The Town of Markham mowed the huge portion of the field south of the Cottonwood homes on June 8 as well as a large swath around the upper trail. Along with the grass, even small saplings of young trees were mowed down. Piles of trash and messy dirt left as a result in several parts of the meadow.
This goes directly against advice of Toronto Field Naturalist, because they suggest protecting this rare habitat for two threatened species of birds. Both the Bobolink and the Eastern Meadowlark are on the Species At Risk in Ontario List. The TFN has written the Town many letters to suggest protecting this area and not to turn this into a man -made park. What was done is a disregard to these recommendations. The Town of Markam has caused further damage to the rare meadow by mowing this grassy field. For the past few years, it has been the first time where they have mowed the whole field. In the previous years, only the shoulder along the roadway was mowed thus cleaning a walking path for people. While mowing narrow path for the people to walk was a nice thing to do, mowing almost the whole meadow in such a blatant way seems quite unreasonable.
Representatives of TFN say that not only has this caused disturbance, killed any nestlings and destroyed eggs, it has also removed food and egg-laying sources for butterflies and greatly reduced the chances that any butterfly eggs/caterpillars will be viable.
By the way, York Region in its Official Plan prohibits site alteration of areas with endangered and threatened species. According to Regional Official Plan (ROP) and the Species at Risk in Ontario List, the meadow cannot be disturbed because it is the habitat for threatened species. This meadow is a natural heritage feature as it is the location of the two threatened Ontario species: the Bobolink and the Eastern Meadowlark. Both are on the Species At Risk in Ontario List.
Besides apparent harm to the birds, this barbaric mowing left piles of garbage and soil surface deformed by mowing machinery.
People say that in the last 15 years the meadow has never been mowed so extensively and nobody can imagine what reason Town had for doing so now.