Your Government Newsroom News Details


January 30, 2017
Grant bolsters Thames River Wetland Restoration Project

$25,000 from The Cowan Foundation will benefit the natural rehabilitation of floodplain land

260 acres of newly rehabilitated floodplain will continue to flourish, thanks to a generous grant from The Cowan Foundation.

On Thursday evening at a Ducks Unlimited “Partners in Conservation” reception in Toronto, a cheque for $25,000 was presented for the Thames River Wetlands Beachville Restoration Project. (See photo below)

This money has already been allocated to Phase 2 of the project, which occurred in the fall when 11 more wetlands were excavated on the property. In the spring, the area will start to naturalize, and eventually, trees, shrubs and native tall grasses will be planted. As the wetlands mature, they will be capable of absorbing more water, where it will be stored and slowly released back into the river, preventing downstream flooding.

The Thames River Wetlands Beachville Restoration Project is a partnership between Oxford County, Stewardship Oxford, Ducks Unlimited Canada, the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority (UTRCA) and the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR).

The partnership, established in 2013, has enabled approximately 260 acres of floodplain land between Beachville and Woodstock to be rehabilitated to a more natural state including tallgrass planting, reforestation, wetland creation and natural habitat creation. The area is now home to a new generation of wildlife including monarch butterflies, bees, snapping turtles, painted turtles, ducks, geese and migrating birds.

Visitors to the Oxford County Trail system in the area are also reaping the benefits of the newly restored floodplain. The western portion of the property has been developed by the Oxford County Trails Council with the construction of a trail so that while out for a hike, visitors will now be able to take in even more beauty that Oxford County has to offer.


Phil Holst, Director, Ducks Unlimited Canada/Vice Chair, Stewardship Oxford

“We are very grateful to The Cowan Foundation for their confidence in Ducks Unlimited and Stewardship Oxford to complete this important conservation work. This project is already adding to the ability of the floodplain to mitigate flooding on the Thames River while returning the area to a healthy functioning habitat.”

Terry Reidel, Executive Director, The Cowan Foundation

“The Cowan Foundation is pleased to support the Thames River Wetlands Beachville Restoration Project, an initiative that is important to our clients, employees and business partners in Oxford County and aligns with our goal to make a positive difference in the lives of Canadians and the broader well-being of our communities. Having Ducks Unlimited, Stewardship Oxford and the Upper Thames Conservation Authority working together to naturalize 260 acres is a significant undertaking and very much deserving of our donation.”


Cheque presentation from The Cowan Foundation to Ducks Unlimited Canada

In photo L-R:

Peter Crockett, Chief Administrative Officer, Oxford County

Jessica Jaremchuk, Regional Manager, The Frank Cowan Company 

Donna Barclay, Chief Underwriting Officer, The Frank Cowan Company

Dr. Karla Guyn, Chief Executive Officer, Ducks Unlimited Canada

Phil Holst, Director, Ducks Unlimited Canada/Vice Chair, Stewardship Oxford

Lynette Mader, Manager of Provincial Operations, Ducks Unlimited Canada

Quick Facts

  • The project is part of a three year agreement with the County of Oxford, Stewardship Oxford and Ducks Unlimited Canada.
  • The landscape used for the restoration project has been unable to re-naturalize on its own for the past thirty years.
  • The wetlands provide adequate water to the surrounding land as needed during drier months by acting as a sponge and releasing water that overflows from the Thames River back into the land as needed.
  • Many thanks to all the partners who supported the restoration project: those who’ve planted trees, donated time and resources including the Great Lakes Guardian Community Fund through the Government of Ontario and Ontario Southland Railway who helped with access to the land and several others.
  • The project ties into the environmental goal of the Future Oxford Community Sustainability Plan – to protect and restore the ecosystem.

Social media and online content

Twitter: Oxford County

Facebook: Oxford County

About Oxford County

Located in the heart of southwestern Ontario, Oxford County has a population of approximately 111,700 people across eight municipalities that are “growing stronger together” through a partnership-oriented, two-tier municipal government incorporated as the County of Oxford. Oxford County is emerging as a leader in sustainable growth through the Future Oxford Community Sustainability Plan and County Council’s commitment to achieving 100% renewable energy by 2050 and becoming a zero waste community. Situated in one of Ontario’s richest areas for farmland, agriculture forms a cornerstone of the County’s economy, which boasts 55,000 jobs in a rapidly expanding commercial and industrial sector bolstered by its location at the crossroads of Highways 401 and 403. The County offers a thriving local arts, culture and culinary community, as well as conservation parks, natural areas and more than 100 kilometres of scenic trails. The Oxford County Administration Building is located in Woodstock. Visit or follow our social media sites at Oxford County’s Strategic Plan is at

About The Cowan Foundation

The Cowan Foundationwas started in 1995 in honour of Frank Cowan, the founder of Frank Cowan Company and Cowan Insurance Group. The Foundation is sustained by the ongoing success of the Princeton Holdings group of companies including Cowan Insurance Group (and its subsidiaries: The Williamson Group, Millennium CreditRisk Management and Wentworth Financial Services), Frank Cowan Company, The Guarantee Company of North America and Cowan Asset Management. Together they provide insurance and risk management products and services for individuals, businesses, organizations and public entities as well as assist employers with their group benefits, retirement and health and disability management plans. The goal of The Cowan Foundation is to make a positive difference in the lives of Canadians and the broader well-being of our


Adam Nyp | Strategic Communication & Engagement

519.539.9800, ext. 3529 |


Oxford County is taking steps to support our community's response to COVID-19 (coronavirus disease) and measures taken by Southwestern Public Health. We are monitoring our operations daily to ensure we are taking the right actions to protect our residents, employees and visitors. Get updates at