As work takes place on both the east and west sides of the Cataraqui River in preparation for the construction of the third crossing, the City of Kingston is taking steps to protect the turtle populations along the riverbanks.
According to the Third Crossing Team for the City of Kingston, a turtle exclusion fence and a turbidity curtain will be installed in the river, on both sides, over the next few weeks.
“Turtles and the protection of local turtle habitat are important considerations for the project team and we continue to learn and hear from resident about this community consideration,” the Third Crossing Team said in a press release on Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2019.
A turbidity curtain is a flexible, impermeable barrier that contains sediment in water. The curtains are weighted at the bottom to ensure silt and sediment don’t travel under the curtain, and are supported along the top with a floatation system. The curtains will be installed completely around the work areas on both sides of the Cataraqui River.
The turtle exclusion fences have been specially designed to attach to the turbidity curtain and prevent turtles from entering the construction areas. According to the Third Crossing Team, this work has been approved by Parks Canada, and all of the necessary permits and approvals have been received.
In preparation and during the installation of the fences and turbidity curtains, members of the public in the areas of construction may note a few things. The work will begin on the west side of the river, and then move to the east side, according to Marie Bartlette, communications officer with the City of Kingston’s Third Crossing Team. Here are some of the things you may notice occurring in the work areas:
- A drone will be used to capture images of the area, and of the submerged aquatic vegetation. The aquatic vegetation solely within the turtle exclusion area will be trimmed in an effort to encourage turtles to leave the immediate area, and to allow for easier turtle monitoring during construction.
- The trimmed vegetation will then be placed on shore, above high water, to dry. Once dried, the vegetation will be composted.
- Lastly, the turbidity curtain and the turtle fencing will be installed in the water.
Additionally, the Third Crossing Team will post some upcoming community engagement events regarding environmental considerations. According to the Team, they have been working closely with Parks Canada for the last several months “to ensure the project will not have an adverse impact on the Cataraqui River, and the wildlife, vegetation, and cultural heritage of the river.”
“Parks Canada has been working with our team on the Detailed Impact Assessment (DIA). As part of the DIA, we will be launching online and in-person engagement, including two open houses and the release of the full DIA document on the project website,” the Third Crossing Team said.
“We will be sharing the dates of the open houses and posting the full document with our environmental considerations very soon.”