Enbridge Solar Farm
In 2015, we began a partnership with Enbridge to enhance the existing prairie and woodland habitats and create wetland habitat on the Sarnia solar farm facility. With the completion of this work, Enbridge will hold the largest meadow grassland in Ontario, outside of Walpole Island.
The work on this site involves the removal of invasive species, excavating ponds, planting appropriate native species, and monitoring habitats.
We perform two bird surveys each year to determine where and how wildlife are using the site. There are several grassland birds using the tallgrass prairie for nesting through the spring and summer: grasshooper sparrow (a special concern species), clay coloured sparrow, and eastern meadowlark (threatened species). The composition changes in the winter as these birds migrate south and different species settle in for the winter. Winter residents include short-eared owls (special concern), snowy owls, tree sparrows, and dark-eyed junco. All year round, this site is a hotspot for raptors that are observed soaring overhead or resting on the panels.
Restoring a Former Aggregate Mine-County of Lambton
Ecosystem Restoration Projects
Return the Landscape has been involved with a number of large-scale restoration projects in the Sarnia-Lambton area. We work with industry, schools and municipalities to develop the optimal strategy for each site that meets the landowner's goals.
During our restoration work, we often partner with Ontario Nativescapes for large scale projects. Their website can be accessed at: http://www.ontarionativescape.ca/
Click on the place names below or scroll through this page to few examples of our recent projects:
Talfourd Creek: A partnership with Aamjiwnaang First Nations
Story of Talfourd Creek
Cardiff Park, behind St. Clair Secondary School, is being returned to woodland after years of mowing. In the spring of 2014, the ground was too wet to mow until later in the year. During that time, RTL staff noticed a large number of spring ephemerals (e.g. spring beauty, Michigan lily, wood anemone) emerging in these areas that are normally mowed. With cooperation fro the City of Sarnia, these areas are no longer mowed and the leaves are left in the fall. Over the last few years we are seeing more and more native woodland.
The County of Lambton has partnered with Return the Landscape to restore a former aggregate pit to a natural habitat. This site is located in Port Franks within a coastal dune system, so beach grass was chosen for restoration. The grasses stabilize the sandy slope with their extensive root systems and add organic matter to the soil each year until it is suitable for other species in the surrounding landscapes to seed themselves in. This habitat enhancement increases the patch size of natural habitat in this area as it is bordered by protected areas managed by Lambton Wildlife Inc. and the Nature Conservancy of Canada.