OTTAWA, April 29, 2022 – Ready to make a splash as you help your local environment? You’re in luck: after a two-year pause, the City Stream Watch program is finally back – with a lot of catching up to do.
The RVCA-led program has monitored Ottawa’s 25 urban and rural creeks and streams since 2003, relying on enthusiastic volunteers to help with annual garbage clean-ups, invasive species removals, fish and water sampling, habitat assessments and shoreline naturalization projects.
But all of that came to a grinding halt in the spring of 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic limited RVCA’s ability to welcome volunteers to help conduct this crucial work.
Two years is a long time to go without any maintenance (remember your pandemic haircut!) and now RVCA is keen to catch up with as many volunteer clean-ups and monitoring sessions as possible throughout the warmer months.
Garbage clean-ups will be plentiful this season, according to RVCA aquatic biologist Jennifer Lamoureux. She said the city’s creeks are suffering from two years’ worth of trash that has blown in from nearby neighbourhoods and roads.
“These urban waterways need special attention to remain clean and healthy habitats for the many fish and other aquatic species that live there,” Lamoureux said. “Some of these areas are highly built up, so we need to ensure the habitat that exists is actually liveable for all of the fish, frogs, turtles and waterfowl that rely on it.”
Volunteer groups will be needed on a variety of weekends to help clean up their neighbourhood streams, from Nepean to Orleans to Barrhaven and everywhere in between.
As well, the program is seeking a team of dedicated citizen scientists who can help staff measure water temperatures, assess shoreline and instream habitat characteristics and monitor local fish populations. This work will be limited to four waterways across the city this year: Sawmill Creek in South Keys, Black Rapids Creek in Nepean, Cardinal Creek in Orleans and Barrhaven Creek in Barrhaven. Monitoring efforts rotate annually between the 25 urban and rural streams, and this set hasn’t been monitored for more than six years. Volunteers will help staff collect this crucial data on dozens of sections of each stream between May and October.
Interested volunteers can sign up at www.rvca.ca/volunteer/city-stream-watch or email . An orientation will take place May 28. RSVPs are required for all events.
About City Stream Watch:
The City Stream Watch Program is a community-based partnership which includes the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority, Heron Park Community Association, Ottawa Flyfishers Society, Rideau Roundtable, Canadian Forces Fish and Game Club, Ottawa Stewardship Council, City of Ottawa and the National Capital Commission.
To read past monitoring reports visit www.rvca.ca/watershed-monitoring-reporting/reporting.