ERCA warns of illegal use of ATVs in Hillman Marsh Conservation Area

The Essex Region Conservation Authority is working with authorities to sanction ATV enthusiasts traveling illegally in Hillman Marsh.

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The Essex Regional Conservation Authority is disclosing that it is aware of off-road recreational vehicles traveling illegally in the Hillman Marsh Conservation Area.

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According to ERCA, ATVs and ATVs have been illegally accessing the site at points intended for construction traffic.

Over the past month, rehabilitation work has been carried out on the levees in the conservation area, in partnership with Ducks Unlimited Canada. Additionally, the Wheatley Port Authority regularly accesses the area to provide sand replenishment.

Vehicles have been allowed into the Hillman Marsh Conservation Area for construction purposes. All other vehicles are not authorized, ERCA warned.

“ATVs and any motorized vehicle are strictly prohibited in all conservation areas, including Hillman Marsh,” said Tim Byrne, CAO of the Essex Region Conservation Authority, in a public statement Wednesday.

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“In addition to causing further erosion in this already fragile area, these illegal activities are also potentially disturbing the nesting habitats of several endangered species.”

Violators should be informed that local authorities have been contacted about the violations and that law enforcement agencies will work with ERCA to detain those who illegally access Hillman Marsh.

Violators may be penalized in accordance with the Conservation Authorities Law and the Property Invasion Law.

Significant additional penalties may be imposed if the violator is found to have altered or destroyed habitats or specimens identified under the Endangered Species Act.

Located east of Leamington, the Hillman Marsh Conservation Area is considered a precious marsh habitat, providing a migration stopping point for more than 100 species of birds, as well as a home for ducks, egrets, herons, terns and even bald eagles.

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