CAMBRAY, ON – February 27, 2017 – Homeowners, residents and business owners will have an opportunity to hear from and talk with experts during a FREE Water Well Workshop on March 8 at the Fenelon Township Community Centre (Cambray).
The Managing Your Well During Drought workshop will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Fenelon Township Community Centre (Cambray) and will cover a number of topics of interest to the local community.
“We heard from a number of concerned residents and business owners about their wells as the region experienced a prolonged period of below average precipitation throughout much of 2016,” explained Stewardship Outreach Technician Greg Bunker. “As a result we are bringing together staff and experts to help address questions and provide valuable information in an open forum.”
Eades Well Drilling Well Technician Greg Bullock will join Kawartha Conservation Stewardship Coordinator Holly Shipclark for the evening’s workshop.
Ms. Shipclark will provide an up to date introduction about current watershed conditions and the concerns that have arisen as a result, while Mr. Bullock will help well owners better understand their well and how to maintain it.
Ward 4 Councillor Andrew Veale said the free workshop would be a great opportunity for local residents to hear about best practices for managing their wells during dry conditions.
“This is a great opportunity for area residents that are new to having a well, as well as those who have always had a well, to hear about best practices for managing there wells during periods of low precipitation,” Coun. Veale said.
This will be the second Water Well Workshop with more than 60 people attending a similar workshop in Blackstock in December.
“To further help area residents with the challenges of low water, we will also be providing a series of workshops in Blackstock and in Lindsay on water harvesting,” explained Mr. Bunker. “We plan to roll those workshops out at the end of March and into April and will be sharing details regarding where and when as we get closer.”
If you have questions or concerns about your well, you are encouraged to attend the Free Water Well Workshop on March 8 from 7 to 9 p.m.
FEBRUARY 10, 2017 – A collaboration between the City of Kawartha Lakes, Kawartha Region Conservation Authority, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, local community groups and a local contractor will result in an $18,000 project at Garnet Graham Park in Fenelon Falls.
The Garnet Graham Park shoreline enhancement project will minimize the risk of injury for swimmers, stabilize the shoreline using natural techniques and enhance fish habitat in Cameron Lake while maintaining a safe and accessible park and beach area with a natural shoreline setting.
“One of the most visual parts of the project will involve removing the three concrete piers that stretch into the water,” explained Kawartha Lakes Manager of Parks and Recreation Jenn Johnson. “Removing the piers will reduce what has become an attractive waterfowl congregation area, while reducing the risk of swimming injury from broken or slippery concrete.”
Kawartha Conservation aquatic biologist Brett Tregunno noted removing the concrete piers while stabilizing the shoreline will also improve overall water quality in the lake.
“Improving shoreline stability through planting native shrubs and plants will help the long-term stability of the shoreline while reducing soil erosion,” said Mr. Tregunno. “The strategic placement of natural near shore in-water structures will also enhance fish habitat,” Mr. Tregunno added.
Kawartha Lakes Ward 6 Councillor Doug Elmslie echoed the Ms. Johnson’s remarks.
“The removal of the sinking concrete will remove a trip and fall hazard from this location,” said Coun. Elmslie. “It will also remove a point of congregation for the Canada Geese, which will in turn improve water quality and result in less water quality postings by the Health Unit.”
Coun. Elmslie said there is currently a group of volunteers who clean Garnet Graham Park of geese feces during summer months, but the biggest challenge has been cleaning the three cement piers.
“This project will make the entire park area look much nicer and cleaner,” he added.
As part of the project, shrubs will be planted along the shoreline to increase soil stability while maintaining open views of Cameron Lake. Gravel and stone, which makes up the base of the concrete pillars, will also be re-used, where possible, in the water near the shore in strategic locations to enhance fish habitat.
“We’re excited to work with these group of partners to deliver what we all agree will be an important and beneficial enhancement project for the park,” said Ms. Johnson.
Work on the project is expected to begin in the next couple of weeks with the removal of the concrete piers while the lake is frozen with the additional shoreline enhancement measures being implemented later this spring.
January 23, 2017 – A new interactive drought map for the Kawartha Conservation watershed will allow residents and businesses to report areas that are experiencing well issues across the region.
The new tool is part of the Kawartha Water Response Team’s ongoing efforts to educate and inform watershed residents and businesses about low water conditions.
Available under ‘Highlights’ on the Kawartha Conservation website homepage (www.kawarthaconservation.com), the public is able to select a general area where their well is located, as well as provide comments, however no personal information is required.
“The interactive mapping tool allows residents and businesses to pinpoint where their wells are located and provide details on the well and problems they are experiencing,” explained Kawartha Conservation hydrologist Iryna Shulyarenko. “The information input both locally, and across the broader region, will provide Conservation Authority staff with greater detail as to what is happening with ground water levels within various locations in our watershed.
The interactive map is already available and has been used by residents and businesses in the Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority and Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority watersheds in eastern Ontario.
“This is a great continuation of the interactive mapping which helps provide valuable information about where well issues are occurring across multiple Conservation Authority regions,” said Ms. Iryna Shulyarenko.
Residents and businesses on wells are able to visit the Kawartha Conservation website and select ‘Drought Map’ on the left hand side of the homepage. Once on the mapping tool, users can scroll to different geographic areas and zoom in and out close to their specific location.
Once the user has zoomed to the appropriate area, they can select the ‘User Input’ point from the Smart Editor, click in the desired map area, and add comments before saving.
December 28, 2016 – Farmers and members of the agricultural community are being encouraged to attend a one-day Agricultural Water Workshop at the Fenelon Falls Community Centre on Tuesday, January 31.
Through much of 2016 the entire Kawartha watershed suffered one of the worst drought periods in recent years impacting a number of farmers and shallow-well users.
The day-long event is being co-hosted by the City of Kawartha Lakes, Kawartha Conservation, Farm & Food Care and the Ontario Ministry Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.
“This workshop is critical for members of the agricultural community who want to better understand the water cycle, water taking options, groundwater and well considerations in dry periods, alternative watering systems and considerations for retaining surface water,” said Kelly Maloney, Agriculture Development Officer with the City of Kawartha Lakes.
The event is scheduled to run from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and includes a number of hot topics including observations about low water conditions during 2016 and the resulting local impacts, understanding how much water you have (through both surface water and wells), the permit to take water process, considerations before digging a pond on your property, what to do if/when your well has run dry, and effective management of available water.
Kawartha Conservation Hydrologist Iryna Shulyarenko stressed the challenging conditions area farmers and landowners experienced during 2016.
“Recorded three month precipitation from August to November was below the average precipitation for this period throughout the watershed,” Ms. Shulyarenko explained. “Our flow indicators for October show that with the exception of Blackstock Creek, all of the watershed’s monitoring locations reported flows that are significantly lower than the long-term minimum monthly summer flow.”
Holly Shipclark, Stewardship Coordinator at Kawartha Conservation said presentations and question and answer sessions throughout the day by Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs staff, along with staff from the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, Ontario Soil & Crop Improvement Association and Kawartha Conservation will provide much-needed information for farmers and land owners across the region.
“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 705-324-9411 Ext. 1208
December 19, 2016 – Kawartha Conservation has released the second draft of the Four Mile Lake Plan for public comment.
The first draft of the plan was released for public comment in August and included open houses in Coboconk and Burnt River.
“Draft two of the Plan has taken into consideration all of the feedback we received throughout the initial public consultation process,” explained Aquatic Biologist Brett Tregunno. “We have undertaken a thorough consideration of all comments received and have made significant changes to the revised Plan that reflect the desires and concerns expressed by the public.”
During the first round of public input, Kawartha Conservation staff heard specifically about the need to remove a number of strategic planning elements and reinforce the current special policies in the official plan. Staff have also responded to the need to add aquatic plant control recommendations, more invasive species control and septic system maintenance recommendations.
The purpose of Plan is to summarize the current state of the lake, objectives for maintaining excellent water quality, recreational enjoyment, and monitoring, among others, and a suite of recommendations for all lake stakeholders to consider undertaking to ensure a healthy lake is maintained.
“We are in the final stages of the Four Mile Lake Plan,” said Mr. Tregunno. “This process began four years ago in 2012 and we appreciate everyone who has been involved and taken the time to share their thoughts and views with us throughout this process. We are proud of this document and this Plan and we look forward to hearing from the public regarding the revised Plan.”
Posted on the website at www.KawarthaConservation.com along with the second draft will be an accompanying publication to the Plan entitled the Four Mile Lake Watershed Characterization Report; this provides more detailed technical information on several aspects of the Lake including: Land Use, Socio-economics, Water Quality, Water Quantity, Aquatic Resources, and Terrestrial Natural Heritage.
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.
November 22, 2016 – Drought conditions are continuing across the Kawartha Conservation watershed with significantly-reduced precipitation in October and through the first half of November.
On Monday, November 21, the Kawartha Water Response Team continued the Level II low water condition declaration for the majority of the watershed with a Level III low water condition declaration for the Township of Scugog.
“Recorded three month precipitation from August to October was below the average precipitation for this period throughout the watershed,” explained Kawartha Conservation Hydrologist Iryna Shulyarenko. “Our flow indicators for October show that with the exception of Blackstock Creek, all of the watershed’s monitoring locations reported flows that are significantly lower than the long-term minimum monthly summer flow.”
Making matters worse, for the first 18 days of November, Port Perry had received only 12.6 percent of the average November precipitation while Indian Point Provincial Park had registered just about 7 percent.
“On average, Port Perry receives 92mm of precipitation in November and Indian Point receives 109.3mm of precipitation,” said Ms. Shulyarenko. “For the first 18 days of November only 12.6mm was recorded by the Port Perry weather monitoring station and only 7.6mm was recorded at Indian Point Provincial Park.”
Kawartha Water Response Team members are hoping for significant precipitation before the ground freezes to help replenish the ground water supply. Unfortunately, officials with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry note their weather models show above average temperatures and below average precipitation into December before temperatures drop to below seasonal averages and the ground freezes.
“We are continuing to ask residents and businesses to voluntarily reduce their water consumption,” said Ms. Shulyarenko. “Water is a shared resource and every little bit of water conservation will help make a difference for you and your neighbour. This is especially important for residents with shallow wells as ongoing conservation practices can make a significant difference after the ground freezes and aquifer recharge will be greatly reduced.”
In response to the continued negative impact of the low water conditions on ground water supplies, the Kawartha Conservation Water Response Team is presenting free water well workshops with a focus on managing your well to maintain a reliable source of high quality water for domestic use.
“On Monday, December 5 we will be hosting a workshop at the Blackstock Recreation Complex from 7 to 9 p.m.,” said Kawartha Conservation Stewardship Technician Mackenzie Kirkham. “The two-hour session will include a talk with Greg Bullock of Eades Well Drilling who will be discussing how to conduct a water well self-assessment, among other things.” Kawartha Conservation staff will explain outdoor water conservation techniques in response to the current low water conditions.”
Everyone is invited and encouraged to attend the free water well workshop on December 5. Additional water well workshops will be announced early in the New Year.
Kawartha Conservation, in partnership with the City of Kawartha Lakes is undertaking a flood plain mapping project for the Omemee East Tributary.
Together, we are hosting an information session for property owners and interested members of the public to inform you about the study findings.
The public information session is being held on Thursday, November 10 from 5-7 pm with a presentation starting at 6 pm at Coronation Hall in Omemee.