History of Friends of Second Marsh

1972 – a number of naturalists and conservationists advocating on behalf of the Marsh created the Second Marsh Defense Association (SMDA), which incorporated in 1976. The organization, headed by Jim Richards and Bob Mills aggressively challenged the harbour expansion into the Marsh. A long, and often bitter, battle to save the Marsh was waged between 1972 and 1984. (See History of Second Marsh for more information on why the Second Marsh Defense Association was created.)

Substantial habitat destruction was caused to the marsh in the 1970’s when the Oshawa Harbour Commission planned to dredge the marsh for harbour development. In addition, development in the upstream watershed altered the flow regime and increased sedimentation and turbidity in the marsh. The combination of these factors caused substantial habitat degradation.

1972 – 1993 – Jim Richards served as the Executive Director of SMDA and then FSM.

1976 – 1995 – Bob Mills served as President of FSM.

1984 to1991 – the SMDA supported the transfer of the Marsh from the Oshawa Harbour Commission (now Hamilton-Oshawa Port Authority) back to the City and called for a team to explore rehabilitation measures for the Marsh.

1992 – a Management Plan to guide the rehabilitation of the Marsh, prepared by a Steering Committee comprised of key stakeholders, was endorsed by City Council. A network of partnerships was developed between the City of Oshawa, Environment Canada and SMDA to implement the recommendations approved in the Management Plan.

Early to mid 1990’s – FSM became a major partner in the implementation of Environment Canada’s $1.3 million Second Marsh restoration program.  Jim Richards of SMDA assumed the implementation and leadership role, and planned the day-to-day business of restoring the Marsh

1993 – SMDA became FSM and a new management agreement clarified partnership roles. FSM became responsible for education, interpretation and stewardship programs. Ducks Unlimited Canada assumed the mandate to restore and manage the Marsh.  The City of Oshawa became responsible for operations and maintenance. Environmental monitoring was carried out by Environment Canada and the Central Lake Ontario Conservation Authority (CLOCA).

Today – The work of FSM remains vital as the Marsh continues to be threatened by urban development; incompatible land uses; air, water, noise and light pollution; sedimentation; shoreline erosion; climate change; and invasive species like Invasive Phragmites. The City is updating the Second Marsh Management Plan and related Forest Management and Invasive Species Management Plans. The Second Marsh Management Committee), comprised of four active partners – the City, Ducks Unlimited Canada, CLOCA and FSM, will be responsible for implementing these plans. The McLaughlin Bay Wildlife Reserve adjacent to Second Marsh and owned by General Motors of Canada, is in the process of being transferred to the City, which will create one larger area under one ownership.