October 22, 2019 – A provincially significant wetland will get a makeover this winter, thanks in part to a $55,000 grant from Wildlife Habitat Canada.
The Hutton Creek Marsh near Lombardy has become a monoculture: choked and overgrown with cattails, only 10 per cent of the marsh is now open water.
Crews will construct three 0.5 acre ponds and 500 metres of channels to help return the wetland to a healthier hemi-marsh state (50 per cent vegetation and 50 per cent open water).
This will provide new fish passages and areas for spawning and feeding, and will support critical life stages for amphibians, turtles and other wildlife. This healthier water-to-vegetation ratio is also ideal for waterfowl and would support the greatest biodiversity. Creating more open water will also restore local access for paddling, fishing and hunting.
Construction could begin as early as November. Crews will wait until the marsh has frozen to keep impacts to wildlife and water quality low.
This work is Phase 2 of a long-term project to bring the important wetland back to a more natural, productive state. In 2015, the nearby Motts Mills Dam was decommissioned and replaced with an earthen berm. In 2017, the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority (RVCA) lowered local water levels to help staff study the wetland and determine the best way to address the crowded cattails.
A dedicated group of local stakeholders made this project possible, including the RVCA, Ducks Unlimited Canada, Leeds and Grenville Stewardship Council and the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville (UCLG), which owns the property where the work will take place. Support of local residents has also been key to the project’s success.
The project is jointly funded by Wildlife Habitat Canada, Leeds and Grenville Stewardship Council, Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters Zone F, Ducks Unlimited Canada, UCLG, RVCA and the Rideau Valley Conservation Foundation.
The Wildlife Habitat Canada grant represents more than 40 per cent of the project’s total cost. The primary source of funding for the grant program is from the purchase of the Canadian Wildlife Habitat Conservation Stamp (Canadian Duck Stamp) by waterfowl hunters.
To learn more about how the Rideau Valley Conservation Foundation works to protect wetlands and waterways in the region, or to donate to the cause, visit www.rvcf.ca.
For more information about Motts Mills Conservation Area and the Hutton Marsh, visit https://www.rvca.ca/conservation-areas/no-fee-required/motts-mills-ca.
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Oct. 10, 2019 – We’re updating Foley Mountain Conservation Area’s management plan, and we want your input on the future of Westport’s favourite outdoor oasis.
The updated plan will guide the next 10 years of resource management, habitat enhancement, programming, infrastructure upgrades and other developments at Foley Mountain to best meet the needs and desires of visitors, donors, nearby businesses and other stakeholders.
“We welcome public input, especially from our regular visitors and supporters who spend a lot of time in the park,” said Rebecca Whitman, site supervisor at Foley Mountain. “This is your chance to tell us what you love about Foley, and what you’d like to see improved.”
Foley Mountain Conservation Area is one of 11 conservation areas owned and operated by the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority. Located in Westport, ON overlooking the Upper Rideau Waterway, Foley is famous for its Spy Rock lookout, 10 kilometres of scenic hiking trails and hands-on outdoor education programs. The 337-hectare (833-acre) site is also known for its abundance of wildlife, including the threatened black rat snake which thrives on Foley’s granite ridge that forms part of the UNESCO-designated Frontenac Arch biosphere.
Once completed, the new management plan will provide clear goals and objectives for the site and offer strategies and recommendations to enhance the site for public use and enjoyment over the next decade.
Take our 10-minute survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/FoleyMountain.
Leave your email address to be entered in a draw for an annual pass to all RVCA conservation areas, worth $50!
For more information about Foley Mountain, visit www.rvca.ca/conservation-areas/fee-required/foley-mountain-ca.
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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.
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:
Mississippi-Rideau Source Protection Region
613-692-3571, ext. 1148.
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