The Rouge River Valley: An Urban Wilderness by James E. Garratt

By James E. Garratt

The Rouge River Valley, 11 thousand acres of city desert, is a special, but very fragile and brief usual phenomenon latest in the confines of an immense North American urban, Toronto. Fed via the Oak Ridges Moraine, the Rouge river process has, over generations of time, lower its identification into the land, shaping the habitat for a large number of lifeforms, a lot of that are now both threatened or gone.

Author James E. Garratt, a pro environmentalist, stocks twenty years of private remark and ecological learn to bare the richness and circulate of seasonal adjustments during this unprecedented city park. This "portrait" of a yr within the Rouge Valley explores not just the range of lifestyles in its ordinary habitat but in addition the effect of city sprawl and the inevitable clash with development.

Is it attainable to be a real naturalist "grounded" in a latest urban? The phrases of Ian McHarg, an city planner, carry precise: "We want nature as a lot within the urban as within the country."

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52 THE R O U G E R I V E R V A L L E Y A n Urban Wilderness withdrawn from this land, and their meltwaters had swollen the ancestral Rouge River, this site would probably have been suitable for bank swallows to colonize. Continuing eastward and descending gradually, now I was, in a sense, travelling forward in geological time. Each step brought me closer to the river's present location, closer to its clear burbling water and the fresh scents of the June morning which flowed above it. Yet the path was not a steady descent, but was arranged in a series of large steps.

Its dorsal fin protruded for a moment from the surface, then, apparently not liking the feel of open air, the big fish scuttled away to deeper water. THE ROUGE RIVER V A L L E Y A n Urban Wilderness The mouth of the Rouge. 49 T H E R O U G E R I V E R V A L L E Y A n Urban Wilderness 50 Perhaps the carp was swimming toward a large avenue of open water, the edges of which I soon reached. The sides of this 'canal' were defined by cattails, but appeared too straight and geometrical to be natural. Indeed, this channel was probably man-made, as the Rouge Marsh had almost fallen victim to the old, mistaken belief that wetlands were useless wastelands.

49 T H E R O U G E R I V E R V A L L E Y A n Urban Wilderness 50 Perhaps the carp was swimming toward a large avenue of open water, the edges of which I soon reached. The sides of this 'canal' were defined by cattails, but appeared too straight and geometrical to be natural. Indeed, this channel was probably man-made, as the Rouge Marsh had almost fallen victim to the old, mistaken belief that wetlands were useless wastelands. Unlike Centennial Swamp, however, the lower Rouge Marsh had been spared to a degree.

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