Fish in Second Marsh
Many Great Lakes fish species use wetlands
for feeding, cover, spawning, and nursery habitat. Some fish stay
in marshes for most of the year, but seasonal visits are more common.
Those fish that spawn in
the early spring after the ice melts leave immediately after depositing
their eggs. These fish, which include Northern Pike, take advantage
of the warm shallow water temperatures and high dissolved oxygen
levels in the water, which is required for egg respiration.
Other fish spawn in late
spring to early summer, and the male stays with the eggs, fanning
them to provide the needed oxygen, and guard the eggs from predators.
An example of these fish includes the Largemouth Bass.
Second Marsh once sustained
large populations of game fish such as Northern Pike and Smallmouth
Bass. Due in part to water level changes and an increase in sediment
loading, these species have been much reduced in numbers. Steps
are being taken under the new Management Plan to rectify this. The Common Carp is present
in Second Marsh. This species has greatly increased in numbers and
is becoming destructive, by disturbing sediments and destroying
the vegetation. The marsh restoration project is designed to create
a more balanced fish population and manage nuisance plant species.
The official list of
species in Ontario according to the Ontario Ministry of Natural
Resources (Oct. 1997) stands at 158 species. Of these,
57 species have been recorded for the Second Marsh, Harmony,
Farewell and Black Creeks and the immediate offshore waters.
Mammals Residing in Second Marsh
diversity of mammals at Second Marsh is relatively high for an urban
wetland. However, increased urbanization has impacted on habitat
corridors and connections to the wetland for many species.
Marsh, the McLaughlin Bay Wildlife Reserve and Darlington Provincial
Park ensure that the eastern movement corridor persists and continues
to link the wetland to other natural areas. Do not be surprised
to encounter White-tailed Deer or Coyotes when strolling down one
of the paths that meander through the area.
official list of Ontario mammals as determined by the Ontario Ministry
of Natural Resources (OMNR, Oct. 1997) stands at 87 species. Of
these, only 32 species have been documented in the vicinity of Second
Marsh and McLaughlin Bay. This does not include Nutria, an escapee
not native to the region.
Amphibians and Reptiles of Second
Great Lakes wetlands are an essential habitat for frogs and toads.
These amphibians depend on the perfect mix of land and water that
fish rely on tadpoles as a source of food, while larger wading birds
rely on frogs as their source of nutrition. Frogs in return rely
on insects for their food supply.
A total of 8 species of reptiles (turtles and
snakes) have been recorded in and around Second Marsh Wildlife Area.
In the province of Ontario, there are about 30 documented species (OMNR,
Nov., 1997 data). Species like the common Snapping Turtle,
Midland Painted Turtle and Eastern Garter Snake are frequently
encountered here, while others on the list as not always present, or
We have recorded a total of 10 species of
amphibians (frogs, toads, salamanders) within the study area.
In Ontario 26 species are encountered (OMNR, Nov., 1997 data).
The American Toad, Northern Leopard Frog and Green Frog are the
species most often seen here, while others such as the Northern
Spring Peeper and Wood Frog are somewhat less frequently seen.
Others on the following list are considered to be very uncommon
little is known about why amphibians and reptiles are declining
worldwide, biologists do know enough to be concerned about organisms
that have survived on this planet for over 200 million years. Friends
of Second Marsh have been involved in the Great Lakes Wetlands Amphibian
Monitoring Program in an effort to understand the changes and implement
initiatives, which will restore and enhance existing habitat.
If you wish to become involved in our Amphibian
Monitoring Program please visit our
Get Involved Page.
Invertebrates Living in Second Marsh
As a lower link on the food chain, invertebrates
(animals without a backbone) of all types are a necessary source
of nutrition for many different species.
range from tiny plankton to crayfish and snails to dragonflies.
Many invertebrates are herbivores and feed on decaying plant material.
species are considered the link between wetland plants and larger
However, poor water quality at Second Marsh, sediment
resuspension by carp, and high nutrient and sediment loading have
all contributed to a significant decrease in aquatic invertebrate
diversity. The Ducks Unlimited restoration and rehabilitation project
will have a positive impact on the variety of these invertebrates
to produce a more diverse wildlife community.
Plants in and Around Second Marsh
than 360 species of vascular plants have been recorded at Second
Marsh and upwards of 500 species are found in the general area.
Two species found at the Marsh, Wild Rye (Elymus
riparius) and Bushy Cinquefoil (Potentilla
paradoxa) are classified as provincially rare. Several other species
are regarded as regionally rare or uncommon.
Friends of Second Marsh has established several
effective community-based planting programs for Second Marsh and
the entire Watershed that have successfully contributed to the improvement
of diversity in vegetation and the overall health of the ecosystem.