The Rideau Valley Conservation Authority, in partnership with seven other agencies in Ottawa (City of Ottawa, Heron Park Community Association, Ottawa Flyfishers Society, Rideau Roundtable, National Defense HQ – Fish and Game Club), Ottawa Stewardship Council and the National Captial Commission) initiated the City Stream Watch collaborative.
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 a macro stream assessment protocol 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 2003 to 2013 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. From its inception in 2003, volunteer numbers have grown from 26 to over two hundred. In 2012, community volunteers worked a total of 1,162 hours on a number of different projects on city streams!
The Stream Watch program is constantly evolving and implementing new projects for volunteers to get involved with. Below is a list of some of the projects volunteers have participated in over the past eight years