May 13, 2019 — Do you love being outside, getting your hands dirty and doing some good for the planet? Are you interested in science or biology, but want to skip the degree? We’ve got just the job for you.
The RVCA’s City Stream Watch program needs volunteer ‘citizen scientists’ to help monitor, protect and clean up the city of Ottawa’s many urban and rural streams. From invasive species removal to assisting with aquatic wildlife surveys, citizen scientists are the backbone of the program that monitors the health of urban and rural tributaries flowing into the Rideau and Ottawa rivers.
This is the best time to get involved, since a volunteer training session will be held May 25 to welcome new recruits and introduce them to the basics of stream sampling and environmental data collection.
Long-time volunteer Larry Hum encouraged residents to “give it a whirl” – especially if they’ve got an interest in biology or the environment.
“It’s an opportunity to work in bioscience without going into the heavy, heavy science,” he said.
Acting program co-ordinator Rosario Castanon-Escobar said it’s volunteers like Mr. Hum that make this program such a resounding success, year after year.
“The result of our work together is that our streams continue to be valued, respected and cared for to ensure these streams remain a point of pride within our communities,” said Castanon-Escobar.
This year’s volunteer training session is scheduled for Saturday, May 25 from 10 a.m. to noon along the shores of Sawmill Creek near Billings Bridge. All necessary equipment is provided and there is no cost to volunteers. Interested participants must pre-register for the event by contacting Castanon-Escobar at email@example.com.
The 2019 program will collect data on Cranberry Creek in Kars, Hunt Club Creek in Hunt Club, Ramsey Creek in Gloucester/Mer Bleue and Borthwick Creek in Gloucester/Mer Bleue. Sampling activities will focus on assessing the habitat, water and shoreline conditions of the streams. The team will also organize several cleanups, shoreline planting events and invasive species removals throughout the season.
In the 17 years since its inception, City Stream Watch has enlisted the help of more than 3,100 volunteers, contributing more than 15,000 hours toward conservation projects and monitoring. All are welcome to participate. Results from our 2018 efforts are available online at www.rvca.ca.
The program is a community-based partnership, which includes the City of Ottawa, the Canadian Forces Fish & Game Club, the Ottawa Flyfishers Society, the Rideau Roundtable, the Ottawa Stewardship Council, National Capital Commission and Rideau Valley Conservation Authority.
For more information about the program, including the reports of streams previously studied, please visit www.rvca.ca/volunteer/city-stream-watch.