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December 21, 2020

2021 Budget and Work Plan

TAY VALLEY TOWNSHIP, Nov. 30, 2020 – Towering white pines, maple groves and rocky outcrops overlook a provincially significant wetland in a new property donated to the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority (RVCA) this fall. 

The 1.55-acre parcel connects to Long Lake beside the RVCA’s Mica Mines conservation area, further protecting the lakeshore and provincially significant wetland that stretches to Big Rideau Lake. While the property isn’t huge, donor Martin von Mirbach recognized its ecological value soon after purchasing a 35-acre swath of land along the lake in 2017. 

“I spend a lot of time right across from the donated property, and it’s completely wetland,” von Mirbach said. “It’s not especially useful to me, but I have enjoyed watching the blue herons, ospreys and trumpeter swans who use it. I’d like to ensure that they can continue to make use of this wetland.”

RVCA’s Conservation Lands Planner Chelsey Ellis said the ecological value of the property will only grow with time. 

“This is perpetual protection. As development and growth continues, the significance of these small protected areas gets bigger,” Ellis said. “Over time, the benefit per acre is huge.”

Whip-poor-wills, a species at risk in Ontario, have been found on the site. The property also features 300 metres of unaltered shoreline, which is vital for wildlife, key to maintaining good water quality and important for flood reduction.

Von Mirbach said it gave him “great satisfaction” to donate this sliver of property that, as it turned out, was already severed from his acreage and a hassle come tax time. 

Besides reducing his own red tape, he was happy knowing how much good protecting it will do for the local wetland complex. 

Von Mirbach encouraged other landowners to call the RVCA if they suspect their surplus land is worth donating. 

The RVCA and the Rideau Valley Conservation Foundation prioritize waterfront properties, and place high value on properties that include wetlands, forest cover, floodplain, steep slopes, unstable soils, species at risk, ecological restoration potential or that connect to another public property or natural area. Depending on the property, donations could be eligible for considerable charitable tax benefits through the Ecological Gifts program. 

How else can I help?

No land? No problem! Donations to the Steve Simmering Conservation Land Endowment Fund help the RVCA and its charitable foundation cover annual maintenance costs like property taxes, fencing and signage. 

With your help, we can continue to protect our 6,578 acres of ecologically important properties, and also feel financially prepared to accept important new land donations in the future.

And between Nov. 20 and Dec. 1, you can double your impact thanks to a matching promise from Enbridge Gas.

To make a donation, visit https://www.canadahelps.org/en/dn/11994 and choose Steve Simmering Conservation Land Endowment Fund.

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For more information:
Chelsey Ellis
Conservation Lands Planner

 

Nov. 25, 2020 – Municipalities have joined the call to remove proposed changes to conservation authorities from the provincial budget bill – and now we need you to add your voice to the growing list of groups and organizations speaking up. 

More than just a budget, Bill 229 proposes legislative changes that will weaken conservation authorities’ ability to protect people, property and the environment. 

Such changes do not belong in a budget bill, which is exempt from consultation on the Environmental Registry of Ontario. That’s why many municipalities are calling for Schedule 6 to be withdrawn from the budget bill and for the province to engage in meaningful consultation on the proposed changes. 

“We understand that the province has a desire to improve conservation authorities,” said Sommer Casgrain-Robertson, General Manager of the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority (RVCA). “But we need the Province to work with conservation authorities and municipalities on those changes, to ensure they are effective and do not jeopardize our fundamental ability to protect people and the environment – a responsibility Rideau Valley communities have relied on us to deliver for more than 50 years.”

Conservation authorities have identified several major concerns with the proposed changes, which will directly affect municipalities, residents and watersheds. These include changes to Board governance, including who a municipality can appoint to represent them; new powers enabling the Minister to override a conservation authority and issue a development permit in a watershed without a hearing and with no appeal; the removal of enforcement tools and a conservation authority’s ability to appeal planning decisions; potential provincial interference in local budgets and fees; and limitations on programs, with a decreased focus on environmental monitoring, stewardship and outdoor education.

In short, these are not small changes. They will bring increased administrative costs and burden for municipalities and conservation authorities, an erosion of local decision-making, patchwork program delivery across watersheds, decreased resources for capital renewal, and an undermining of the integrity, transparency and effectiveness of our planning and permitting processes. 

Residents, groups and associations who are concerned about these changes need to make their voices heard this week before the bill goes to Standing Committee. 

You are encouraged to:

  • Contact your local MPP and Ontario’s Minister of Finance (Hon. Rod Phillips)
  • You can also contact Ontario’s Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks (Hon. Jeff Yurek), Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing (Hon. Steve Clark) and Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry (Hon. John Yakabuski).
  • Written comments can also be submitted to Ontario’s Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs here

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MEDIA CONTACT: 

Diane Downey
Director of Communications and Outreach
Rideau Valley Conservation Authority
Tel: 613-698-9453
Email: 

MORE INFORMATION: 

Canadian Environmental Law Association: 
https://cela.ca/action-alert-we-need-our-conservation-authorities/ 

Ontario Nature: 
https://ontarionature.good.do/conservationauthorities/send/

Conservation Ontario: 
https://conservationontario.ca/policy-priorities/conservation-authorities-act

An absolutely stunning 1.55-acre parcel on Long Lake has been added to the conservation lands fold! This property abuts Mica Mines and is part of the North Shore Big Rideau Lake provincially significant wetland. It’s home to important species at risk like whip-poor-wills and butternut trees. This thoughtful and generous donation from the von Mirbach family ensures this land will remain undeveloped and in its natural state in perpetuity. To support the maintenance and continued protection of our important conservation lands, donate to the Steve Simmering Conservation Land Endowment Fund. For more information contact DAN at .


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RVCF 50 Anniversary LogoRideau Valley Conservation Foundation Turns 50!
Established in 1970, the Rideau Valley Conservation Foundation (RVCF) has been working hard to protect and conserve the land and water of the Rideau River watershed. This year the RVCF celebrates a milestone — its 50th anniversary! RVCF is a registered environmental charity and prides itself on its partnerships with individuals, corporations, and groups caring for the local environment. It has been instrumental in raising funds and supporting in-the-field work of the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority. Since 1994, $6.6 million has been raised to support a broad spectrum of work — from tree planting to boardwalk building, water quality monitoring to land acquisition and, so much more. The Foundation thanks its partners, supporters, donors, staff, and its board of director members for their help, dedication, and support over the years and looks forward to the next 50 years of philanthropy and conservation work. To learn more contact DIANE at .


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. 

LANARK COUNTY, October 8, 2020 — The Rideau Valley Conservation Authority (RVCA) supports Lanark County’s commitment to plant one million trees through its landowner tree planting program. The RVCA’s program has helped landowners in watershed municipalities plant trees for over 27 years with technical advice, site preparation and planting of native seedlings. The program also offers substantial subsidized costs.

Climate and the environment are highlighted as Lanark County’s top five priorities this term and are an important part of its Climate Action Plan, which launched this past January. As part of the plan, the County launched its One Million Tree program which aims to plant one million trees over the next ten years.

“Each year the RVCA plants around 90,000 trees in Lanark County and that fits right in with the One Million Tree Program. RVCA’s programs are a great way to get more trees in the ground,” said Kurt Greaves, Lanark County’s Chief Administrative Officer. “Tree planting is a proven way to sequester carbon out of the atmosphere, which dovetails perfectly with our Climate Action Plan.”  

To participate, landowners need a minimum of one acre (0.4 hectares) and be willing to plant at least 1,000 trees. RVCA forestry staff will meet with landowners (following COVID-safe directives) to create a planting plan specific to the site’s conditions and the landowner’s wishes. And, in the spring, RVCA will prepare the land, plant healthy, native tree seedlings, and will help maintain the new, growing forest. The average cost for this full-service planting program is usually $3/tree, but landowners in the RVCA watershed typically only pay $0.15/tree ($120/acre) because RVCA’s funding partners pay the rest.

If you are interested in planting in 2021, now is the time to set things in motion with a free site visit.

“We’ve planted more than 6.6 million trees in the watershed since 1983 and are looking to plant more,” said Dan Cooper, RVCA’s Director of Conservation Lands and Stewardship. “We are happy to support Lanark and its member municipalities’ goal to plant one million trees and assist landowners who are looking to reforest their idle land. We are here to help.”

For those interested in planting one or two trees, watch for the 2021 spring tree give-away. Last June, the County and RVCA hosted a free tree-giveaway that saw over 1,200 trees distributed to keen planters of all ages. Watch for details on the Lanark County and RVCA social media feeds next spring.

To plant this coming spring, book your free site now. Contact Dan Cooper at 613-692-3571 or 1-800-267-3504 ext. 1124 or .

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For more information:

Dan Cooper
Director, Conservation Lands and Stewardship
Rideau Valley Conservation Authority
613-692-3571 or 1-80-267-3504 ext. 1124

RIDEAU RIVER WATERSHED (Westport, Perth, Smiths Falls, Kemptville, Ottawa and all the wonderful watershed communities along the way), October 2, 2020 — Members of the Rideau Valley Conservation Foundation (RVCF) celebrated 50 years of conservation at its September 23 Annual General Meeting. Since 1970, the RVCF has dedicated itself to raising funds that support important conservation efforts throughout the Rideau River watershed. Efforts include conservation land acquisition, tree planting, outdoor education, water quality monitoring, infrastructure improvements at conservation areas and so much more.

“We are very proud of the work we do,” said RVCF Chair Jason Kelly. “Since 1994, we have raised over $6.6 million for our conservation work and we are guardians to over 525 hectares of important natural spaces. We are inspired and look forward to continuing the good work that keeps our watershed healthy and resilient.”

And while the COVID-19 pandemic has put a damper on RVCF anniversary celebrations, it has shone a light on the ongoing need to protect natural lands — a cause that the RVCF holds very close to its heart.

“More than ever, we need natural spaces for our health and wellbeing. Local conservation lands provide safe and accessible trails and outdoor learning opportunities — places for physical, mental and spiritual rejuvenation,” said Mr. Kelly.

To achieve this aim, the Foundation’s 2020 fundraising campaign looks to grow the Steve Simmering Conservation Land Endowment fund, which ensures our local, conservation lands are protected, improved and held safely in public hands for future generations to enjoy. Established in 2010 in memory of Steve Simmering, an active outdoorsman and vice chair of the RVCF, the endowment has been slowly growing and supporting the Rideau Valley’s vibrant and vital outdoor spaces. So far, RVCF has received over $30,000 in donations of the $125,000 it seeks to raise. The RVCF looks to find new supporters so it can continue important conservation efforts.

If you love your local conservation lands and green spaces, please consider donating to the Steve Simmering Endowment Fund. Every dollar donated contributes to excellence in conservation for the benefit of generations to come. Visit www.rvcf.ca to donate or for more information.

The RVCF wants to thank its partners, supporters, donors, staff, and its board of director members over the past 50 years for their help, dedication, and support,” says Mr. Kelly. “Truly, we couldn’t have done it without you. We look forward to successful conservation work in the future.”

RVCF’s Highlights

  • Founded in 1970
  • Raised more than $6.6 million in support of conservation work
  • Proud custodian of over 525 hectares (1,299 acres) of conservation land
  • Celebrates and acknowledges over 330 watershed donors
  • Supported planting 6.6 million trees to date
  • Funds conservation area infrastructure work such as the boardwalk and pedestrian bridges at the Chapman Mills Conservation Area
  • Supports conservation projects such as the Hutton Creek Marsh Restoration Project
  • Provides subsidies to schools for outdoor education programs
  • Launched Steve Simmering endowment Fund in 2010 to protect vital conservation lands
  • Accredited member of Imagine Canada’s Standards Program since 2017
  • Joined Imagine Canada’s Ethical Code Program in 2010
  • Proud member of Ontario and Canada Land Trust Alliances

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For more information:
Diane Downey, Executive Director
Rideau Valley Conservation Foundation

October 01, 2020

Fall at Foley Mountain

RIDEAU LAKES / WESTPORT, October 1, 2020 – Foley Mountain Conservation Area is a popular fall destination. Known for its breathtaking views and scenic hiking trails, Foley Mountain continues to welcome guests for much needed outdoor fun.

“Fall is an exceptionally popular time to experience Foley Mountain,” said Rebecca Whiteman, Foley Mountain Conservation Area Supervisor. “And while we continue to welcome guests, we want everyone to be prepared for a safe and enjoyable experience.”

What does that mean? Well, during these Covid-19 times here are a few things to know before making the trip out:

  • Practice physical distancing rules.
  • Wear a mask at viewing locations such as the popular Spy Rock and anytime when physical distancing is not possible.
  • Follow directional signs on trails and yield to oncoming trail users when necessary.
  • Come equipped with water and hand sanitizer (outhouses are open).
  • Pay $7 day pass using credit card or coins (bills are NOT accepted) at the pay machine or purchase your pass online using the PayByPhone App when you arrive on site (visit rvca.ca/foley-mountain for details). Staff will not be accepting cash payment on site.
  • You may be turned away if park capacity has been reached. Be sure to have alternate plans in the surrounding area if you are making a special trip.
  • As visitors leave the park, others will be allowed to enter. Please limit your visits to allow others an opportunity to enjoy these parks.

Staff will be onsite during busy weekends to limit the number of visitors in the park and those gathering on viewing platforms. The Spy Rock viewing area will be limited to 25 people and masks are strongly recommended.

“Our guests continue to grow in number. We want to remain open, but want everyone to be as safe as possible,” says Whitman. “Everyone’s cooperation is greatly appreciated.”

To learn more about Foley Mountain Conservation Area, visit www.rvca.ca/foley-mountain or follow the Foley Mountain Facebook page at @foleymountain.

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For more information:
Rebecca Whitman
Foley Mountain Conservation Area Supervisor
613-273-3255

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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