Council asked to be steward of natural habitat

By Karen Fallon

Armed with a presentation featuring an array of his wildlife photography, Greg Nemeth spoke to council on the importance of the Big Creek and surrounding habitat to the local eco-system.

Amherstburg is a growing community, noted Nemeth, but “wildlife and nature” is also a part of that community.

“Every year because of habitat loss more species are becoming threatened or endangered,” said Nemeth passionately.

“What are municipalities going to do to protect wildlife?” he asked.

There are said to be 79 families of birds in North America with 48 residing in Essex County along with a wide range of flora and fauna, animals, reptiles and insects.

“Wildlife doesn’t mind us sharing their space if we are quiet and respectful,” said Nemeth. “Most people don’t expect such an abundance of nature in such close proximity.”

Nemeth, who has photographed over 100 species of wild flowers in the area, says many trees, bushes and thickets have been cut down over the years, which in turn destroys natural habitat.

Also ponds, grasslands and swamps need to be given more attention, he noted, because of the cycle of life they support.

“Man is the biggest destroyer of nature habitat in the world why does that have to apply here in Amherstburg?” asked Nemeth. “Development is inevitable, but I along with the flora and fauna wishes this isn’t going to occur along the Big Creek.”

Councilor Diane Pouget says the “amount of work” done by Nemeth to reveal the town’s natural areas is “incredible.”

“Thank you for coming before council to show us the importance of our hedgerows and all of our trees, for many generations to come,” she said.

Nemeth said hedgerows, can be up to fifty-foot in width and are home to a variety of wildlife.

Last year promoters were encouraging people to visit Point Pelee in an effort to see the Tiger Swallow Tailed Butterfly, says Nemeth, who noted has photographed the coveted insect around the Big Creek area along with the Giant Tiger Swallow Tailed Butterfly.

Councilor John Sutton, who says he had to divert his eyes from the “captivating” photography, noted that Nemeth has highlighted a lot of the concerns that the town is currently dealing with in respect to the Big Creek watershed.

In order to properly manage the provincially significant watershed, says Sutton the town is currently working with ERCA and senior levels of government.”

Sutton noted that a report would be coming back to council in the next three to six months on how to best manage the eco-system.

“We will then have a tool that will guide us in how to best manage Big Creek so that asset will be there for not only the residents of today, but also generations to come,” he added.

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