May 1, 2018 – Kawartha Conservation staff will be launching two exciting habitat restoration projects in Durham East Cross Forest this spring that will help re-introduce an important tree species while also protecting two threatened bird species.
“Durham East Cross Forest really is a gem among our conservation areas,” said Director of Stewardship and Conservation Areas, Kristie Virgoe. “Undertaking these two critical projects is an important investment in this conservation area and for both the community and the environment.”
The first project is a Bobolink and Meadowlark grassland restoration project, and the second an important Butternut Tree planting project.
For the Bobolink and Meadowlark grassland restoration project, work will be commencing to remove a section of scattered trees from approximately one third of the 25-acre project area in the spring and summer. In August and September, the field will be mowed, followed by planting a native grassland mix that is suitable for grassland birds including Big Bluestem, Prairie Brome, Switchgrass and others.
The field has been filling in during the past number of years with invasive Scots Pine trees as well as native Aspen Trees.
“We are letting the grassland birds nest and fledge their young this summer before we mow the field and make it ready for planting,” said Ms. Virgoe. “In areas where the terrain is rougher, we will use an assortment of grass plugs (small grass plants) instead of seed to establish these plants.”
Ongoing maintenance will include an annual mowing regime, while staff also monitor the bird populations over time.
The second project will involve planting 20 Butternut saplings, along with 20 companion tree saplings.
“Butternut trees are endangered in Ontario because of the Butternut Canker, a disease that has almost wiped out the population,” explained Conservation Areas Technician Ben Teskey. “By planting more Butternut we are hoping to establish a healthy plot for the trees and to increase our chances of finding some resistance to the Canker.”
Teskey explained that Butternut are a tree that is often found in early successional areas (open fields).
“Durham East Cross Forest has wonderful habitat for these trees and this project will help to improve the biodiversity of the area, while helping to re-introduce this important endangered tree back into the watershed.”
The Butternut saplings have been DNA tested to ensure they are pure Butternut Trees and the seeds were collected from Butternut that have demonstrated resistance to the disease. The trees will be planted and protect from being browsed by deer and other wildlife.
“Planting will take place this spring with ongoing monitoring every week between planting and October to assess the health and vitality of the trees,” added Mr. Teskey.
On February 15, 2018 the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change approved amendments to the Trent Source Protection Plan, Assessment Report and Explanatory Document. The amendment includes the addition of 8 policies to address water quantity threats within a small area of the Municipalities of Uxbridge and Scugog (lower tier) and the Regional Municipality of Durham (upper tier).
Notice of the amendment can be found on the Environmental Bill of Rights registry, post #013-2403.
The amended documents also include several typographical corrections made under Section 51(1) of O.Reg 287/07, and documented in the notice required by Section 51(2).
The updated documents can be viewed from the Trent Conservation Coalition website: http://trentsourceprotection.on.ca/resources/reports-legislation
JANUARY 10 – An old Chinese proverb notes “the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” Kawartha Conservation wants to make it easy with the 2018 Tree Seedling Program.
Designed for landowners in rural, agricultural and shoreline areas of the Kawartha watershed, the Tree Seedling Program provides an inexpensive way to plant a selection of tree seedlings and native shrubs on their property.
“The Tree Seedling Program is a great opportunity for landowners in the Kawartha Watershed to purchase low-cost seedlings,” explained Stewardship Coordinator Holly Shipclark. “Bare root one to three year old trees and shrubs are priced from $0.75 to $1.95 per seedling, with minimum orders of 100 seedlings.”
From saving money on heating and cooling, to blocking highway traffic noise, greater privacy, and contributing to higher property values, planting trees is not only great for your health, but also makes smart financial sense.
“Deciduous trees planted on the south and west side of a home can decrease a homeowners’ cooling costs by up to 50 per cent, while evergreen trees planted as wind breaks around homes can decrease heating costs by as much at 30 per cent,” said Ms. Shipclark.
Over the past 36 years, Kawartha Conservation has distributed more than 600,000 seedlings across the Kawartha Watershed.
Contributing to the success of the Seedling Program is our partnerships with both the Kawartha Chapter of the Ontario Woodlot Association and Willowtree Farm near Port Perry.
For orders exceeding $250, a payment of 50 per cent is required at least two weeks prior to the pickup date, tentatively scheduled for the end of April at Ken Reid Conservation Area (277 Kenrei Rd., Lindsay) and Willowtree Farm at 975 Regional Road 21, Port Perry.
The 2018 order form, as well as guidelines for selecting the best plants for their properties, can be found at www.KawarthaConservation.com/seedling-distribution.
November 30, 2017 – Following a detailed five-hour review of the proposed 2018 operating budget on Wednesday, Kawartha Conservation’s Board of Directors approved the 2018 budget for circulation to member municipalities.
The Board began the day with a proposed budget requesting an additional $61,550 in 2018, a 4.2 per cent municipal operating levy increase to be shared on a proportionate basis by Brock Township, Township of Scugog, Region of Durham, Cavan Monaghan, Municipality of Trent Lakes and the City of Kawartha Lakes.
At the start of the discussions the total 2018 budget had been projected at $3,798,800; of that, $1,543,100 would come from municipal partners.
“Being able to share with our Board members a detailed breakdown of the work our staff do, as well as how each municipality benefits was an important exercise and affirmed the value of the services we provide,” explained Kawartha Conservation CAO Mark Majchrowski. “We applaud our Board members for being financially diligent and very much appreciate their desire to ensure community needs are met.”
Following a detailed presentation and break down of the budget request from staff, several motions were made by Board members to further reduce the proposed budget, resulting in the Board approving a 3.75 per cent municipal operating levy increase, or $55,550.
“There’s no question we are facing increased financial pressures and challenges due to new provincial legislation and other outside factors,” said Mr. Majchrowski. “In developing the 2018 budget, there were a number of financial pressures which factored into the increase, including new premium rates for WSIB and other changes through the Changing Workplaces provincial legislation.
“We are focused on continuing to review our operating model and to look at our revenue streams to help leverage municipal tax support, while also recognizing our infrastructure, programming and staffing challenges,” said Mr. Majchrowski.
“We recognize that our role is to balance human need and environmental capacity, by managing natural resource features that are essential for sustaining water quality and quantity, through watershed planning, stewardship, environmental monitoring and management of conservation and natural areas,” said Mr. Majchrowski. “In doing this work we are also consistent with each member municipality’s approved strategic plans, and we work hard to support those objectives through the work our staff do every day at Kawartha Conservation.”
“I commend the staff at Kawartha Conservation for bringing forward a detailed budget and presentation that highlights not only the important work the staff do across our entire watershed, but the fiscally responsible manner in which they do it,” said Board vice-chair Peter Raymond. “There was some spirited discussion and healthy debate, but I think what became very clear was how lean an operation Kawartha Conservation really is.”
Mr. Raymond noted that when discussing organizations with smaller budgets, only looking at percentages can be misleading.
“Starting the day at a 4 per cent budget levy increase sounds like a lot,” said Mr. Raymond. “We need to remember that for Kawartha Conservation one percent is equal to about $15,000. When you consider the legislated mandate to provide a wide variety of planning, regulation, enforcement, stewardship and conservation services to a watershed the size of ours, that isn’t a lot of money.”
Board Chair Ted Smith said the budget as amended, and approved, by the Board for circulation is a reflection of the economic realities facing Kawartha Conservation.
“Pressures caused by Bill 148 involving employment standards plus the need to remain competitive in the retention of qualified staff were the main reasons that the budget numbers ended up where they did,” said Mr. Smith. “I commend the CAO and his staff for all the time and effort that they put in to bring in a budget that was reasonable and palatable to the Board in these challenging times.”
The budget will now be circulated to member municipalities for a 30 day commenting period before the Kawartha Conservation Board of Directors votes on the final budget January 17.
July 26, 2017 – The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change has confirmed the presence of blue green algae in the Port Perry area of Lake Scugog in front of Palmer Park. The Township of Scugog has posted the area of concern with support from the Durham region Health Department.
The public is cautioned not to use the water containing blue-green algae for any uses.
The toxins released by blue-green algae when it is dying or disturbed can pose health risks for anyone using the water, including pets. Drinking the water may result in headaches, fever, diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting. Bathing or showering in the water can result in skin rashes, swollen lips, eye irritation and redness, ear ache and itchiness, sore throat, hay fever-like symptoms and asthma. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should seek immediate medical attention.
Concerns should be directed to the Durham Health Department’s Environmental Helpline: 1- 905 723 3818.
Stay up-to-date on blue-green algae outbreaks
It is difficult to predict when and where a bloom will occur and for how long the toxin associated with the algae will be present, as environmental conditions continually change.
The local health unit will release a water-use warning when the presence of blue-green algae is confirmed by the Ministry of the Environment. Reports and updates are posted in the news sections of the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit, Peterborough County-City Health Unit and Durham Region Health Department.
What to do if blue-green algae has been confirmed
Do not use water containing blue-green algae for any uses. The toxins released by blue-green algae when it is dying or disturbed can pose health risks for anyone using the water, including pets.
Drinking the water may result in headaches, fever, diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting. Bathing or showering in the water can result in skin rashes, swollen lips, eye irritation and redness, ear ache and itchiness, sore throat, hay fever-like symptoms and asthma. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should seek immediate medical attention.
Boiling water does not help in these situations, as the process just kills the algae resulting in the release of more toxins into the water.
For areas where an advisory has been lifted, you should not use the water if you see a large, dense algae bloom.
What to do if you suspect blue-green algae
If you suspect a blue-green algae bloom, assume toxins are present and call the Ministry of the Environment Spills Action Centre at 1-800-268-6060.
Reduce the likelihood of health risks by avoiding activities that increase exposure to these toxins during algae blooms; call the local Health Unit for information and follow their advice.
If you are unsure about the safety of water for drinking during an algae bloom, then use alternative water sources such as bottled, carted or tanked water.
Impacts on wildlife
Blue-green algae have been known to cause death in many different types of animals. Animals drink from the shorelines where algae tend to collect; therefore, they ingest large amounts of any toxins released. There have also been deaths reported in water-dwelling animals such as otters and waterfowl. Cattle are often highly impacted by the algae; however, there are not as many deaths due to the size of the animal.
Animals with smaller body masses are more affected by the toxins and tend to be the ones reported dead.
Fish can intake toxins from the algae as well, so when eating any fish caught in or near a water body affected by the algae, remove all the internal organs where any toxins would collect.
Causes of blue-green algae outbreaks
Blue-green algae occurs naturally during hot periods of weather in fresh water lakes and reservoirs with shallow, slow-moving, or still water that is rich in nutrients such as phosphorous and nitrogen. The algae thrive in areas high in nutrients, which can be elevated in lakes and streams due to human activities.
Some of the human sources of these nutrients include storm water runoff, fertilized lawns around the lake, shoreline erosion, industrial effluent, agricultural runoff, faulty septic systems, and sewage treatment plants.
Algae blooms, which can often give the water a pea soup appearance, can last up to three weeks and be pushed around the lake by the wind and currents.
For more information regarding the presence or health impacts of blue-green algae contact the Health Units below.
City of Kawartha Lakes
Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit
Peterborough County (includes Galway-Cavendish and Harvey)
Peterborough County-City Health Unit
Durham Region (includes Scugog)
Durham Region Health Department
May 29, 2017 – The Community Advisory Panel and Kawartha Conservation are seeking community feedback on lake management plan implementation projects through a newly launched online survey.
The survey results will be shared during a half-day Stewardship Summit on July 15 at the Cambray Community Centre located at 2255 Elm Tree Road.
“The survey is one component of community consultation and engagement to get specific ideas for projects and priorities regarding lake management plan implementation,” said Community Advisory Panel Chair, Doug Erlandson.
“Working with our community partners and listening to the feedback of residents has been a key component of the lake management plans developed by Kawartha Conservation,” added former Chair Chris Appleton. “That engagement and consultation is continuing through the development of implementation actions.”
The survey results, in conjunction with feedback during the Stewardship Summit will help establish themes, priorities and specific short and long-term projects that will help inform decision-making and multi-year budgeting.
“Lake management plan implementation is a long-term investment,” explained Kawartha Conservation CAO Mark Majchrowski. “By consulting our community across the Kawartha watershed, we will be better able to develop a multi-year action plan and budgeting strategy that provides concrete actions and deliverables to community residents and our municipal partners.”
The survey will focus on five key areas: Stewardship, Strategic Planning, Urban and Rural Infrastructure, Research and Monitoring and Communications and Outreach.
“On behalf of our municipal partners, all of our lake management plans have been developed with strong public engagement and input,” explained Mr. Majchrowski. “We are continuing to engage our community and our partners while we develop community-focused priorities and specific implementation projects.”
Mr. Majchrowski stressed the survey and Stewardship Summit are not just for waterfront property owners, but for the entire community.
“Lake management plan implementation will benefit the entire community, from tourism to agriculture, downtowns, small business, economic development and urban and rural property owners” he said. "Implementing projects that will help protect and improve our lakes and rivers will benefit everyone.”
The survey is available Online at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/LakePlanImplementationSurvey, and can be completed until Sunday, July 9.
“We appreciate everyone taking the time to complete the survey and sharing it with their family, friends and neighbours,” said Mr. Erlandson. “We look forward to sharing the results at our Stewardship Summit on July 15.”
BLACKSTOCK, ON – Homeowners who experienced water shortages during the drought conditions in 2016, or people who are interested in learning more about harvesting rain water naturally to reduce reliance on municipal water or well water supplies won’t want to miss the free Water Harvesting Workshop in Blackstock on March 29.
Held at the Blackstock Community Centre beginning at 7 p.m., the workshop will feature Kawartha Conservation Stewardship Outreach Technician Greg Bunker and Denis Orendt, Rainwater System Designer/Installer.
“There are a lot of options available for people who want to harvest rain water and the benefits are numerous,” said Mr. Bunker. “Whether people want to be able to water their lawns or gardens, reduce their municipal water consumption or conserve their own well water supply, water harvesting is a great option for saving money and protecting the environment.”
Water harvesting helps to reduce storm water run-off, erosion and flooding as well as protect rivers, streams and lakes.
“From something as simple as diverting flow away from pavements, to using a rain barrel or series of rain barrels to collect rain water or using a cistern for collecting larger quantities of water, the Water Harvesting Workshop will help those in attendance understand the options and the pros and cons,” said Mr. Bunker.
“There is a growing interest in water harvesting as a result of last year’s dry conditions, which resulted in a number of shallow wells going dry,” Mr. Bunker continued. “We heard from a number of residents about their interest in learning more about water harvesting and Mr. Orendt and I are looking forward to sharing a lot of great information with people.
No pre-registration is required for the workshop and attendees are encouraged to bring their water harvesting questions.
PORT PERRY – March 15, 2017 – Natalia Moudrak, Director, Natural Infrastructure Adaptation Program (NIAP), Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation will be the keynote speaker during the Kawartha Conservation Annual General Meeting taking place March 29 at the Port Perry library.
Ms. Moudrak’s keynote presentation titled, “Residential Flood Risk: NOT Adapting is NOT an Option,” will outline the growing costs of extreme weather and flooding, as well as link repeated flooding to elevated risks of mortgage defaults in Canada.
“More and more the communities we serve are impacted by extreme weather, climate change, drought and floods,” said Kawartha Conservation Acting CAO Wanda Stephen. “Ms. Moudrak is a leading industry expert who will talk about the growing need for flood-resiliency work and how global financial audiences are now viewing residential flood risks as one of the greatest economic threats to communities and businesses.”
As a Director of Natural Infrastructure Adaptation Program, Ms. Moudrak advances the development of best practices for building new residential communities in Canada that are more resilient to flooding as well as evaluating the business case for natural infrastructure preservation.
Ms. Moudrak has experience in sustainability strategy, operationalization, reporting and business case development across a wide range of industry sectors and client organizations. Prior to joining the Intact Centre, Ms. Moudrak worked at PricewaterhouseCoopers Canada, Risk Assurance Services.
The public is invited to attend the Annual General Meeting in the Rotary Room of the Port Perry library on March 29 from 4 to 6 p.m.
January 13, 2017 – The freeze thaw cycle that has characterized much of early winter across the Kawartha Conservation watershed, bringing both rain and snow to the region, has helped to improve lake levels and water flows.
On Thursday, January 12, the Kawartha Water Response Team reduced the Level II low water condition declaration for the majority of the watershed to a Level I low water condition.
In the Township of Scugog, where drought conditions during much of 2016 resulted in the most severe Level III low water declaration, mixed precipitation during December and the early parts of January have improved water levels and water flows significantly, resulting in the move to a Level I low water condition.
“Recorded three month precipitation from October to December ranged from 66 percent in the north to 86 percent at Ken Reid Conservation Area,” explained Kawartha Conservation Hydrologist Iryna Shulyarenko. “However, actual December precipitation ranged from 110 percent of average December values in the north to 149 percent of December averages at Ken Reid Conservation Area.
“Our flow indicators for December also show that all of the watershed’s monitoring locations reported flows that are significantly higher than the long-term minimum monthly summer flow,” added Ms. Shulyarenko.
In December, the Pigeon River monitoring station showed flows at 113 percent of the Minimum monthly summer flow, while the Blackstock Creek monitoring station reported flows at 335 percent and Nonquon River, near Port Perry showed flows at 550 percent of the minimum monthly summer flow.
While the increased precipitation is good news for residents and businesses across the Kawartha Conservation watershed, ground water supplies are not likely to be significantly impacted until spring when air temperature returns to the stable above freezing mark.
“Those individuals with very, very shallow wells may notice some improvement, but we are not anticipating much improvement in the ground water supply until spring as the infiltration from melting snow becomes steady,” said Ms. Shulyarenko. “We are continuing to ask residents and businesses to voluntarily reduce their water consumption. Water is a shared resource and every little bit of water conservation will help make a difference for you and your neighbour.”
In response to the impact of the low water conditions on ground water supplies during 2016, Kawartha Conservation, in conjunction with the City of Kawartha Lakes, Farm & Food Care and the Ontario Ministry Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs are hosting a one-day Agricultural drought resilience workshop in Fenelon Falls on Tuesday, January 31.
“We’ve heard from members of our agricultural community about the challenges they have experienced over the last year,” said Ms. Shipclark. “This aim of this workshop is to provide valuable information from a variety of sources to area farmers and landowners. We have put together an agenda that will help address a lot of the questions and provide important and useful information for our agricultural community.”
The cost for the event is $20 and includes lunch. Interested persons must register Online in advance at www.KawarthaConservation.com/agwater or by contacting Kelly Maloney at the City of Kawartha Lakes, 705-324-9411 Ext. 1208.
December 16, 2016 – The majority of the Kawartha Conservation watershed will remain in a Level II Low Water Condition at least through the balance of 2016 and into January, while a Level III Low Water Condition will remain in effect for the Township of Scugog.
“We have seen some improvement in flows in local watercourses but precipitation has continued to be extremely low in November. The groundwater levels are still low and now, when temperatures are below the freezing mark, snow accumulates on the ground and there will be very little ground water recharge until spring,” explained Kawartha Conservation Hydrologist Iryna Shulyarenko.
Kawartha Conservation and the Kawartha Water Response Team partners are encouraging residents and businesses to practice water conservation during the holidays to help alleviate the burden on the already-depleted ground water supplies.
“We are hearing from a number of rural residents about wells running dry across the watershed,” said Stewardship Coordinator Holly Shipclark. “In early December we held a Water Well Workshop in Blackstock that was attended by more than 65 people. We will also be holding a one-day workshop for members of the agricultural community on January 31 in Fenelon Falls.”
The Ontario Low Water Response Program was developed by the Province to help coordinate and support local response in the event of a prolonged period of low stream flows or precipitation. There are three levels of Low Water Conditions with Level I being the least severe and Level III being the most severe.
To learn more about Ontario’s Low Water Response program or to learn how you can help reduce water residential or business water usage visits our website at www.kawarthaconservation.com/watershed/low-water.