Our goal is to develop improved vegetation management practices along transmission and distribution utility corridors that benefit wildlife, including Species at Risk (SAR), while ensuring safe and reliable delivery of electricity in the Algoma Region of Northern Ontario.
Corridors for Life began in 2006, after wood turtles (Glyptemys insculpta) were discovered, during routine maintenance, along a section of Great Lakes Power Transmission’s right-of-way (ROW). The project was initiated to determine whether ROW maintenance practices had an impact on wood turtle habitat and health. Radio-telemetry was used to track wood turtles, in Algoma District, over a 3-year period. This radio tracking allowed Corridors for Life researchers to document wood turtle nesting and overwintering sites and to discover how the turtles were using the ROW as habitat.
In an effort to improve turtle habitat, artificial nest sites were constructed at two locations adjacent to river where the turtles were being tracked. These nest sites were installed to discourage turtles from nesting in gravel roads along the ROW, which were high-risk areas due to vehicular traffic. A year later, compatible shrubs were planted at three riparian locations to improve wood turtle habitat along the river and to deter traffic by recreational vehicles.
Wood turtle tracking continued through 2008, when the bulky radio telemetry units were removed. The next year, Corridors for Life began a public education campaign to inform people of how ATVs and other off-road vehicles detrimentally affect species-at-risk, particularly wood turtles, on the ROW, and we distributed our widely popular 18-month Turtles of Ontario calendar.
Life sciences inventories, to catalogue the vegetation in and adjacent to the ROW, as well as the animal species, including avian Species at Risk (SAR), that use the ROW as habitat, began in 2009. These inventories were the beginning of an ongoing study of the biodiversity found in our local rights-of-way, to identify habitat of potential SAR that may be found, as well as to determine the degree of similarity between vegetation in the ROW and adjacent habitats.
Corridors for Life has used the data collected during vegetation and wildlife surveys to develop habitat rehabilitation prescriptions, engaged in planting activities to control soil erosion in riparian areas, and develop educational materials for both industry and utility customers. To read more about our current and past projects and research, please visit our Projects page.