RIDEAU VALLEY, May 20, 2021 – 2020 was a year like no other, but Rideau Valley Conservation Authority (RVCA) staff and conservation partners worked diligently to serve the watershed while keeping everyone safe during the global pandemic.
“We are very proud of how quickly and efficiently RVCA staff were able to pivot in 2020,” said Sommer Casgrain-Robertson, RVCA General Manager. “We faced challenges head on and were busier than ever.”
The RVCA’s 2020 Annual Report highlights a banner year for some departments, including a 50 per cent increase in visitors to its 11 conservation areas and record numbers of planning and development applications. Staff also navigated significant changes to the Conservation Authorities Act, introduced in the final weeks of 2020.
The RVCA is one of 36 Conservation Authorities across the province tasked with watershed management to protect people, property and environment. For 55 years, the RVCA has provided quality programs and services based on this watershed model for the people who live, work and play in the Rideau Valley watershed. Programs range from tree planting to water quality monitoring to flood forecasting. They serve a watershed of more than 4,000 km2, stretching from Central Frontenac to Merrickville-Wolford and downriver to the City of Ottawa. Through science, stewardship and education, the RVCA strives to manage local natural resources sustainably to ensure a healthy watershed for the future.
“Our programs protect the health of our watershed and the people who live here,” said Casgrain-Robertson. “But we don’t do our work alone. We are grateful to our many partners that help us achieve our goals – our municipalities and countless individuals, organizations and businesses.”
- 300,000 visitors to RVCA’s 11 conservation areas (an increase of 50 per cent).
- $396,488 in grants allocated to farmers and landowners for projects to improve water quality, valued at more than $1.3 million.
- 231,050 trees planted in the Rideau Valley watershed, bringing our total to 6.6 million trees planted since 1984.
- 14,554 trees and shrubs planted on 92 waterfront properties to naturalize shorelines.
- 1,844 students participated in curriculum-based outdoor education programs, before staff pivoted to providing online resources for teachers and parents.
- 1,422 Planning Act applications reviewed, 1,099 property inquiries completed through Section 28 of the Conservation Authorities Act and 724 septic system applications processed for new or replacement sites in Ottawa and Tay Valley Township.
- 1,385 free butternut seedlings distributed to replace dead and dying endangered butternut trees.
- 156 sites sampled for water quality on lakes, rivers and major tributaries.
- 44 sites sampled in spring and fall for the Ontario Benthos Biomonitoring Network.
- 3.1 kilometres of shorelines naturalized with trees and shrubs.
- 8 Rideau River and 3 Ottawa River flood messages issued.
Significant changes to the Conservation Authorities Act were also introduced in late 2020. The RVCA is grateful for the local support for conservation authorities that resulted in improved amendments and inspired the province to work more collaboratively with conservation authorities and municipalities moving forward.
“Thank you to everyone who helped us through a challenging year,” said Ms. Casgrain-Robertson. “We are grateful for your continued support and commitment to watershed health and resilience.”
For your copy of the RVCA 2020 Annual Report, visit www.rvca.ca or call 613-692-3571 or 1-800-267-3504 for a hard copy.
The Rideau Valley Conservation Authority is the lead inter-municipal agency working to address river-related environmental issues and concerns within the Rideau Valley watershed. It’s our job to make sure that the water is looked after by everyone in today’s society so that tomorrow’s generations inherit a clean, healthy, functioning watershed. We also provide residents with close-to-home natural areas and programs that are accessible and affordable. We currently own and maintain a network of nine Conservation Areas and an additional 4,500 acres of environmental land.
You would be working at the Baxter Conservation Area located just south of Kars, ON. There is no public transportation to the worksite. Candidates should ensure they have reliable transportation prior to applying.
ON-CALL THROUGHOUT THE YEAR
Work schedule is on an as-needed basis, Monday through Friday with occasional evenings/weekends.
You will assist with the planning, delivery and evaluation of outdoor environmental education programs for children and adults of all ages from preschool to post-secondary studies. Program participants include school groups, Baxter Forest School students, community groups and day camps. Interpreters will mainly be working in an outdoor environment facilitating programs in all kinds of weather conditions. You will also act as a resource person in the Interpretive Centre and you will assist in delivering services to visitors such as answering questions about the park and programs, selling park passes and monitoring for valid park passes. You will also help maintain the cleanliness and safety features of our park facilities.
As the ideal candidate, you have:
- A post-secondary diploma or degree in education, early childhood education, environmental studies, natural science, outdoor recreation or a related program. A Teacher’s certificate and strong knowledge of the natural world are considered strong assets.
- Experience with the Forest School model as well as play-based learning, risky play, loose parts, inquiry-based learning, and a child centered learning environment.
- Previous experience planning and delivering programming for children in an educational or recreational setting in English and/or French.
- A valid G2 or better driver’s license and driving record deemed acceptable by the RVCA.
- The successful candidate will be required to provide an affirmative “Vulnerable Sector Check”.
- Standard First Aid & CPR certification is an asset.
- Strong knowledge of the natural world is an asset.
- Bilingualism is considered a strong asset.
If you enjoy working in the great outdoors, have an enthusiastic attitude towards working with children and have a strong commitment to the environment and the protection of land and water resources, please send us your resume and cover letter. This is an ongoing inventory and qualified candidates will be contacted for an interview as needed.
The Rideau Valley Conservation Authority is an equal opportunity employer. The Rideau Valley Conservation Authority is an equal opportunity employer. We welcome all applications; however, we will contact only those candidates selected for consideration. We are committed to providing accommodations for people with disabilities. If you are selected for an interview and you require an accommodation, we will work with you to meet your needs.
RIDEAU VALLEY, May 4, 2021 – Your mother gave you the gift of life, and now you can return the favour.
Thanks to the Rideau Valley Conservation Foundation’s special occasions tree planting program, you can skip the grocery store bouquet and plant an environmental legacy in your mom’s honour, instead.
The native tree species are planted across the Rideau Valley watershed, from Frontenac to Smiths Falls to downtown Ottawa, helping to fight erosion, manage floods and keep contaminants out of our rivers and lakes. Staff tend to the new trees, helping them grow into maturity so they can thrive for decades – much like your mother did for you.
A single tree costs $25, while a grove of five is only $100. Ten trees cost $150 and a family grove of 25 costs $250 – just $10 a tree.
Online ordering makes it easy and fast. Under the RVCF’s Special Occasion Trees program, simply enter your donation amount and your information, and you’ll receive a charitable tax receipt to your inbox right away. You can even send your mom an e-card right from the foundation site.
The foundation is a registered charity that supports the work of the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority, which monitors more than 4,000 km2 of waterways across 18 municipalities in Eastern Ontario.
The authority is responsible for monitoring water quality, flood risks and other hazards to keep people, property and the environment safe. Planting trees is an important part of the authority’s efforts to promote biodiversity, protect our drinking water and reduce the risk of flooding.
The RVCF plants a combination of white cedar, white pine, red oak and sugar maple.
To order your Mother’s Day trees, visit www.canadahelps.org and choose “Special Occasion Trees” from the drop-down list. Watch for your charitable receipt in your inbox!
For more information visit www.rvcf.ca or email .
RIDEAU VALLEY, April 30, 2021 – Ticks are notoriously bad at social distancing, and as you hit the trails this season it’s important you take precautions to keep them at bay.
Black-legged ticks are on the rise in Eastern Ontario and can carry Lyme disease, which is passed to humans through tick bites. Left untreated, Lyme can cause chronic neurological and physical problems including memory loss, mobility issues and heart conditions.
But don’t let that stop you from getting outdoors, since taking reasonable precautions should prevent most tick bites:
- Always stay on the path to avoid the long grasses and underbrush they live on
- Wear light-coloured long pants and sleeves
- Tuck your pants into your socks (for extra fashion points, too)
- Use bug spray that contains DEET or picaridin
- Sweep your clothes with a sticky lint roller before you leave the site
- When you get home, do a thorough tick check of your entire body, including in your armpits, groin area, behind your ears and along hairlines.
If you do find a tick attached to you, remove it as soon as possible, being sure to leave the entire tick intact. Contact your doctor if the tick looks engorged or you think it has been attached for more than 24 hours.
If the tick was attached for less than 24 hours and its body does not appear swollen from feeding, you should still be on the lookout for signs and symptoms of Lyme disease for the next 32 days. If you do develop symptoms, see a doctor.
Protect against poisonous plants
Tick precautions can also help protect against noxious plants like poison ivy, wild parsnip and giant hogweed. These all have a presence in Eastern Ontario, lining roadside ditches, taking over empty fields and popping up along nature trails and woodlots.
Touching these plants or their sap can result in painful skin rashes and burns, particularly wild parsnip, which is sun-activated and can cause severe burns and even blindness in extreme cases.
Avoid contact with these plants by wearing long pants and sleeves and close-toed shoes and socks. The sap from these plants can contaminate your clothes, so be careful when undressing and handling your clothes after an outing.
If you do come in contact with the plants, wash the area with soapy water and stay out of the sun. If the sap gets in your eyes, wash immediately and contact a doctor.
And of course, in the midst of a global pandemic trail users are reminded to keep two metres distance and wear a mask around anyone not from their household, to turn back if the site looks too busy and to stay home if they’re sick.
While these risks are real and must be managed, getting outside has never been more important, and the RVCA is committed to providing safe and beautiful trails to help watershed residents connect with nature.
Find your local trail here: www.rvca.ca/conservation-areas
WESTPORT, April 26, 2021 – Every day can be Earth Day with the help of a spring Outdoor Adventure Kit from Foley Mountain and its community partners.
Back by popular demand, families can pick up one of 200 free kits from any Rideau Lakes or Westport library branch, as well as the Lyndhurst and Seeley’s Bay branches of the Leeds and Thousand Islands Public Library beginning May 1.
The spring kits include materials and instructions to help families of all ages get outside and explore. Families can expect seed packets for starting a pollinator garden, a magnifying glass and nature journal to explore your wild and wonderful neighbourhood, and sensory exploration activities. The kit will also include some outdoor art challenges including how to customize a walking stick for your next hike, and a mini version of the Robert Munsch classic, Mud Puddle.
“Right now under public health restrictions, there isn’t a lot for families to do,” said Foley Mountain site supervisor Rebecca Whitman. “But they can still be out in their backyard and they can still enjoy exploring the great outdoors together.”
The kits were made possible with support from the North Leeds Youth Co-ordinating Committee which distributes United Way Leeds and Grenville funds, Rideau Lakes Horticultural Society, the Township of Rideau Lakes, the Township of Leeds and Thousand Islands, and the three public libraries.
“There was so much interest in the winter kits, and our partners and supporters have now allowed us to double the amount of kits available,” Whitman said. “We’re really excited to be able to do more and to stay connected to our community.”
Parents can adapt and modify the activities to engage both younger and older kids, Whitman said.
Families do not have to have a library card in order to pick up a kit. However, residents are reminded not to travel outside their region, in accordance with public health guidance to limit the spread of COVID-19. The kits will be available through contactless curbside pickup while supplies last.
For Rideau Lakes branches and hours visit www.rideaulakeslibrary.ca.
For Westport library hours visit www.westportontariolibrary.wordpress.com.
For Leeds and Thousand Islands Public Library branches and hours visit www.ltipl.net.
More “Fresh Air Fun” activities can be found at www.rvca.ca and on our YouTube channel @RideauValleyCA.
RIDEAU VALLEY, April 20, 2021 – Although nobody can predict the weather – and despite some recent rain – 2021 is shaping up to be an abnormally dry year across the Rideau Valley watershed if the current trend continues.
Rideau Valley residents enjoyed a relatively easy winter with warmer-than-normal temperatures in every month except for February. Combined with below-average precipitation and above-average temperatures in March, all evidence points to a dry year ahead.
Weather and water level conditions have been pointing in this direction since winter began in December 2020:
- Approximately 50 mm of rain fell across the watershed between December 24 and 25, resulting in short-term elevated water level and flow conditions in many lakes and rivers. Levels and flows receded by the end of January, with most regions dropping to below normal for much of February and March.
- Snowfall was also limited. There were only two large snowstorms of about 20 cm each (one each in mid-January and mid-February) and several smaller snowstorms of about 5 cm each. Based on recorded snow fall amounts and RVCA snow monitoring results, the total amount of ‘snow water equivalent’ this winter was about 80% of normal. (To learn more about how we calculate the snow water equivalent, check out this video: youtube.com/watch?v=S30J86FfnZg)
- Monthly temperatures from November 2020 through January 2021 were, on average, 1 to 3 degrees Celsius above normal, with slightly cooler than normal temperatures in February. The overall warmer winter concluded with very mild temperatures in March.
- Daytime temperatures rose well above zero from March 9 through 12, which resulted in rapid snowmelt across the watershed and subsequent short-term elevated water levels/flows in most waterbodies. This was followed by a large rain event of 40+ mm in late March which caused water levels/flows to increase again, but they quickly declined with the limited rainfall into mid-April.
So, what does this all mean? All water levels and flows across the Rideau Valley watershed are currently well below normal for this time of year. Current flows on the Rideau, Jock and Tay Rivers and Kemptville Creek are all between 30 to 40 per cent of the typical seasonal averages. (For current and historical water level and flow information, see www.rvca.ca/watershed-conditions/streamflow-water-levels. For more information on low water conditions, check out this video: youtube.com/watch?v=-MIfvEDoDfs)
Flows on the Rideau River are routinely augmented by several reservoir lakes located in the upper watershed, west of Westport. These lakes store water in the spring and sustain flows throughout the drier summer months. Water levels and flows in the primary reservoirs (Bobs Lake and Wolfe Lake) are currently below normal for this time of year. Flow through lakes such as Christie Lake have also been affected and are trending well below normal.
Parks Canada staff are carefully managing the outflows in the reservoir lakes and have indicated that if we receive normal precipitation amounts over the next couple of months, lake levels are expected to gradually rise to seasonal averages.
Parks Canada staff also manage water levels and flows in the main body of the Rideau River from Big Rideau Lake through downtown Ottawa, including the Rideau Canal lock system. Parks Canada staff have indicated that navigation levels along this reach will be achieved by the long weekend in May. For more information from Parks Canada, see www.pc.gc.ca/en/lhn-nhs/on/rideau.
RVCA staff are currently preparing to meet with the Rideau Valley Water Response Team, which is made up of municipal and agency partners. The primary purpose of Water Response Team is to provide a forum for the sharing of information among water managers and water takers, and to facilitate co-operative decision-making on the conservation of limited water supplies at the early stages of and throughout drought events, as they occur.
For more information visit rvca.ca/watershed-conditions or email . For flood and drought news directly to your inbox, subscribe to our newsletters here: www.rvca.ca/about-us/join-our-mailing-lists.