The City Stream Watch Program is a community-based partnership which includes the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority, Heron Park Community Association, Ottawa Flyfishers Society, Rideau Roundtable, Canadian Forces Fish and Game Club, Ottawa Stewardship Council, City of Ottawa and the National Capital Commission.
The goal of the program is to obtain, record, and manage valuable information on the physical and biological characteristics of creeks and streams in the City of Ottawa, while ensuring that they are respected and valued natural features of the communities through which they flow. To this end, the program relies on and encourages the interest and commitment of volunteers from the community, guided by an experienced coordinator, to learn and conduct macro stream assessments on local waterways, participate in sampling fish communities through seining, and assist in stream clean-ups and stream rehabilitation projects.
The City Stream Watch program uses stream characterization protocols originally developed by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. Officials at the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority, to facilitate its use by community volunteers, have since altered the protocol. Development of the protocol was essential, as volunteer groups consist of people with a variety of educational backgrounds and experiences.
From its inception in 2003 the City Stream Watch Program has grown and expanded its studies to sample more urban streams and offer volunteers the chance to work on many different projects. Volunteer numbers have grown each year. In 2015, 315 community volunteers worked a total of 941 hours on a number of different projects on city streams!