Flood Channels EAB
The management of Emerald Ash Borer in Conservation Halton’s Flood Channels
Conservation Halton is planning to remove all the ash trees along our flood channels due to the presence of Emerald Ash Borer (EAB). The Emerald Ash Borer is a highly destructive, non-native beetle species which is destroying ash trees throughout our community.
During the process of removing ash trees, our staff will also look at all the other trees along our channels to make sure they are healthy and are not a threat to our channel, or neighbours. Any trees which are unhealthy will be removed. The timetable for this work is still being finalized and we will provide notification directly to our neighbours and also post information on the Conservation Halton website.
We never like to remove a tree unless it’s absolutely necessary. Unfortunately we estimate that 7,000 trees along the channels will need to be removed. The impacts of Emerald Ash Borer mean that there is no other option.
Conservation Halton looks after 10,500 acres of land and millions of trees. Each year we plant more than 100,000 trees and have planted more than 4 million trees in the past 20 years. Residents with properties that back onto our flood channels may be impacted where we have to remove all of the trees within our property.
Schedule of ash tree removal in flood channels
Conservation Halton will post regular updates on this webpage to keep residents informed of where work is being done each week to remove ash trees in or near its flood channels.
Works on the Hager Rambo Channel system were completed in the week of November 6. In some areas, stumps will need to be revisited for treatment, but tree removals are completed.
The final removals took place in the week of November 6th with several larger trees in the downtown core needing the support of a crane.
As of November 13 the works to remove ash trees in Burlington and Milton has seen the removal of approximately 1,500 trees.
Works will start this week on the Morrison Wedgewood Channel system through Oakville. The system runs between Sixteen Mile Creek, near Oakville Golf Course, along the north side of Leighland Avenue, and then on to Iroquois Shoreline Woods, running south of Falgarwood Drive. Work will start at the westerly end, near Sixteen Mile Creek and work upstream.
It is anticipated that crews will remove a few larger trees that require the support of a crane in and around the 8th Line area during part of this week, however, aside from this, work will generally be in the downstream most section, west of Sixth Line and near the Oakville Golf Course.
It should be noted that part of the Town of Oakville’s Morrison Wedgewood Trail system runs alongside the channel through Oakville. During work, sections of this trail will be closed. Closures will only be during periods of time where contractors are working; the trail will be open in the evenings and weekends. In the week commencing 13th November, members of the public can anticipate closures near 8th Line, and along the trail between Sixth Line and the Sixteen Mile Creek.
(Update posted November 13, 2017 at 1 p.m.)
So, what happens when all the trees are gone?
In some areas, where there is a rich tree canopy, you may not even notice that some trees are gone. In these areas, we will focus on looking after the remaining tree cover to provide healthy woodland for many years to come.
In other areas, ash represents all or almost all of the trees in an area of the channel, and we will be removing all the woodland cover. In these areas we are committed to a restoration program that will provide a mixture of vegetation which will be low maintenance, prevent invasive species becoming established and support a rich urban wildlife habitat. However, it is unlikely that we will be replanting these areas with trees that will grow to be significant, due to the significant management pressures this will place on Conservation Halton 30 to 40 years from today.
About Conservation Halton’s Flood Control Dams and Channels
To protect our area communities and reduce impact of flooding Conservation Halton is responsible for looking after four dams and thirteen kilometres of water control channels.
Our dams serve a number of purposes:
- They help to hold some water back during rain and snowmelt events to reduce downstream flooding
- The water they store during wetter periods is then released during drier seasons to maintain flows of water in our creeks
- They offer recreational benefits including swimming boating and fishing (in designated areas)
Our channels include:
- 16 Mile Creek Channel through Milton,
- Morrison-Wedgewood Channel in Oakville, and
- Hager-Rambo Channel in Burlington.
Our channels were designed to safely move water through our communities and into Lake Ontario as quickly as possible. Channels serve a vital flood management function in our communities, and were developed in the 1970’s and 1980’s.
The way that we design modern communities to protect them from flooding has changed over time. Today, our developments provide more space for natural creeks to flow. Storm water ponds are also built within newer urban areas. This reflects a change from trying to move water through the system as quickly as possible, to trying to copy nature, allowing excess water to be stored and released more naturally over time after a rain event.
To ensure that the channels are able to move water efficiently, we try to maintain a clear concrete lined ‘drain’. For much of the year and sometimes for several years, these channels may appear dry, or have very small flows. The channels are designed to move large flood flows which may result from rapid rainfall or a longer rain event.
To learn more about Conservation Halton’s role in flood management, who to contact and how you can help us manage the channel near your property, please visit the Natural Hazards webpage.