Damage to the Appleton Wetland Forest confirmed

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By John T. Fowler

In July Trish Dyer published a Tales of a Riverbank here in The Millstone reporting on a local controversy concerning damage to the large Appleton Wetland forest bordering the Mississippi River between Almonte and Appleton.Click here to read it  http://www.millstonenews.com/2011/07/tales-of-the-riverbank.html.

The controversy has to do with die-back of the extensive maple forest, dieback possibly the result of raised water levels in recent years on that part of the river caused by the installation of “flash boards” across the top of the falls in Almonte – the flash boards increase the “head” of water flowing to the electrical generating station in Almonte and thus produce more electricity.

As the photographs of the forest printed with that story were taken a couple of months or more earlier, The Millstone felt it worthwhile to obtain some further photos that show the state of the wetland forest as it is right now, at a time when growth and forest canopy should be at its most luxuriant.

The following set of four images, completely untouched in any way, were made in the first week of this August. Images one to three are at water level and clearly show substantial dieback of the forest.

Image four (which may be the most informative of all) is an aerial view of part of the forest. It shows most of the forest as a pale green where the dieback effect is occurring. In the centre-left of the image will be seen an “island” of darker green healthy forest. This area is slightly elevated above the rest of the forest and thus also above the flooding.