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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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(WCS-LW - 2/2021) July 6, 2021 — The Rideau Valley Low Water Response Team is maintaining a MINOR low water status for the Rideau River watershed after officials met to discuss dry conditions on Tuesday, July 6.

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. Residents throughout the watershed should be aware of any bans or bylaws that may be in place in their municipalities regarding watering or fires bans.

Significant rain over the past few weeks has pushed 30-day rainfall totals above what is normal for the time of year at most climate monitoring sites in the region. However, the average 90-day rainfall measured at climate stations in and around the watershed is below 80 per cent of normal for this time of year which represents “Minor” low water severity. Stream flow values for all waterways are well below their normal values for this time of year but slightly improved from a few weeks ago. For example, the measured flows for the Rideau River at Carleton University and the Tay River in Perth are both near 45 percent of normal for this time of year. Measured flows for the smaller tributaries such as the Jock River and Kemptville Creek are still below normal for this time of year. Field observations around the watershed indicate that ecological conditions are declining with increased fragmentation of many streams.  High water temperatures, low oxygen levels and increased plant growth and are being experienced in many areas.

Looking ahead, the seven-day weather forecast suggests we may receive between 35 and 45 mm of rain across the watershed. These rainfall amounts are not expected to greatly improve the 90-day rainfall deficit or the low stream flow values 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 slightly below normal and are expected to decline further 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/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.

 

June 17, 2021

Lesley Peace

June 17, 2021

Alex Dekleine

June 17, 2021

Ryan Hiemstra

MANOTICK, June 15, 2021 – Accessibility and conservation advocates are teaming up to transform Baxter Conservation Area into the most accessible nature destination in Eastern Ontario – but they need your help. 

The Nature For All committee is working to upgrade Baxter’s bridges, boardwalks, trails and facilities to the gold standard of accessibility to make the park as inclusive as possible to all ages and abilities. 

Truly accessible natural areas are few and far between, which leaves people with disabilities or mobility concerns stuck on the sidelines. Nature For All believes every person should be able to enjoy the many physical and emotional benefits of the great outdoors without worrying about safety or logistics.

But to make this dream a reality, they need individuals, businesses and charitable partners to support the project.

Nature For All is now seeking funding partners and donations for Phase 1, which requires $750,000 to build a brand new, fully accessible bridge across Baxter’s marshlands – complete with several education platforms overlooking the water. 

Every donation, from $5 to $500,000, helps bring accessible wilderness one step closer to our friends, family and neighbours with disabilities and mobility concerns. 

Baxter Marsh

And the timing is right: the current bridge has reached the end of its life cycle and was closed as a safety precaution in 2019. Replacing it presents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to make Baxter’s infrastructure as inclusive as possible. The new bridge will be wide enough for two people in wheelchairs to pass safely and easily; two large, accessible viewing platforms will facilitate better and more inclusive outdoor education programs, helping students with special needs get up close and personal with the natural world. 

“Nature and wilderness should be for everybody. That’s where you begin to find yourself: when you can get into nature and be at one with yourself,” said Mike Nemesvary, founder of Nature For All and long-time accessibility advocate. He has been visiting Baxter in his power wheelchair for nearly 20 years, after a training accident left him paralyzed on his path to becoming a world champion freestyle skier. “Baxter Conservation (will be) a model of accessibility for other conservation areas. People from all across Canada can come here and see how much effort and time was put into the planning, and that the planning has really paid off.” 

Nature For All’s fundraising efforts are being spearheaded by the Rideau Valley Conservation Foundation, the charitable partner of Rideau Valley Conservation Authority which owns Baxter Conservation Area. The Foundation is a registered charity that can offer custom corporate sponsorship agreements and donor packages, with benefits to donor organizations such as media recognition, team building opportunities, naming rights and on-site signage.

To learn more about Nature For All or to make a donation visit www.rvcf.ca/nature-for-all. To discuss corporate sponsorship packages and partnerships contact 

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Modern Niagara pledges $300,000 to Conservation Foundation — Rideau Valley residents can count on cleaner water, healthier shorelines and more climate-resilient communities thanks to a ground-breaking agreement between the RVCA’s charitable foundation and building services giant Modern Niagara. Learn about this and other happenings in the watershed — 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. 

RIDEAU VALLEY, June 9, 2021 – Beach-lovers of all ages and abilities can enjoy the beautiful sandy beaches at Baxter and Rideau Ferry conservation areas this summer thanks to the RVCA’s new accessible beach mats. 

The heavy-duty mats will help people with mobility devices like wheelchairs, walkers and strollers access the Rideau River without worrying about getting stuck in the sand. They’re part of a suite of accessibility tools and upgrades the RVCA has introduced to make its conservation areas more inclusive. 

“Investing in accessibility is a priority for us, especially as the pandemic highlights the importance of getting outside and connecting with nature,” said RVCA’s Conservation Lands Manager Chelsey Ellis. “These mats will make our beaches a more welcoming space for everyone in our watershed.”

Baxter Conservation Area is located in Kars at the southernmost edge of the City of Ottawa. Rideau Ferry Yacht Club Conservation Area is located on the north shore of Lower Rideau Lake in the township of Drummond/North Elmsley.

Both boast beautiful sand beaches that are extremely popular during the hottest months of the year. But it’s difficult for someone in a wheelchair or pushing a walker or stroller to navigate the unstable sand. The mats solve that problem: they span the entire beach and even extend several feet into the water, allowing a wheelchair user to go for a dip if they choose. 

The mats, made by Mobi-Mats, are part of several accessibility upgrades recently introduced or in the works at RVCA properties. Earlier this winter, Baxter purchased a set of accessible sleds to help students with special needs participate in its outdoor education programs. 

Baxter is on the cusp of a major transformation to become Eastern Ontario’s most accessible wilderness haven thanks to the efforts of Nature For All, a fundraising campaign to upgrade the site’s boardwalks and marshland bridge to the gold standard of accessibility. The campaign, led by former world ski champion and accessibility advocate Mike Nemesvary, is now accepting public donations.

To find your local conservation area visit www.rvca.ca/conservation-areas. For more information about accessibility on RVCA properties contact

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(WCS-LW - 1/2021) June 8, 2021 — Due to below average rainfall over the last three months, conditions in the Rideau Valley Watershed now meet the threshold for Minor Low Water status under the Ontario Low Water Response Program. 

Watershed residents and businesses are encouraged to conserve water by limiting non-essential uses (e.g., lawn watering, car washing, etc.), for an overall consumption reduction of about 10 percent. Residents are also encouraged to consult with their municipalities regarding any water conservation bylaws that may be in effect.

Stream flow values are lower than normal by as much as 20 to 30 percent and field observations indicate that ecological conditions are becoming stressed. The average 90-day rainfall measured at climate stations in and around the watershed is near 60 per cent of normal for this time of year, which has triggered the Minor Low Water status. In the past 30 days, rainfall has been variable across the watershed, with the average amount being near 35 per cent of normal. Looking ahead, the seven-day weather forecast indicates we will receive minimal precipitation.

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. Water levels in the reservoir/flow-through lakes are currently well below normal and are expected to decline further with little 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/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.

 

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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