(WCS – R05/2021)
September 22, 2021 – Environment Canada is forecasting rainfall amounts of 60 to 90 mm starting today through early Friday morning, with a few localities possibly exceeding 100 mm. The higher amounts are forecasted for the upper part of the Rideau Valley Watershed. This widespread rainfall event is due to a cold front and a moisture-laden low pressure system that will arrive from the American Midwest.
Because the Rideau Valley Watershed is currently in a ‘minor low water condition,’ all water levels and flows are currently below normal, so significant flooding is not expected. However, this large rain event will cause all water levels and flows to increase rapidly and could cause localized flooding in small watercourses, urban areas and ditches.
The RVCA reminds the public to exercise extreme caution around all waterbodies and remind children about the dangers of playing near open water. Residents are reminded to make sure their sump pumps are in good working condition and to help reduce ponding by keeping ditches, culverts, and storm drains clear of obstructions.
This watershed conditions statement is in effect until Tuesday, September 28, 2021 at 5 PM or until an update has been issued.
Rideau Valley Conservation Authority is a partnership of municipalities within the Rideau Valley watershed created under the Conservation Authorities Act to deliver a range of programs in watershed management and natural resource conservation.
RVCA Watershed Conditions Statements:
- Water Safety – High flows, unstable banks, melting ice or other factors that could be dangerous for recreational users such as anglers, canoeists, hikers, children, pets, etc. Flooding is not expected.
- Flood Outlook – Early notice of the potential for flooding based on weather forecasts, calling for heavy rain, snow melt, high winds or other conditions that could lead to high runoff, cause ice jams and/or lakeshore flooding or erosion.
- Flood Watch – Flooding is possible in specific watercourses or municipalities. Municipalities, emergency services and individuals in flood prone areas should prepare.
- Flood Warning – Flooding is imminent or already occurring in specific watercourses or municipalities.
WESTPORT, Sept. 22, 2021 – Foley Mountain’s Spy Rock lookout is a popular fall destination at the best of times, but this year staff are preparing for record crowds as pandemic-weary residents search for safe ways to enjoy the season’s splendour.
Staff will be monitoring the volume of cars at peak times and turning vehicles away if necessary to manage crowds and line-ups. Spy Rock lookout will be limited to 25 people at a time, and visitors will be encouraged to use auxiliary parking at the Interpretive Centre and other areas of the park to ease congestion.
Site supervisor Rebecca Whitman said Thanksgiving weekend is the busiest time of the year, with weekends on either side of the holiday also attracting large crowds.
She said guests can help ensure their visit goes smoothly by following these tips:
- Arrive during off-peak times (ex. early morning, mid-week)
- Bring coins instead of credit cards for the pay machine, or use PayByPhone.com (location code 5204)
- Be prepared to hike to the lookout from auxiliary parking
- Have a backup plan if you’re turned away, especially if you’re coming from out of town
- Pack a picnic and enjoy other parts of the park, not just the lookout (read up on three alternative fall hikes here: https://www.rvca.ca/view-all-blog-posts/beyond-spy-rock-three-fabulous-fall-hikes-at-foley-mountain)
- Bring a mask for crowded areas and stay home if you’re feeling unwell.
For fall colour maps and park information visit www.rvca.ca/foley-fall-colours. For the most up-to-date information follow our Facebook pages at @FoleyMountain and @RideauValleyConservationAuthority or follow RVCA on Twitter at @RideauValleyCA.
Fall Colours at Foley Mountain, 2021
Foley Mountain is spectacular in fall, but visitors should plan ahead to reduce crowds, maintain public safety and ensure a safe and memorable visit for everyone.
During the peak season (end of September to mid-October), staff will be monitoring the volume of cars and turning vehicles away if necessary to manage crowds and line-ups at the parking machine. Spy Rock lookout will be limited to 25 people at a time, and visitors will be encouraged to park in auxiliary parking at the Interpretive Centre and other areas away from Spy Rock to ease congestion.
See the Foley Fall Colours map for alternative parking and trail directions (click map to download a PDF):
To ensure a safe and enjoyable visit, follow these tips:
AVOID PEAK TIMES:
Thanksgiving weekend is the busiest time of the year at Foley Mountain, with weekends on either side of the holiday also attracting large crowds. Avoid line-ups and crowds by visiting at off-peak times, such as early in the morning or in the evening, and mid-week instead of weekends. Please bring a mask for crowded areas.
The Spy Rock parking lot fills up quickly, especially on weekends. Come prepared with coins instead of credit cards for the pay machine, or use www.PayByPhone.com to reduce long line-ups (location code 5204).
You may also be asked to park in auxiliary parking areas at the Interpretive Centre, group camping site or at designated spots along the main road to reduce congestion. Be prepared to hike a short distance back to Spy Rock, either along the road or using one of the park’s other trails.
Staff will be enforcing a 25-person gathering limit at the Spy Rock lookout. Please be considerate of other visitors: give other groups lots of space and resist the temptation to linger a long time when others are waiting. Take your time to enjoy the view and take some photos, and then let others have a chance!
EXPLORE THE PARK:
There’s more to Foley Mountain than Spy Rock: explore it! Check out this blog outlining three alternative fall hikes to try: (link to come)
For maps and general park information visit www.rvca.ca/conservation-areas/fee-required/foley-mountain-ca. For the most up-to-date information follow our Facebook pages at @FoleyMountain and @RideauValleyConservationAuthority or follow RVCA on Twitter at @RideauValleyCA.
LANARK COUNTY, Sept. 15, 2021 — After a long wait, Lanark County is once again hosting a free tree giveaway this fall – with nearly three times as many trees available.
The county will offer 3,000 free trees on Sat. Sept. 25 at the Lanark County Perth Garage on Christie Lake Road. The drive-through event will allow residents to take home up to 10 native trees including red pine, white pine, tamarack, white birch, yellow birch and white cedar. Trees will be available from 9 am to 12 p.m. while supplies last.
Event organizer Michelle Vala from the county’s Public Works department said the giveaway is an important part of Lanark County’s goal to plant one million trees over 10 years as part of its climate action plan.
“We’re using these trees to store more carbon, to help the county become more resilient to climate change,” Vala said.
The effort dovetails perfectly with the RVCA’s commitment to watershed resiliency through tree planting and other stewardship efforts. Along with carbon sequestration, trees can help reduce floods and droughts, manage erosion, create wildlife habitat and contribute to more vibrant communities.
The county first partnered with RVCA for the giveaway in June 2020, but due to pandemic restrictions had not been able to host other events until now. A spring giveaway in May 2021 was cancelled due to the provincial stay-at-home order.
“I think this will be a very popular event,” Vala said. “The last event in 2020 was well-attended and people have been waiting a long time to come back.”
While ten trees is more than enough for most residents, those with bigger dreams (and bigger properties) may be eligible for the RVCA’s landowner tree planting program, which offers large-scale planting at a fraction of the cost. The RVCA plants about 90,000 trees in Lanark County each year through this program, helping to transform idle or marginal land into thriving forests.
To participate, landowners need a minimum of 1.25 acres and must be willing to plant at least 1,000 trees. This type of work would usually cost an average of $3/tree, but the RVCA’s program only costs $0.15/tree thanks to its generous funding partners. These include Forests Ontario, One Tree Planted, the Rideau Valley Conservation Foundation and more.
The Spring 2022 planting season is booking up fast, so contact our forestry team today to schedule your free site visit. Learn more at www.rvca.ca/stewardship-grants/tree-planting.
(WCS-LW - 4/2021) Sept. 8, 2021 —The Rideau Valley Water Response Team is maintaining a MINOR low water status for the Rideau River watershed after officials met to discuss conditions on Wed. Sept. 8. This low water status is a result of a warm and dry August. The August Weather Summary prepared by Environment and Climate Change Canada indicates that the average temperature at the Ottawa Airport was 2.4 °Celcius above normal and the monthly precipitation total was 57 percent of normal.
Watershed residents and businesses are encouraged to voluntarily reduce their water usage by 10 percent. This is especially important for those who have water-taking permits from surface or groundwater sources, as well as residents on private, communal, or municipal wells. There is less of a concern for residents of urban Ottawa because the City of Ottawa central drinking water system draws from the Ottawa River.
Because of minimal rainfall and warmer than average temperatures in August, the Rideau Valley Water Response Team decided to maintain a “Minor” low water severity. Stream flow values for the large waterways (i.e., Rideau River and Tay River) are at about 90 percent of their normal values for this time of year but stream flow values are well below normal for the smaller waterways (i.e., Jock River and Kemptville Creek). Field observations around the watershed indicate that ecological conditions are being impacted with increased fragmentation, extensive vegetation growth, low oxygen levels and algae growth in many streams. Looking ahead, the seven-day weather forecast suggests some but limited rain across the watershed.
Following an early spring freshet this year, Parks Canada staff are closely monitoring the water levels throughout the Rideau Canal system inside the Rideau Valley watershed. The water level in Bobs Lake (reservoir lake) is currently below normal and slowly declining. The water level in Christie Lake (flow-through lake) is also below normal and declining. Rideau River flows downstream of Big Rideau Lake remain at minimum. Water levels in the Rideau River below Smiths Falls are within navigable ranges.
Conservation Authority staff continue to monitor conditions and communicate with water managers throughout the watershed. Updates to this message will be issued as conditions warrant.
Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks: https://www.ontario.ca/page/ministry-environment-conservation-parks
Ontario’s Low Water Response program: https://www.ontario.ca/page/low-water-response-program.
RVCA website: www.rvca.ca
Hourly and daily streamflows and water levels: https://www.rvca.ca/watershed-monitoring-reporting/reporting/streamflow-water-levels.
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Rideau Valley Conservation Authority is a partnership of municipalities within the Rideau Valley watershed
created under the Conservation Authorities Act to deliver a range of programs in watershed management and
natural resource conservation.
WOLFE LAKE, Aug. 31, 2021 – If he’s being honest, Gordon Moore is looking forward to getting back to normal.
Before the pandemic, the Wolfe Lake Association’s water quality director had a pretty good gig with the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority: about once a month, RVCA staff showed up with their equipment and he drove them around the lake in his pontoon boat so they could collect their samples.
RVCA staff did all the work, while he enjoyed a day on the water with pleasant company and some interesting conversations.
These days, it’s a different story. With the spring’s COVID-19 restrictions preventing staff from congregating on the boat – and limiting the number of students RVCA could hire – volunteers like Gordon have been asked to fill in the gaps. No longer just the driver, Gordon has been tasked with doing it all.
RVCA’s acting surface water quality co-ordinator Haley Matschke drops off the equipment in the morning before she and her team head out to sample a neighbouring lake. She gives him a quick refresher on using the equipment, then Gordon spends five or six hours in the boat documenting levels of nitrogen and phosphorus, dissolved oxygen, water temperature and more. He returns the equipment and data to Haley at the end of the day.
“It’s a little nerve wracking,” laughed Gordon, who has lived on the lake year-round since 2010. “You’re nervous you’ll forget something or do something wrong.”
So far, so good – but he’s ready for the old system to return.
“I’m looking forward to just being the driver again,” he said.
This is just one of the many ways RVCA has had to adapt to pandemic restrictions. In the case of lake sampling, about 15 volunteers like Gordon have stepped up to ensure water quality issues continue to be monitored, and that new problems are discovered early.
Other programs have not been able to pivot quite so seamlessly. City Stream Watch, for example, relies on groups of volunteers to help with invasive species removals, garbage clean-ups and stream health monitoring. The program has been temporarily paused until it’s safe to bring large groups together. City Stream Watch program manager Jennifer Lamoureux is hopeful they will be able to restart the program next spring.
In the meantime, the RVCA is thankful for all the help it can get to ensure a healthy, thriving watershed for all.
“We’re so grateful to the volunteers who were willing to pivot to keep our programs going,” said Haley. “We know it’s not an easy job. The watershed is a better place with these volunteers watching out on our behalf.”
For more information about water quality monitoring visit www.rvca.ca/watershed-monitoring-reporting.