Thursday, June 12, 2014

Lagoon Park Restoration tour with Jim Engel
     SUNDAY, June 8, 2014 at 1:00 PM
     Jim Engel has worked passionately these past several years to restore native species at the Lagoon Park Wildlife Preserve on Lakeshore Drive in Canandaigua.  The Canandaigua Botanical Society and the Canandaigua Lake Watershed Association worked together to raise funds towards Jim Engel’s efforts.  Join us as Jim gives us an informative walk through the 34 acres of wetlands and walking trails explaining the species were removed and planted. Plans are in place to add a covered information center and natural log benches.
A group of Botanical members and friends met Jim Engel at the Lagoon Park on the sunny Sunday afternoon of June 8, 2014 to take a look at how the restoration of native species is coming along.

Jim gave us a history of the area:
            1930’s – the outlet was a stream with forest on either side.  The stream split with a channel to the north and east
            1950-60’s – Route 5/20 was moved to current location.  Fill was taken from the area creating the lagoon and Muer Lake near the current water park.  The lagoon is about 6 to 8 feet deep and has a gravel bottom. Roseland Amusement Park had miniature train that traveled through the lagoon.
            1985 – Roseland Amusement Park closed and the area was let go – unmaintained.
Invasive species (Common European Buckthorn, Asian honeysuckle, Glossy Buckthorn) took over and created dense shade crowding out the native species.
            2002 – The City of Canandaigua and Department of Transportation created the trails and built bridges to form the current Lagoon Park.

              Jim Engel has been in communication with the City of Canandaigua since 2001 about his desire to restore native species back into the Lagoon Park.  The City of Canandaigua granted Jim permission to work on the restoration and has had city officials donate time along side volunteers from FLCC and the Canandaigua Botanical Society working towards restoration efforts.  Over the past several years money has been raised through the Canandaigua Botanical Society, Canandaigua Lake Watershed Association, and Canandaigua National Bank to help pay for the removal of invasive species and the purchase of native plants for restoration.  Most recently the Canandaigua Lake Watershed Association has secured a significant grant to complete work on the retention basins.  The Canandaigua Botanical Society is in the process of having Boy Scout work on his Eagle Award by building a kiosk with future hopes of an interpretive trail.  We also plan to have Marty Dodge create log benches to place along the trail. 
            Laura Ouimette is a member of the City of Canandaigua Tree Advisory Board where the Lagoon Park was made an example as to what type of species should be planted in the future North Shore project.  Native species are essential in maintaining a natural healthy ecosystem. 
            Jim explained the importance of insects and their role in the food chain that attracts and supports plants, fish, birds, and mammals.  Insects are essential in creating biomass which supports fruits which attract birds.  The more species of plants leads to more insects leads to more fruit leads to more ornamental qualities.  Because the buckthorn chokes out the native species, the variety of insects, plants, birds, fish, and other animals also declines. 
            A substantial amount of buckthorn was removed in 2013 and Jim continues to work at removing buckthorn by cutting smaller ones and girdling larger trunks.  Plantings of trees, shrubs, and wetland plants were made in 2013 and again with FLCC this past spring along with seed dispersals.  Trees were caged to help prevent damage from the Lagoon Park resident beavers. Jim reported a 20 percent dieback of spice bush and decent success of plants taking to the heavy clay soil.
            The Lagoon Park restoration project continues to be a work in progress for Jim Engel requiring support from the Canandaigua Community.  Jim Engel owns White Oak Nursery ( and has a webpage about the Lagoon Park:

Swamp Oak
Previously cleared area seen behind kayakers
Invasive phragmites can be seen over taking cat tails
Red Twig Dogwood and Silky Dogwood are desired species
Jim has cleared most of the invasive species off of the island reached by canoe
Evening night shade - not edible!
bed straw
that large shrub/tree is buckthorn
silky dogwood
Arrow wood virburnum
winter berry - bright red - holly family
The restoration will hopefully bring back: oriels, yellow warblers, northern oriels, tree swallows, osprey, wood duck.
 Evidence of Eastern Screech Owl have been seen at the Lagoon Park this year.
Russian Olive
white flowers are bindweed
Black willow
Dawn Redwood
Jim also built wood duck houses
above and below: Cottonwood tree
cinquefoil weed
LARGE buckthorn
trunk of large buckthorn girdled and treated for removal
hemp dogbane in the milkweed family

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