity on their properties, with a focus on the 4 R's: retaining ecologically significant areas, restoring degraded habitats, replacing habitats that have been lost and recovering at-risk species. The site is a Priority Natural Area near an active powerhouse site and is one of 23 Great Lakes coastal wetlands selected as part of a long-term climate change study by Environment Canada.
Practices and Impacts
- In partnership with William Newell Consulting, Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority (GRCA) and others, the team manages two barrier beach wetlands totaling 70 acres. Species of plants in the wetlands include Canada waterweed, common bladderwort and lake bank sedge. Wildlife species utilizing the wetlands include chorus frogs, wood ducks and great blue herons. The team collects data on plant diversity, wildlife use and water quality to ensure continued habitat preservation, support research evaluating the effects of climate change and control for invasive species.
- Since 2009 the team has provided nest boxes for cavity nesting birds including eastern bluebirds and tree swallows. In partnership with William Newell Consulting, the team monitors 57 boxes for nesting success, including banding of young and some adults. Since the start of the project, over 1150 tree swallow and eastern bluebird young have fledged, with over 1100 banded. The team coordinates with nearby landowners to provide an additional 20 nest boxes, with plans to add 20-30 more in the next few years.
- In the mid-2000s, osprey first attempted to build a nest on site. Avian specialist Elizabeth Kellogg, who conducts the banding program, suggested that the team install a more stable nest platform on an adjacent pole, a former utility pole that had been de-energized. The platform was erected in 2010 and the osprey successfully relocated the following season. The project has proven successful, with the osprey averaging two young fledged per year.
- In the summer of 2001, GRCA reported the presence of the invasive sea lamprey in Wesleyville Creek. Ontario Power Generation, GRCA and the Great Lakes Fishery Commission teamed up to install a seasonal sea lamprey barrier to prevent the species from spawning in the creek. Lampricides were also applied. Through regular monitoring, the team has shown the barrier to be extremely successful, with no sea lamprey currently being detected in the creek.
- Since 1998, in partnership with GRCA and others, the team has worked to restore the native brook trout population in Wesleyville Creek. In 2016 and 2017, the team removed two culverts that were impeding stream flow and acting as barriers to trout movement. The team then restored the stream to its natural state, planting trees for bank stabilization and shading, and creating riffles and refuges for improved oxygenation and foraging. Annual monitoring includes fish diversity, stream flow and temperature and brook trout nest surveys. The project has proven successful, with brook trout spawning levels increasing and cold-water conditions being maintained.
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