WINDSOR, ONT. -- Amherstburg’s watersheds are about to be healthier with the creation of a new one-acre wetland at Holiday Beach Conservation Area.

The Amherstburg Community Foundation has raised more than $26,000 toward a new one-acre wetland as the first phase of a single track cycling project through the Essex Region Conservation Authority for which funds are still being raised.

“Wetlands act like kidneys that filter water, cleaning out nutrients like phosphorus and other contaminants. Locally, nearly 95 per of the Essex Region’s original wetlands have been lost since settlement began near the end of the 18th century,” an ERCA news release says.

Ultimately, the plan is to use the excavated fill from the wetland to create topographical interest for the new cycling trail. The trail will navigate around the new and existing wetlands, through the Essex County Demonstration Farm and connect with trails already in the conservation area.

“Wetlands are increasingly important when it comes to managing the impacts of extreme rainfall events, mitigating the impacts of flooding and taking action against climate change,” said Claire Wales, president of the Essex Region Conservation Foundation. “We are extremely thankful to the Amherstburg Community Foundation and all of its donors for their leadership in supporting this exciting project that benefits the environment, and encourages healthy and active lifestyles.”

ERCA says interest in cycling trails continue to grow with the expansion of greenways and the County Wide Active Transportation System.