History of Friends of One Mile Creek

Landowners abutting One Mile Creek and other interested individuals formed the Friends of One Mile Creek (FOMC) in 2003 because of concerns regarding the condition of the creek and associated Lansdowne Pond. Working with the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA), the group has implemented a number of stewardship projects to revitalize the creek’s natural heritage.

Landowners abutting One Mile Creek and other interested individuals formed the Friends of One Mile Creek (FOMC) in 2003 because of concerns regarding the condition of the creek and associated Lansdowne Pond.

Working with the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA), the group implemented a number of stewardship projects to revitalize the creek’s natural heritage.

The goal of Friends of One Mile Creek is to:

“Collaborate with the community and relevant agencies to work efficiently toward restoring and revitalizing the water, wildlife and natural environment of the One Mile Creek watershed.”

With support from the NPCA, in the period from 2003 to 2012 FOMC held meetings and actively developed projects within the watershed  in order to educate and inform the Niagara-on-the-Lake community about how to help improve the health of One Mile Creek.

The people who started FOMC

Many people came together in 2003 to found Friends of One Mile Creek. The founding members and executive include (in alphabetical order) Michael Belfie, Gerry Beneteau, Bonnie Dawe, Ken Goodwin, Diana Laubitz, Marek Laubitz, Katleya Young-Chin and Klara Young-Chin.

Founding members and executive (in alphabetical order): Top row: Michael Belfie, Gerry Beneteau, Bonnie Dawe, Ken Goodwin; Bottom row: Diana Laubitz, Marek Laubitz, Katleya Young-Chin and Klara Young-Chin.

FOMC website

Wayback Machine FOMC July 8 2011
Wayback Machine FOMC July 8 2011

The FOMC website created for the general public unfortunately shut down in 2012 due to the loss of content after the host company failed to properly backup information. The original website focused on community action and engagement as shown below by the screenshot that shows the FOMC home page in 2011.

In 2018, a new website was created to provide access to resource material, give visibility to current concerns, encourage homeowners to do the right thing for the conservation, and to provide a case study of FOMC’s accomplishments and its history.

The current group

Many of the original leaders have retired, moved or passed away.

In 2019, we are revitalizing the group. The FOMC board now consists of three directors: Michael Fox, chair, Klara Young-Chin, vice-chair and project manager, and Gerry Beneteau, past president.

We welcome new members. Please sign up with your email to be a Friend of One Mile Creek.

Raising awareness in the community

Among the initiatives to raise awareness about the condition of the creek was a display at the Niagara Museum. Display boards showed the condition of the creek at the time as well as images from its past.

Scenes of One Mile Creek in the past
Scenes from about 2004 of One Mile Creek in a display at Niagara Museum

One Mile Creek Watershed Plan & Implementation Committee

The FOMC advocated the need for a Watershed Plan for One Mile Creek in order to comprehensively address the variety of issues associated with the creek and develop a long term strategy for correcting these concerns. The One Mile Creek Watershed Plan was conducted by Aquafor Beech Ltd. & LURA Consulting Ltd. for NPCA and was completed in October 2005. Copies were given to NOTL council members and is available in hardcopy format at the Public Library. You can read or download a PDF version on our website.

The Watershed Plan provides a framework for several of the undertakings to restore One Mile Creek and Lansdowne Pond and provides the necessary technical background for various funding projects developed by the FOMC and the NPCA.

An implementation committee made up of the Chautauqua Residents Group, FOMC, Niagara Parks Commission, NPCA, Parks Canada, Region of Niagara and the Town of NOTL was formed to discuss items such as planning process and study overview, Committee Terms of Reference, William Street Park Study, culvert upgrades, Lansdowne Pond study, extraneous flow remedial action plan, combined sewer overflow evaluation and audit by-law.

Meeting history

FOMC held regular meetings in May 2006, October 2006, September 2007, June 2008, September 2008, March 2009, September 2009, March 2010 and September 2010.

The One Mile Creek Implementation Committee met twice in 2008 to discuss:

  • the replacement of undersized culverts,
  • the creation of storm water management ponds,
  • the remediation of the old William Street landfill site (now William Street Park),
  • the ownership of Lansdowne Pond & the parcel at the corner of King/John Streets in NOTL,
  • the development of the One Mile Creek Stewardship Guide for residents along the creek.

One Mile Creek Progress and Challenges Met

2013 marked the 10th year since the initiation of the Friends of One Mile Creek organization. The recommended stewardship measures assigned to the FOMC in the 2005 One Mile Creek Watershed Study were met in the 10 years, and continue to be implemented. These measures are:

  • stream clean up program
  • in-stream and stream side habitat enhancement
  • environmental (water) monitoring program
  • environmental awareness program
  • One Mile Creek landowner stewardship guide – (prepared by NPCA)

A water monitoring program began April 2010 and the data collected is used to monitor for trends and quality improvement or degradation. You can read the latest watershed report card on our new website.

One Mile Creek Stewardship Guide

FOMC initiated the idea to create a comprehensive Stewardship Guide to educate and inform landowners along the One Mile Creek as well as other members of the community. For those living along the creek, this guide provides an invaluable resource in terms of learning what landowners can do to protect the water quality within One Mile Creek and the habitat surrounding it.

With the generous help of the NPCA, the Landowner Stewardship Guides were completed and hand delivered to landowners within a 30-meter buffer zone of the One Mile Creek. Additional mail-outs were sent to landowners within the watershed of One Mile Creek, as well as more hand deliveries by FOMC volunteers. The Stewardship Guide is available online on the FOMC website.

Pollinator planting by FOMC volunteers
Pollinator planting by FOMC volunteers in 2012

Riparian Plantings, Tree Plantings & Naturalization Projects

FOMC along with NPCA has undertaken the initiative to do several riparian plantings along the One Mile Creek. Riparian planting is putting in native plant species along the creek edge to create a buffer zone. Maintaining a riparian buffer zone is important in improving water quality/quantity and to increase habitat to support healthy and diverse aquatic and terrestrial wildlife.

The following is a list of riparian and naturalization projects completed to date:

  • 2004 – 1 riparian area planting, containing 1584 wildflower plugs and 50 shrubs.
  • 2006 – 3 projects, including 2 riparian area stabilization (coir matting, stakes and bio engineering), and 1 riparian planting project consisting of 684 wildflower plugs.
  • 2007 – 1 riparian planting along the One Mile Creek, 1332 wildflower plugs.
  • 2008 – 6 riparian and naturalization projects were completed on the One Mile Creek Watershed. Native vegetation was planted along riparian areas using over 330 tree and shrub seedlings, 4000 wildflower and grass plugs and 8 kg of wildflower, grass and sedge seed. One project had solarizing material installed over a large patch of Reed Canary Grass, which were planted with 198 wildflower plugs in 2009.
  • 2009 – 1 riparian and naturalization project to date completed on the One Mile Creek. Native vegetation was planted along the riparian area using 10 shrub seedlings and 198 wildflower and grass plugs.
  • 2010 – 1 tree planting project completed on the Upper Canada Heritage Trail, which is a small tributary of One Mile Creek. 85 trees were planted with the help of FOMC volunteers and landowners who back onto the Heritage Trail. Tree species that were planted include Eastern White Cedar, White Oak, Red Oak, Tulip Tree, Sugar Maple and Black Cherry.
  • 2011 – 1 naturalization project on the property that abuts the One Mile Creek at the corner of Gate and Johnson Street.
  • 2012 – Tree planting at William Street Park. 50 native tree and shrub species.
  • 2013 – Wildflower planting pollinator garden project at William Street Park with 2000+ wildflower plugs. This special project commemorated the 10th anniversary of the FOMC.
  • 2014 – Maintenance of the wildflower garden at William Street Park and planting of additional wildflowers. Erected two interpretive signs at William Street Park and on Niagara St at Lansdowne Pond.
  • 2015 – Maintenance of the wildflower garden at William Street Park and planted a large calliper Bur Oak.
  • 2016 – Tree planting at William Street Park with a TD grant – over two dozen trees. Ongoing maintenance of the wildflower garden at William Street Park.
  • 2017 – Pollinator Garden planted at King and John Street in The Commons in Niagara-on-the-Lake.
  • 2018 – Ongoing maintenance and additional plantings at pollinator garden at King and John Street in The Commons. Collaborated with volunteers from Google to weed and plant more wildflowers at garden in William Street Park.
  • 2020 – Major riparian restoration planting of native trees and shrubs along creek in park at King and John Streets

Creek Clean-Ups

FOMC arranges two creek clean-ups a year; one on Earth Day and one in the fall. Volunteers collect numerous bags of garbage, buckets full of broken glass, metal and various plastics. To date, FOMC has accomplished the following:

  • 7 Annual Earth Day Creek Clean Ups (2006-2012) & 4 Annual Fall Creek Clean Ups (2009-2012).
  • Fall 2009 marked the first year FOMC participated in the Great Canadian Shoreline Clean-up as part of their annual Fall Creek Clean-up. This clean up involved a full inventory of all garbage that was collected in a 1km area.
NPCA project sign June 2005
NPCA project sign June 2005

Summary of our Speaker Series

In an effort to educate and inform the FOMC members and the general public and to generate more interest in our initiatives, FOMC hosted a speaker series at least once a year.

  • Speaker Series #1: Constructed Wetlands (2006). Dr. Edgar Lemon, a retired professor of environmental physics of Cornell University, spoke to FOMC members and the public about the benefits of constructed wetlands.
  • Speaker Series #2: Riparian Planting (2007). Alison Thompson from the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority spoke to FOMC members and the public about riparian planting and other restoration projects.
  • Speaker Series #3: Wild About Your Garden (2008). Albert Garofalo from Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority spoke to FOMC members and the public to discuss some simple ways to create a natural and native garden and talked about the benefits of native plants.
  • Speaker Series #4: Source Water Protection (2008). Jayme Campbell from Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority spoke to FOMC members and the public about source water protection and how this new legislation relates to NOTL and One Mile Creek specifically.
  • Speaker Series #5: Think Global, Act Local (2009). Debbie Whitehouse from Niagara Parks Commission spoke to FOMC members and the public about why thinking globally and acting locally by engaging in volunteer work and grassroots organizations is important to the community.
  • Speaker Series #6: Restoring Nature to Niagara (2009). Corey Burant , Environmental Manager from the Niagara Restoration Council, spoke to FOMC members and the public about restoration projects in Niagara.
  • Special Speaker: NPCA in collaboration with FOMC (2010): Angus Norman from the Ministry of Natural Resources.
  • Speaker Series #7: Making $ense Out of Water Conservation: Threats & Opportunities for Our Land of Plenty”(2010). Melissa Hellwig from Niagara Sustainability Network spoke to FOMC members and the general public about various water conservation issues in Canada and the world.
  • Speaker Series #8: The Promise of Biochar (2010).Rob Diermair spoke to FOMC members and the general public about Bio Char: how it is made, how it can improve soils and possibly even help with climate change.
  • Speaker Series #9: Water Resource Issues: From Global to Local (2011). Dr. Gordon Young discussed major global freshwater issues, Canadian regional issues concerning snow and ice in relation to climate change and also provided us with his personal ideas and suggestions for One Mile Creek.
  • Speaker Series #10: Niagara’s Natural Treasures Assessment (2012). Deanna Lindblad spoke at the Annual General Meeting about the results of the Natural Areas Inventory project and how they are being used to conceptualize a natural heritage system for the Niagara Region to better understand the existing natural heritage resources and for future sustainable planning.
FOMC receiving the Conservation Achievement Award of Merit From NPCA in 2007 on behalf of the organization. (from L. to R.) NPCA Board Member Brian Baty, FOMC executive members, Katleya Young-Chin, Klara Young-Chin, Bonnie Dawe, Marek Laubitz (FOMC 1st President) and Mike Belfie
FOMC receiving the Conservation Achievement Award of Merit From NPCA in 2007 on behalf of the organization. (from L. to R.) NPCA Board Member Brian Baty, FOMC executive members, Katleya Young-Chin, Klara Young-Chin, Bonnie Dawe, Marek Laubitz (FOMC 1st President) and Mike Belfie.

Awards

2005 – Volunteer Recognition Award from the Council and Residents of the Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake for the protection of the environment contribution to the community

2006 – Conservation Achievement Award from the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority

2007 – Conservation Achievement Award of Merit from the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority

2008 – Conservation Achievement Award from the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority

2009 – Conservation Achievement Award from the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority

2010 – Volunteer of Community Groups Award from the Niagara Region

2010 – Conservation Achievement Award from the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority

2011 – Conservation Achievement Award from the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority

2012 – Conservation Achievement Award from the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority

2013 – Conservation Achievement Award from the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority

2014 – Conservation Achievement Award from the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority

2014 – Conservation Achievement Award of Merit from the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority awarded to Gerry Beneteau, Past President of FOMC

2015 – Conservation Achievement Award from the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority

2019 – Conservation Achievement Award from the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority

Klara and Katleya Young-Chin members representing the Friends of One Mile Creek organization at the Environmental Forum put on by Niagara College in NOTL.

Registration

Friends of One Mile Creek (FOMC) registered as a not-for-profit corporation in Canada in April 2019.


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