By Liliana Usvat
The Regional Municipality of York is located north of the City of Toronto, and includes nine local municipalities, with a population of over 920,000. St. John’s Sideroad, a Regional road, is located in the Town of Aurora and lies within the watershed of the East Holland River, under the management of the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority.
The McKenzie Wetland Complex also provides habitat to turtles, frogs, small mammals and waterfowl, which are particularly susceptible to roadkill. Both Snapping Turtles and Painted Turtles are present and historically, the female turtles laid their eggs in nests dug into the soft gravel shoulders of St. John’s Sideroad. T
his also made the turtles particularly susceptible to roadkill, as they crossed the road in spring and again during September and October, when hatching or returning to their winter hibernation locations. Frogs and toads cross the road on warm wet nights in spring and again in fall.
Ducks and geese that nest in the wetland also cross the road when moving their broods to seek feeding opportunities. The sheet-pile retaining walls reduced the incidence of roadkill, by preventing the animals from actually gaining access to the road surface itself.
Wildlife viewing and walking in the non-winter months, and ice-skating in the winter have historically been the primary human activities associated with the McKenzie Wetland Complex.