| Apr 30, 2015

Landscape ecologist and Friends of the Salmon River founder, Gray Merriam, was invited to speak at the Cloyne and District Historical Society's regular monthly meeting on April 20. In his talk titled “The Relationship of Cloyne to the Salmon River”, Merriam began by explaining that the Salmon River watershed formed as a result of the bedrock that exists underneath Cloyne, which was laid down over 100 million years ago. He spoke of the clumps of pillow lava, some two feet in diameter, which can be seen at the junction of Road 506 and Highway 41 just south of Cloyne. They are the result of lava bubbling up when the bedrock was molten over 100 million years ago. The watershed resulted when glaciers, which formed 13,000 years ago, receded and left behind huge chunks of ice that melted and resulted in so many of the ponds that make up the region.

The Salmon River watershed is roughly 80 km long. It begins on the Precambrian shield about 200 meters south of Mazinaw Lake and drains south, emptying into the Bay of Quinte in Shannonville. Cloyne is located at the rivershed’s top end and Merriam stressed that “The most important part of the river system is its top end since, if you put something in there, they will get it in Shannonville sooner or later.”

He also said, “We are the last lake district in southern eastern Ontario that is still in pristine condition.”

Merriam spoke of a survey carried out in the 1990s by Rob Snetsinger, whose aim was to characterize the wetlands in Southern Ontario. Around Kennebec Lake, Snetsinger’s work underscored the fact that there are so many connecting pieces of wetland, each within 750 metres of each other. As a result, the area required the title “The Kennebec Wetland Complex”.

Merriam added that this unique and expansive wetland area scored a total of 743 points in a rating system used in the survey, which in turn deemed it a “provincially significant wetland”. He spoke of the wetland’s ability to manage flood waters, as well as the importance of managing the area’s forests in a sustainable way. “All of this is to say that we should value the land here since it is indeed very special and unique.” Merriam stressed the importance of making efforts to document these lands now and into the future and that local people need to be the driving force behind maintaining them.

Following the presentation Merriam said he feels this land is so valuable that we need to think about how we are going to look after it, not just now but well into the future.

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