Displaying items by tag: flood

May 14, 2019 – As homeowners and municipalities look to clean up after another record flood on the Ottawa River, the need to prevent such damage from happening again and again is clear.

We don’t yet know how much the 2019 flood will cost, but we know it will be much more than prevention. Hundreds of homes were damaged, millions of sandbags were filled, residents were evacuated, public infrastructure was compromised, and military and government staff logged significant overtime. And don’t forget the incalculable loss of photo albums and family keepsakes floating in soggy basements, and the exhaustion of homeowners and volunteers fighting the rising water.

But it could have been worse. Without current regulations, more homes and businesses would have been built in the floodplain, meaning more buildings damaged and more people affected.

The good news is, prevention is possible and infinitely cheaper than recovery – all we have to do is invest in it.

Ottawa’s conservation authorities are a key part of preventing flood damage, as they’re responsible for mapping flood-prone areas, monitoring flood conditions, giving municipalities and residents advance warning, keeping infrastructure like berms, dikes and dams in good working order, and prohibiting new development in flood zones. They also require homeowners in the floodplain to floodproof their homes and septic systems when they rebuild, to prevent future damage.

They do all this on a pretty tight budget (even tighter now due to recent provincial cuts), with the support of their partner municipalities.

Conservation authorities also prevent floods by planting hundreds of thousands of trees each year and protecting critical wetlands to build natural flood resilience right into our communities. Forests and wetlands act like sponges, catching and storing runoff so it percolates slowly into waterways. Without forests and wetlands, rain and snowmelt would have nowhere to go but directly into rivers and lakes, swelling them faster and higher.

Flooding is a natural function, and it will happen more often as extreme weather intensifies. And when today’s flood waters recede and the memories of sandbag walls begin to fade, conservation authorities will need continued public and political support when we are directing development away from floodplains, requiring existing structures to be floodproofed and taking steps to protect forests and wetlands.

We need financial support from all levels of government to continue updating floodplain mapping, operating and maintaining water control structures and monitoring flood conditions. It’s also time for the three levels of government to have serious conversations about buy-out and relocation programs for homeowners in the path of floods.

Cancelling the provincial 50 Million Trees program, reducing conservation authority funding and any weakening of regulations aimed at protecting wetlands or floodplains will only lead to more flooding and millions or billions in damages down the road.

Taxpayers foot the bill when major floods damage communities. Supporting the work of conservation authorities and municipalities to protect people and property from flooding in the first place is much better bang for our buck.

 

By Sommer Casgrain-Robertson, General Manager, Rideau Valley Conservation Authority

June 3, 2019 — More of the Rideau Valley watershed will be mapped for flood risks and other hazards thanks to a new agreement between the City of Ottawa and the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority (RVCA).

Over the next three years, the RVCA will update existing hazard mapping reports and map new areas along four waterways inside the City’s boundaries: Mud Creek in Manotick, Stevens Creek in North Gower, Mosquito Creek in Riverside South and Monahan Drain in Kanata South.

Previously known as “floodplain mapping” or “regulations mapping,” these studies show areas that are prone to natural hazards such as flooding, erosion and unstable slopes. They will also map natural features such as wetlands.

“Current mapping in these areas is outdated or non-existent, making it difficult to ensure public safety, protect property and make sound planning decisions,” said Ferdous Ahmed, RVCA Senior Water Resources Engineer.

The City has provided funding and high-quality topographical information for the projects, allowing the conservation authority to move ahead with studies sooner than otherwise possible. The agreement builds on a previous collaboration that mapped 11 areas between 2012 and 2019.

Ottawa is beginning an Official Plan review this year, and these maps will help determine development boundaries and zoning overlays. They’ll also help the conservation authorities and municipality review development applications under the provincial Planning Act.

The RVCA is one of three conservation authorities collaborating with the City on new hazard reports. Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority and South Nation Conservation will complete similar projects in their watersheds under the new agreement.

Hazard mapping is the cornerstone of keeping people and property safe from floods, erosion and unstable slopes. The studies will use contemporary methods of hydrologic and hydraulic analysis, historical records of stream flow and/or water levels, and the most up-to-date topographical data to produce updated estimates of the 1:100 year flood line and erosion and steep slope zones.

Historical records of past flood events, news clippings, photographs, and even anecdotal stories and memories can help confirm the reasonableness of calculations and resulting hazard mapping. Local residents with this kind of information are encouraged to share their knowledge with RVCA’s Ferdous Ahmed, (613-692-3571, 1-800-267-3504 ext. 1170 or ).

Once the technical work is completed and the maps have been prepared, open houses will be held in nearby communities to collect public feedback. Any new information or comments will be taken into consideration to further refine the maps.

For more information about the project visit www.rvca.ca/ottawa-mapping-project.

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June 4, 2019 – The Rideau Valley Conservation Authority (RVCA) is maintaining a High Water Safety message for properties around Bobs Lake and Christie Lake.

The water levels on Bobs and Christie Lakes continue to decline slowly but both lakes are still above average for this time of year. This water levels are expected to gradually drop down to seasonal levels soon. Parks Canada staff are closely monitoring the water levels in these lakes.  Operations at the Bolingbroke Dam will take place as required to balance the levels in Bobs Lake and Christie Lake.

Water levels continue to be at seasonal values in the rest of the Rideau Valley Watershed.

Everyone needs to be cautious around lakes and streams with the fluctuating water levels. Children need to be educated about the hazards and kept away from all watercourses.

This watershed conditions statement is in effect until Tuesday June 11, 2019 at 5 PM. No further updates will be issued unless the forecast or conditions change.

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June 4, 2019 – The Rideau Valley Conservation Authority (RVCA) is maintaining a High Water Safety message for properties around Bobs Lake and Christie Lake.

The water levels on Bobs and Christie Lakes continue to decline slowly but both lakes are still above average for this time of year. This water levels are expected to gradually drop down to seasonal levels soon. Parks Canada staff are closely monitoring the water levels in these lakes.  Operations at the Bolingbroke Dam will take place as required to balance the levels in Bobs Lake and Christie Lake.

Water levels continue to be at seasonal values in the rest of the Rideau Valley Watershed.

Everyone needs to be cautious around lakes and streams with the fluctuating water levels. Children need to be educated about the hazards and kept away from all watercourses.

This watershed conditions statement is in effect until Tuesday June 11, 2019 at 5 PM. No further updates will be issued unless the forecast or conditions change.

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June 10, 2019 – Planting trees and shrubs along your shoreline can protect your property from flood damage – and the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority is now booking site visits to help get the job done.

The RVCA’s Shoreline Naturalization Program offers landowners low-cost technical guidance, project management and all the native trees and shrubs you need to build a robust natural buffer along your waterfront.

These strategically-placed plants have hearty roots that hold soil in place so it doesn’t wash away during periods of high water, or in high-wake areas. There’s no need for expensive rock “rip rap” or other high-tech engineering – Mother Nature already knows what to do.

A three-metre natural buffer also discourages geese, reduces runoff and provides crucial wildlife habitat.

This spring, RVCA staff installed a total of 11,500 native plants on 63 private properties across the watershed. They also worked with a number of community groups to naturalize public shorelines.

Staff are now booking site visits for the 2020 spring planting season, and this year waterfront residents in the Tay Valley subwatershed can participate completely free of charge.

How does it work?

RVCA staff will visit your property between June and October to discuss your vision and assess planting potential. Then they’ll develop a unique plan for your property, including recommendations for the best native species for your property’s growing conditions. They’ll also discuss how you’d like to maintain your water access, seating areas and view.

From there, you can choose which subsidized plants you’d like based on your custom planting plan and the RVCA’s available species list, and staff will order them for you. In spring 2020, staff will deliver your plants and, if you choose, even do the planting for you!

Why naturalize?

Ninety per cent of all river life depends on a healthy shoreline to survive. But this “ribbon of life” also plays a crucial role in filtering out pollutants, reducing erosion and easing flood risks. By adding a natural buffer between your home and the water, you are protecting the health of our drinking water, ecosystems and shores.

For more information, visit https://www.rvca.ca/stewardship-grants/shoreline-naturalization/shoreline-naturalization-program. To book a site visit contact Meaghan McDonald.

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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