Wetlands and ponds store and purify water; reduce flooding, erosion and pollution, and provide habitat for beautiful and diverse communities of flora and fauna. Unfortunately, 80% of Southern Ontario's wetlands have been destroyed.
Wetland habitat can be restored on retired farm fields by removing the underground drainage pipes that were installed many years ago to convert wetlands to farmland.
On water-tight soils in low-lying areas, FRW digs holes and builds dykes to create ponds and wetland areas. These sites are planted with many species of beautiful wetland plants such as blue flag iris, great blue lobelia, cardinal flower, joe pye weed, turtle head, gentian and fragrant water lily.
The little black specks are frog eggs
on an algal mat.
Tadpoles in a Beare Borrowpit frog pond.
Green frog tadpoles need a year to develop
into a young frog like this, which will absorb
its tail in a few weeks
Adult Green frog in an FRW frog pond.
(Left) Bob Johnson, Curator of Amphibians
and Reptiles at the Toronto Zoo leads
FRW's annual Amphibian Survey.
Working with our partners, FRW has created an amazing wetland area and pond complex in the Beare borrow-pit (soil quarry) to the east of the Little Rouge River and the Toronto Zoo.
This wetland and pond area is providing expanded habitat for green frogs, leopard frogs, grey tree frogs, wood frogs, American toads and many other interesting creatures.
Since it is accessible by public trails, this area has enhanced opportunities for wildlife appreciation and outdoor education.
Each year, FRW creates several new frog ponds on Priority Rouge Park Restoration sites.
Some amphibians (American toad, grey tree frog, leopard frog) can use shallow warm ponds that dry-up by mid-summer because their tadpoles mature quickly and the adults live on land.
Other frogs (green frog, bullfrog) have tadpoles that take more than one year to mature therefore they need ponds that retain deep water year round.
When logs and brush are placed in ponds they provide good hiding spots and places for cold-blooded turtles and frogs to warm-up in the sun, catch insects and digest their food.
Pond algae and plants provide food for aquatic insects, tadpoles and frogs which in turn feed snakes, ducks, great blue-heron, weasel, mink, coyote and marsh hawk.
FRW conducts regular biological monitoring (biomonitoring) of our restoration sites.
We have observed an incredible increase in the number and diversity of frogs, snakes, turtles, birds, dragonflies, butterflies and mammals.
FRW's annual public Amphibian Survey is co-led by Bob Johnson, the Curator of Amphibians and Reptiles at the nearby Toronto Zoo. Bob Johnson writes:
"There is no doubt that your restoration programme has increased suitable habitat, linked source populations, increased species abundance .... and breeding habitat for amphibians and reptiles .... "