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Oct. 7, 2019 – Several changes are in the works for drinking water protection zones and chemical storage rules in the Mississippi-Rideau Source Protection Region.

Under Ontario’s Clean Water Act, municipal drinking water sources such as lakes, rivers and wells are protected from contamination through a combination of intake and wellhead protection zones, rules for chemical use and other threats, and risk management plans for landowners whose activities pose a risk to drinking water supplies.

The changes:

There are two proposed amendments to the Mississippi-Rideau Source Protection Plan and Assessment Report under Section 34 of the Clean Water Act.

1. North Grenville municipal well:

In 2015, a new municipal well was constructed in Kemptville in the Municipality of North Grenville. The proposed amendment will bring the well under the same Clean Water Act protections as the region’s 13 other municipal systems, as required by law. The amendment will include revised Wellhead Protection Area (WHPA) mapping for North Grenville and the Village of Merrickville-Wolford (groundwater flow to the Merrickville-Wolford system is affected by pumping at the new well in Kemptville.)

The updated maps could affect landowners if they engage in certain activities that pose potentially significant drinking water threats. In these cases, risk management staff will work with the owners to manage the threats through custom risk management plans. 

2. Chemical policy revision:

The Source Protection Committee also wants to tweak its rules regarding Dense Non-Aqueous Phase Liquids (DNAPLs) – industrial chemicals that are denser than water. If spilled, they tend to sink into the ground and even in small amounts can contaminate the deepest groundwater sources.

Currently, any businesses established after Jan. 1, 2015 which store or handle DNAPLs are banned in areas where they could pose a significant drinking water threat, specifically in Intake Protection Zone-1 and Wellhead Protection Areas A, B and C. For some municipalities, the affected area can be quite large.

When developing risk management policies for DNAPLs, the committee expected to find these chemicals only in large quantities (i.e. industrial drums) at dry cleaning or manufacturing facilities. But after completing detailed background research and site visits, the committee realized DNAPL chemicals can also be found in small quantities, particularly in auto repair shops (i.e. chlorinated brake cleaner in aerosol cans).

With such large prohibition zones in some parts of the region, the restrictions could create unnecessary barriers for small business development in the future. The committee has proposed an amendment to make life a bit easier for small businesses in these zones, while still ensuring drinking water is protected.  

Under the new policy, storage and handling of any amount of DNAPLs within areas of the highest vulnerability (score of 10) will remain prohibited. But the storage and handling of DNAPLs in quantities of less than 25 liters within WHPA B and C (scores 4 to 8) will now be permitted, if accompanied by a risk management plan. Storing or using large quantities of DNAPLs (more than 25 liters) within WHPA B and C will be banned.

Retail stores selling unopened containers are exempt from these rules, except for areas with the highest vulnerability.

How to view the amendments:

The proposed amendments are available on the Mississippi-Rideau Source Protection Region website at www.mrsourcewater.ca/en/public-consultation.

They can also be viewed in person at:

  • Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority, 10970 Hwy. 7 Carleton Place, ON (8 am – 4 pm)
  • Rideau Valley Conservation Authority, 3889 Rideau Valley Drive, Manotick, ON (8:30 am – 4:30 pm)

Residents and business owners are invited to provide written comments before Nov. 7, 2019.

For more information or to provide comments, please contact:

Marika Livingston

Project Manager

Mississippi-Rideau Source Protection Region

613-692-3571, ext. 1148.

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Sept 30, 2019 – They say hindsight is 20/20 – and future generations may not like what they see if we don’t act now to protect and conserve our natural areas.

That’s why the Rideau Valley Conservation Foundation is excited to launch Conservation 2020: a major campaign to raise $125,000 toward keeping our natural areas in public hands forever.

The Foundation is a proud steward of more than 1,259 hectares of healthy, protected ecosystems throughout the Rideau River watershed. These are crucial habitats — forests, wetlands and shorelines — that work hard to reduce our risk of floods, clean our water, stop erosion and store vast amounts of carbon to keep our communities healthy and resilient in the face of climate change.

They are the lifeblood of our region, supporting vast, interconnected ecosystems that are increasingly fragmented or lost entirely to development and human activity.

Some properties are entirely untouched, left to their own devices to provide important green infrastructure functions for our communities. Others are public, close-to-home oases providing an antidote to the daily grind and stresses of daily life.

But they all cost money to maintain: whether it’s for property taxes, insurance or trail maintenance, the Foundation requires a steady stream of income to protect these green spaces in perpetuity.

Donations to the Conservation 2020 campaign will be invested in the Steve Simmering Conservation Land Endowment Fund, which marks its 10-year anniversary next year.

The fund was established in 2010 in memory of Steve Simmering, an active outdoorsman and vice chairman of the Foundation. The endowment has slowly been growing to provide a small stream of income to support our vibrant and vital outdoor spaces.

But more is needed to keep our natural areas secure forever.

“Today, the need to protect our conservation lands is increasingly important,” said Foundation chairman Jason Kelly. “Our 2020 campaign will look to grow this endowment fund, ensuring our local natural areas are protected and held safely in public hands.”

The Foundation, which turns 50 next year, is seeking investments large and small. Whether your family has $100 to spare or you lead a large corporation looking to make a lasting, local impact, your contribution will go directly toward conserving green space in your community for future generations.

Donors of large investments (between $10,000 and $25,000+ over five years) will be recognized in our media outreach and on the Foundation’s donor board. They’ll also receive some fun extras for the office, like complementary annual passes to our conservation areas, free facility rentals and even a staff retreat.  

To invest in the region’s natural lands, contact Foundation executive director Diane Downey at 613-692-3571 ext. 1126 or .

For more information about how the endowment works, visit https://www.rvcf.ca/ways-to-give/steve-simmering-conservation-lands-endowment-fund.

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Sept 17, 2019 – Join us to view draft regulations mapping for provincially significant wetlands in Merrickville-Wolford. The Village of Merrickville-Wolford is updating its Official Plan. As part of this initiative, the Village is designating additional provincially significant wetlands based on mapping provided by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry. These wetlands will be regulated by the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority under Ontario Regulation 174/06 — Development, Interference with Wetlands and Alterations to Shorelines and Watercourses Regulation. Come visit Conservation Authority staff to view the draft mapping and learn more about the regulation of these environmentally sensitive areas.

Official Plan Open Houses

  • Monday, October 7, 2019 Merrickville Community Centre from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
  • Tuesday, October 8, 2019 Eastons Corners Centennial Hall from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.

 

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Sept 16, 2019 – As many as 250 students will experience the great outdoors this year – some for the very first time – thanks to a $5,000 grant from The North Face Canada Explore Fund.

The Rideau Valley Conservation Foundation has been campaigning to help 50 schools access outdoor education programs at local conservation areas in the 2019/2020 school year. The North Face grant will cover tuition and transportation costs for eight priority schools across the region.

The programs are run by the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority’s (RVCA) certified outdoor education teachers at Baxter and Foley Mountain conservation areas. They welcome more than 10,000 elementary and secondary school students to their curriculum-based programs every year for hands-on experiences in naturefrom catching frogs tosnowshoeing.

But not all students can afford to take part.There are at least 37 priority schools in the Rideau Valley region where funding simply isn’t available for “extras” like outdoor education. To make matters worse, these studentsare often most lackingquality time in nature: many of them are new to Canada or live in urban communities where walking among the trees, exploring a wetland or building winter shelters is completely unfamiliar

And it’s not just a missed day of funTheres a growing body of evidence that learning through outdoor active play has positive effects on a child's physical, emotional, and intellectual health.More and more, children suffer from “nature deficit disorder” – a lack of connection with the natural world.

RVCA staff use the Ministry of Education’s list of priority schools – determined based on national census income data – and work with local school boards directly to identify schools that would benefit from financial support to get their students outside and into nature.

With support from The North Face Fund and other donors, the RVCA is fostering a new generation of confident explorers, nature-lovers and environmental stewards – a key reason the program was one of only seven across Canada chosen for The North Face support in 2019. 

The Explore Fund searches out and supports organizations that use the power of exploration and the benefits of nature to strengthen communities around the country,said Carl Bissonnette, Sr. Canadian marketing manager for the fund. “We are delighted to work with the Rideau Valley Conservation Foundation to help children access nature.”

For more information about the RVCA’s educational programs, visit www.rvca.ca/outdoor-education.

To support the Foundation’s conservation efforts, visit www.rvcf.ca.

 

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September 5, 2019 – Despite recent cool and rainy weather, a Minor Low Water status remains in place for the Rideau Valley Watershed under the Ontario Low Water Response Program. Watershed residents and businesses are encouraged to conserve water during dry conditions.

Temperatures have fallen in recent days and rainfall has increased, but the average 90-day rainfall measured at climate stations in and around the Rideau Valley Watershed remains below 80 per cent of normal for this time of year, which is a key indicator for Minor Low Water status. In the past 30 days, average rainfall has been just above 80 per cent of normal. Looking ahead, the seven-day weather forecasts suggests we’ll experience normal temperatures and possibly some small amounts of rain.

For the most part, water levels in lakes and rivers are close to normal for this time of year, and this is expected to continue into the fall with lower evaporation rates compared to those of the warmer summer months.

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 and Climate Change: 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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September 5, 2019 – Despite recent cool and rainy weather, a Minor Low Water status remains in place for the Rideau Valley Watershed under the Ontario Low Water Response Program. Watershed residents and businesses are encouraged to conserve water during dry conditions.

Temperatures have fallen in recent days and rainfall has increased, but the average 90-day rainfall measured at climate stations in and around the Rideau Valley Watershed remains below 80 per cent of normal for this time of year, which is a key indicator for Minor Low Water status. In the past 30 days, average rainfall has been just above 80 per cent of normal. Looking ahead, the seven-day weather forecasts suggests we’ll experience normal temperatures and possibly some small amounts of rain.

For the most part, water levels in lakes and rivers are close to normal for this time of year, and this is expected to continue into the fall with lower evaporation rates compared to those of the warmer summer months.

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 and Climate Change: 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.

Hear from lead Flood Forecasting engineer Brian about how we monitor low water conditions: 

 

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Sept. 3, 2019 — The RVCA and its partners are angling to help walleye stocks recover in Wolfe Lake.

With a generous grant from the TD Friends of the Environment Fund, RVCA staff teamed up with volunteers from the Wolfe Lake Association and the Westport Area Outdoors Association to create two new spawning beds on Scanlan Creek at the end of August.

Walleye stocks have been falling across Ontario, and in Wolfe Lake the population is noticeably on the decline, according to lake association fishing director Margie Manthey.

“The depletion began in the 1980s and 1990s,” said Manthey, who hasn’t missed a summer on the lake since 1978. While she admitted she’s no biologist, she said general consensus is that “road culverts installed 30 or 40 years ago on Scanlan Creek excised kilometres worth of spawning habitat.”

Walleye like to spawn at the same spot every year, and in Scanlan Creek those breeding grounds are now upstream of several culverts that are filled with rushing spring runoff during spawning season. This has effectively cut the fish off from their breeding grounds, according to RVCA aquatic biologist Jennifer Lamoureux, who said the rushing water is too fast to fight.

Where there once might have been dozens of breeding adults counted in the spring, this year local landowners only spotted a few.

To fix this, Lamoureux designed two new spawning beds downstream of the culverts.

“Some may still try to spawn upstream, but these downstream spawning beds mean they have the appropriate habitat if the spring freshet is a strong one,” Lamoureux said.

Staff and 30 volunteers spent two days at the end of August building the new beds. The first day, volunteers installed nets to block and relocate nearly 1,100 fish and other aquatic creatures from the construction zone. The next day, they worked tirelessly to place 70 tonnes of six-inch round river stone in the creek, passing them down the line by hand to cover the river bottom.

The project was the brainchild of Manthey and Don Goodfellow of the Westport Area Outdoors Association, who worked together to develop a Scanlan Creek rehabilitation proposal for the RVCA. It required buy-in from members of both community groups, as well as approval from landowner Bill Blaney, who has owned this section of the creek for the past 12 years.

Blaney said he was happy to help, not only because it’s restoring the creek back to balance, but because he’s noticed a decline at the end of his fishing line.

“I used to catch a fish every second cast, and I could count on getting one or two in a trip. Now there are many times we get skunked,” Blaney said.

He said he hopes to see more walleye on his property as early as two years from now. For more information, visit https://www.rvca.ca/wolfe-lake-scanlan-creek-fish-habitat-enhancement-project.

 

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August 28, 2019 — The Rideau Valley Conservation Authority (RVCA) has completed a hazard mapping study for Mud Creek in Manotick, from 3rd Line Road North to the Rideau River. Members of the public are invited to an upcoming open house to review hazard and regulations maps.

 The new mapping shows areas that are subject to natural hazards such as flooding and unstable slopes. The mapping will be used by the City of Ottawa when updating its Official Plans and Zoning Schedules and in the review of development applications under the provincial Planning Act. RVCA will also use the mapping to guide the review of development applications submitted under the provincial Development, Interference with Wetlands and Alterations to Shorelines and Watercourses regulation.

The goal of this mapping is to help ensure that sound planning decisions are made — keeping people and property safe. Accurate engineered hazard mapping is the foundation of effective floodplain and resource management.

Members of the public are encouraged to attend the open house and/or provide comments on the mapping. Conservation Authority staff welcome historical records of past flood events, slope failures, erosion, news clippings, photographs and even anecdotal stories to help confirm the reasonableness of their calculations.

Mud Creek Hazard Land and Regulations Mapping Open House:
Rideau Valley Conservation Centre
3889 Rideau Valley Drive, Manotick
Tuesday, September 24, 2019
4:30 to 8 p.m.

For those unable to attend the open house, mapping can also be viewed online at www.rvca.ca/mud-creek. To understand how mapping may affect your property or to provide comments, please contact an RVCA Resource Specialist at or complete an online property inquiry form at www.rvca.ca/regulations-planning/general-property-inquiries.

This study is being done through a collaboration involving the City of Ottawa and the Rideau Valley, Mississippi Valley and South Nation Conservation authorities. The City recognized a need to update its zoning schedules based on up-to-date hazard mapping and has provided contributions enabling the Conservation Authorities to move ahead with these studies sooner than would otherwise be possible. The RVCA is currently working on several studies in the Ottawa area. For a complete list of ongoing work, please visit www.rvca.ca/ottawa-mapping-project.

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Aug. 15, 2019 – Ottawa Greek Fest is one of the capital’s hottest summer festivals, but this year it’s keeping it cool with a pledge to go carbon neutral through the Rideau Valley Conservation Foundation.

The charitable foundation helped the festival calculate its estimated carbon footprint from the gas, propane, diesel and electricity used over the course of its 11-day food, music and art extravaganza at the Hellenic Centre near Hog’s Back Falls. That calculation will translate into 120 trees planted locally across the Rideau Valley watershed, adding to Eastern Ontario’s forests and natural spaces and offsetting the event’s carbon footprint over the next 40 years.

So, how does planting trees make a festival like GreekFest carbon neutral? Trees absorb carbon dioxide from the air and capture it in their wood cells as part of their life cycle. Once we know how much carbon an event creates, we know how many trees are needed to offset it. It’s as easy as that!

The foundation supports the watershed protection work of the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority. Its staff plant and care for the trees over time to make sure they grow into a thriving forest that will not only capture carbon but also reduce runoff and flood risks, create vital wildlife habitat and improve soil quality.

Want to make your own home, business or event carbon neutral? Visit our website for more information: https://www.rvcf.ca/ways-to-give/carbon-neutral-program.

To support Ottawa’s latest carbon neutral event, visit www.ottawagreekfest.com.

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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