Meridian Brick is taking strong action to protect at-risk species on or around the Aldershot East property.
Some plant species at risk, including the American Columbo and Eastern Flowering Dogwood, have been identified in the area. So has a butterfly species at risk, the Mottled Duskywing Butterfly, which uses the New Jersey Tea plant as a host for its pupae.
“There are accepted practices for protecting these species,” said Bob Long of Long Environmental when updating neighbours about Species at Risk at the recent community meeting.
The New Jersey Tea plants and the Eastern Flowering Dogwood can both be safely transplanted to safe locations, well clear of the excavation. Meridian Brick intends to relocate both species prior to the excavation. The New Jersey Tea will be transplanted to suitable areas on site before tree clearing begins, while the Dogwoods will be replanted in appropriate areas. Some existing Dogwoods will be protected within the 15-metre-wide setback between adjacent properties and the quarry.
Meridian plans to preserve the American Columbo by leaving it in place. A 60-metre buffer will be left around the Columbo growing on the site, ensuring that it remains in place into the future.
These three species are the only species at risk which have been identified in the East cell of the Aldershot Quarry. Meridian Brick’s operations are fully compliant with the Endangered Species Act, and the mitigation plan should be completed this year.
Meridian Brick is also demonstrating due diligence by conducting surveys to test for the presence of certain salamander species, following reports of at-risk salamanders in the area. Meridian Brick takes any report of at-risk species in the area very seriously, recognizing the importance of preserving the environment for future generations.
Responding to the reports from neighbours respecting salamander species, Meridian Brick enlisted ecologists to carry out detailed salamander surveys. The ecologists, including recognized experts in Ontario salamander species, were in the field in 2016 and 2017, exploring the watershed areas where at-risk salamander species would be most likely to congregate. However, thus far, no at-risk salamander species have been identified at the East cell or the adjacent City of Burlington open-space property.
The ecological consultants will be in the field through the end of September. The team is interested in receiving information on salamanders from area residents, in order to ensure the surveys throughout 2017 are as thorough as possible.