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September 17, 2021

Lin Wang

September 17, 2021

Nick Fritzsche

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.

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(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.

To better understand local conditions, landowners, businesses, and industries are encouraged to contact Brian Stratton by email () if they are experiencing any unusual water-related problems. 

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. 

More resources:

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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More Information:
Contact: Brian Stratton, RVCA Manager Engineering Services
Rideau Valley Conservation Authority

613-692-6804, 1-800-267-3504 ext. 1141

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.

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CROW LAKE, Sept. 7, 2021 – A new plaque at Meisel Woods Conservation Area pays homage to one of the park’s earliest and most earnest caretakers: Joe Slater. 

Joe and his wife Sandi moved to the village of Crow Lake around 1999 to enjoy a quiet retirement outside the big city. They quickly became good friends with their neighbour, Dr. John Meisel, who owned 130 acres of pristine Precambrian Shield surrounding a small lake.

John graciously welcomed the couple to enjoy walks on his informal trails that followed the lake (called Bass or Beaver Lake depending who you ask), which they embraced as part of their new daily routine.

Even after the property was donated to the Rideau Valley Conservation Foundation in 2000, in those early years few outsiders visited the property. The Slaters often had it to themselves and cared for it as though it was their own. 

But tragedy struck in May 2003 when Sandi died suddenly, leaving Joe to walk the paths alone. In her memory, John and Joe worked with the Rideau Valley Conservation Foundation to create the Sandi Slater Memorial Trail later that fall, which Joe diligently maintained until his death in November 2019. 

“Staff from the conservation authority would show up to do some work and find that my dad had already done it,” said Sheryl Slater, Joe’s daughter. 

swim team at Crow Lake.ed

Joe expanded and formalized the trails around the lake. He used his background in civil engineering and called on old colleagues, including family friend Graydon Knights, to help design the 40-foot bridge at the south end of the lake. His put his son Jeff’s University of Waterloo swim team to work clearing paths and building rock cribs while they were up to train in the lake each summer. 

“My dad really committed himself to it,” Jeff said. “They wanted to give something back to the community and this was the best way he saw that he could do that.” 

Volunteers like Joe are key to making sure such pristine properties can be enjoyed by all watershed residents for decades to come, said RVCA’s Conservation Lands manager Chelsey Ellis. 

“We are delighted to support the installation of this plaque," Ellis said. "It is our small way of thanking Joe for all his hard work – hard work that can never truly be repaid."

But the out-and-back trails are still unfinished. A 3.5-km rugged trail heads south around the lake, while another 1.5-km trail heads north. But due to a wetland at the north end of the lake, they don't connect. Adding a bridge would be a difficult and costly endeavour, but Jeff and Sheryl hope someday to complete the loop so visitors can enjoy more of the beautiful bluffs and lakeshore that their parents came to love. 

For more information about Meisel Woods Conservation Area visit www.rvca.ca/conservation-areas/no-fee-required/meisel-woods-ca. To learn more about donating land or supporting land maintenance through Rideau Valley Conservation Foundation, visit www.rvcf.ca

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Nature for All planking on $25,000 for Baxter bridge project — Plank by plank, together we can bridge the gap in accessibility at Baxter Conservation Area. Nature For All has launched its public Plank by Plank campaign to raise $25,000 for the 1,000 wooden planks required to build a new boardwalk and bridge at Baxter — read this story and more, click here.


If you enjoyed this story, why not read the rest of the Around the Rideau newsletter, or better yet, subscibe and the next edition will be waiting for you in your inbox! Subscribe here. 

(WCS-LW - 3/2021) August 10, 2021 – Despite recent rain, 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 Tuesday, August 10.

Watershed residents and businesses are encouraged to continue to voluntarily reduce their water usage by 10 percent. This is especially important for those who have permits for taking water from surface or groundwater sources and all 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.

With variable rainfall amounts across the watershed over the last month, the 30-day and 90-day rainfall totals are above what is normal for the time of year at some of the climate monitoring sites in the watershed. However, because of the variability seen in local rainfall amounts, the Rideau Valley Water Response Team decided to maintain a minor low water severity. Streamflow values for the large waterways (i.e., Rideau River and Tay River) are near 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 have improved over the last month.

Looking ahead, the seven-day weather forecast suggests we may receive between 10 and 15 mm of rain across the watershed. These rainfall amounts are not expected to greatly improve the low water conditions discussed above.

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 levels in the reservoir lakes (Bob’s Lake and Wolfe Lake) are currently near normal and are expected to stabilize with some precipitation in the short-term forecast. The water level in Christie Lake (flow-through lake), while expected to remain below normal, will fluctuate with some precipitation in the short-term forecast. Rideau River flows downstream of Big Rideau Lake have been reduced to minimum. Water levels in the Rideau River below Smiths Falls are within navigable ranges.

To better understand local conditions, landowners, businesses, and industries are encouraged to contact Brian Stratton by email () if they are experiencing any unusual water-related problems. 

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. 

More resources:

Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks: https://www.ontario.ca/page/managing-your-water-well-times-water-shortage

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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More Information:
Contact: Brian Stratton, RVCA Manager Engineering Services
Rideau Valley Conservation Authority

1-800-267-3504 ext. 1141

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.

 

PERTH WILDLIFE RESERVE, July 26, 2021 – “Being outside and listening to the birds, you’re working in the garden and it’s just a really healthy place to be.”

That’s as peaceful as a job description can get, and volunteer gardener Karen Hunt hopes it will attract new, young volunteers just as her group’s garden has attracted all manner of birds, bees and butterflies over the past 15 years. 

Karen is one of a dozen core volunteers who have been nurturing the butterfly garden at Perth Wildlife Reserve since it was installed at the conservation area in 2005.

It began as an effort through the now-disbanded Rideau Valley Field Naturalists to help monarch butterflies, but the five large wildflower beds now attract pollinators of all kinds. Pollinators play a critical role in most ecosystems and are responsible for pollinating up to a third of the food we eat. 

The garden is surrounded by natural meadow habitat as part of the 635-acre reserve owned by the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority (RVCA), which only adds to its appeal for wildlife and humans alike. 

“Every time I’m here I see several different groups and families come along who say they enjoy coming here,” Karen said. “There’s so much to see when you stop and watch and listen. It’s still very much an undiscovered garden.”

She said it’s the perfect volunteer job for her: outside in the sunshine, surrounded by the quiet buzz of meadow life, working to make a difference for her community and the planet.

But it’s getting harder to keep up. PerthButterflyGarden

While RVCA staff help with mowing, filling up the water tanks and even providing leftover wildflowers from their stewardship programs, some of the more work-intensive tasks are becoming unmanageable as the garden’s core volunteers get older. 

The native wildflower gardens don’t need a lot of babying, but every so often the beds need major work. In 2017 and 2018 a team from MNRF’s Stewardship Ranger program helped the team dig out several beds and redo them totally.

Several more beds are in need of such an overhaul in the next few years, but the group will need help to get it done. 

Without fresh volunteers to take over, Karen said she’s afraid the group’s 15 years of hard work will eventually be undone.

“We certainly would welcome additional volunteers,” she said. “If we’re going to sustain the Butterfly Garden, we have to have new people come in, otherwise it fades with us.” 

To learn more or to volunteer, email  or . For more information about Perth Wildlife Reserve visit www.rvca.ca/conservation-areas. Please note that Perth Wildlife Reserve does not allow dogs.  

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Contact Us

Address:
Rideau Valley Conservation Authority
3889 Rideau Valley Drive
Manotick, Ontario K4M 1A5

Phone:
613-692-3571, 1-800-267-3504

Email:

Hours:

Regular Hours: Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Member of: conservation ontario