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March 22, 2018 – The second Kawartha Conservation Watershed Report Card has revealed there is little change in the average quality of the watershed’s water, forest natural resources and wetlands compared with the first report card in 2013.

The 2018 report card, released today, reveals while approximately 20 percent of the watersheds have shown improvement, the majority remain consistent with the first report, indicating some watersheds are continuing to experience stressed conditions in the water and forest natural resources.

“Overall, there has been improvement to about 20 percent of the sub watersheds in our jurisdiction, with the remaining sub watersheds remaining unchanged from five years ago,” said Kawartha Conservation CAO Mark Majchrowski. “Looking closely at the data reveals that the northern portions of the watershed have the best water quality and forest cover, while sub watersheds more central and south – closer to urbanization and development – have greater challenges.”

The 2018 Watershed Report Card average grade for water quality in the Kawartha watershed is C or Fair. Forest cover remained the same as in 2013, receiving an average grade of C while Wetland cover also remained the same as 2013, receiving an average grade of A across the entire jurisdiction.

Groundwater remained unchanged from 2013, receiving an average grade of B across all the wells that are monitored in the Kawartha watershed.

“The good news for our watershed and our member municipalities is that our lakes, rivers, streams, forests and wetlands have not experienced significant decline since the first report card in 2013. Our programs and stewardship efforts have been effective in maintaining the quality of our watershed,” said Mr. Majchrowski. “It is clear however, we need to do more to begin improving the overall quality of our watershed as we work to address with the impacts of urbanization and climate change.”

Using a variety of methods, including provincial monitoring networks, Kawartha Conservation monitors and reports on four resource categories: surface water quality, forest conditions, wetlands and groundwater quality.
Conservation Authorities across the Province work in many local, provincial and federal partnerships with governments, other agencies, landowners and residents to plan and deliver watershed management programs that strive to keep Ontario’s watersheds healthy.

You can access your own report card and find more information about the watershed report cards at As well, a story map has been developed to show more detailed information about conditions across the province.

Published in Media Releases

March 9, 2018 – With March Break just around the corner, Kawartha Conservation is reminding residents of dangers that can exist near streams, rivers, ponds and lakes around this time of year and urges people to keep family and pets away from any water’s edge.

Spring is quickly approaching and with warmer temperatures, people look forward to getting outdoors.  Warmer temperatures, however, also usually bring rain, melting snow and shifting ice which can contribute to higher, faster flowing water in watercourses.

Although Kawartha Conservation’s watershed received a typical amount of snow this past winter, the warmer temperatures experienced through February has resulted in an early snowmelt.  Notwithstanding, the ground within Kawartha Conservation’s watershed remains saturated in many places and in periods of intense rain, there could be a higher amount of runoff in a much shorter interval than usual.  In addition, slippery and unstable streambanks and extremely cold water temperatures can also lead to very hazardous conditions close to any body of water.

Please keep family members and pets safely away from any water’s edge.

For more information, contact your local Conservation Authority.

•    Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority    (905) 895-1281
•    Central Lake Ontario Conservation Authority   (905) 579-0411
•    Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority       (905) 885-8173
•    Otonabee Region Conservation Authority        (705) 745-5791

Published in Media Releases

July 16, 2017 – Have you been thinking about adding native plants and pollinators to your property? The Kawartha Conservation 2017 Native Plant Distribution Program is a great way to purchase low-cost native plants for a variety of landscape, garden and shoreline projects within the Kawartha watershed.

“Native plants are a beautiful addition to your property while providing habitat for local wildlife and pollinators and acting as a filter for rainwater runoff,” explained Stewardship Coordinator Holly Shipclark.

Native plant root systems take hold easily, grow well, and adapt to changing conditions. As they mature, they build a complex web of roots within the soil, offering greater stability and erosion protection.

Through Kawartha Conservation’s Native Plant Distribution Program, land owners can enhance their property with native plants in a number of low-cost projects.

“The Native Plant Distribution Program provides native plants to community members in the Kawartha Watershed for the purposes of shoreline re-naturalization, habitat creation, erosion control, the establishment of rain gardens, and low-maintenance property beautification,” said Ms. Shipclark.

Shoreline property owners may also be eligible to receive $50 worth of native plants and shrubs through Kawartha Conservation for use in shoreline related projects, while quantities last.  In order to access this opportunity, property owners need to contact a Kawartha Conservation Stewardship Technician to set up a site visit where staff will assist in the development of a site-specific, project plan for the planting.

To see the wild flowers, shrubs, grasses and sedges available for order, visit or for more information call 705.328.2271 Ext 242 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Orders for the 2017 Native Plant Distribution Program close on Monday, September 4 with pick-up scheduled for Saturday, September 9 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Published in Shoreline


Kawartha Conservation is warning all residents to stay away from all water bodies, as well as water structures such as bridges, culverts, and dams. Children should be warned of dangerous conditions and caregivers should maintain a close watch on children who are outside.

DATE:    April 6, 2017       
TIME:    1:00 pm               

Message sent on the basis of information received from:
•    Kawartha Conservation Flood Forecasting Network
•    Environment Canada
•    Ministry of Natural Resources - Surface Water Monitoring Centre
•    Trent-Severn Waterway
Another intense low-pressure system is tracking throughout southern Ontario, bringing rain, heavy at times. Rain is expected to continue all day with total rainfall amounts of 25 to 35 mm.

Water levels and flows in local watercourses within Kawartha Conservation watershed are elevated in response to precipitation received on Tuesday. As the soil is saturated, forecast rain will produce additional runoff that will further increase water levels and flows in local rivers and streams. While no major flooding is anticipated at this time within the Kawartha Conservation jurisdiction, water accumulation will be occurring in low-lying areas, road ditches, and areas with poor drainage. Rivers and stream may exceed their bankfull levels. All local watercourses will run fast and high and should be considered extremely dangerous.

Kawartha Conservation is warning all residents to stay away from all water bodies, as well as water structures such as bridges, culverts, and dams. Children should be warned of dangerous conditions and caregivers should maintain a close watch on children who are outside.

As it is reported by the partner agencies, snowpack remnants are still observed at the upper portions of the Burnt and Gull River basins. With warm temperatures, combined runoff from rainfall and snowmelt will be significant. As a result, water levels at the large Kawartha Lakes are expected to increase over the next few days as the lakes receive input from those northern tributaries.  

Trent-Severn Waterway officials are monitoring the current situation closely and are adjusting dam settings throughout the system as per their water level management strategy. Staff from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry monitor water levels of Burnt and Gull Rivers and provide flood messages for those areas.

Municipalities are advised to monitor areas known for minor flooding and be prepared to respond to high water situations as they occur. As local municipalities are first to respond to and assist with flood emergencies, residents are advised to contact their municipalities should a flood threat develop.

Kawartha Conservation is in regular communication with all partners involved in flood forecasting, warning and response such as Trent-Sever Waterway, Ministry of Natural Resources, neighboring Conservation Authorities and member-municipalities. We will continue monitoring local watercourses and notify the public and municipalities within our watershed jurisdiction of any changes.

This Watershed Conditions Statement-Water Safety will be in effect until Monday, April 10, 2017.  If you are aware of or have concerns about flooding, please contact Kawartha Conservation at 705.328.2271 or 705.344.0155 after hours.

Iryna Shulyarenko                                                          Dave Pridham                    

Hydrologist                                                                   Manager, Environmental & Technical Services

Published in Flood Messages

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 or by contacting Kelly Maloney at the City of Kawartha Lakes, 705-324-9411 Ext. 1208.

Published in Low Water Messages

StratPlanBannerInsetImageNovember 25, 2016 – Following months of one-on-one interviews, public input, Board and staff engagement and industry consultations, Kawartha Conservation’s board of directors approved the 2017-2021 Strategic Plan. The document is a key tool in directing the ongoing lake management, science, research, and other environmental work of Kawartha Conservation staff and all of our partners in the face of a changing climate.

“As CAO I am extremely proud of this document and all of the work that has gone into producing it,” said Kawartha Conservation CAO Rob Messervey. “Over the course of 2016 we conducted numerous interviews with municipal leaders, agriculture and lake association representatives, environmental organizations, educational institutions, the development community and many, many others. The 2017-2021 Strategic Plan represents the collective input, thoughts and will of the entire Kawartha Conservation watershed.”

The new updated Strategic Plan focuses on three strategic goals; Protect, Conserve and Restore and Discover, supported by two strategic enablers, Connect and Collaborate and Optimize Service.

“A lot of time and effort has gone into ensuring our strategic goals both align with our customer’s needs and expectations and are also achievable over the life of the plan,” explained Mr. Messervey. “The Plan commits Kawartha Conservation to being a leader in integrated watershed management so the natural environmental thrives and in turn supports sound economic investment and the well-being of people who live, work and play here.”

Tying the Plan together are five key results-oriented promises:

• Provide exemplary customer service.
• Connect people with nature in a way that is accessible, memorable and inspiring.
• Be transparent and accountable and to make difficult decisions with integrity.
• Embrace innovative technologies and creative solutions to manage our nature resources and protect our environment.
• Promote community sustainability and economic investment by supporting environmentally sound planning and development.

“Over the course of the 2017-2021 Strategic Plan, the achievement of commitments in the Plan will be regularly evaluated and reported on,” said Mr. Messervey.  

Heather Stauble, Kawartha Lakes Ward 16 Councillor and Chair of the Kawartha Conservation Board of Directors said the 2017-2021 Strategic Plan continues on the great work already being done within the watershed and positions the Conservation Authority to lead progressive programming, change and pro-active initiatives to address future challenges.

“This new Strategic Plan will help the Board and staff focus on the allocation of human and financial resources in achieving these objectives,” Coun. Stauble noted.

Published in Media Releases

Lindsay, ON – Kawartha Conservation staff have launched an 18-month project to update the Burnt River Flood Plain Mapping, last completed in 1991.
City of Kawartha Lakes and Conservation Authority staff were informed in late October they had received a 50 percent grant from the federal government towards the $133,000 project.
“Once completed the Burnt River Flood Plain Mapping update will allow us to address development in a smart, planned way,” explained Kawartha Lakes Ward 3 Councillor Gord Miller. “Not only will it help protect new people moving into the area, it will also protect the people that are already there.”
Technology has improved dramatically since the flood plain mapping was last completed in 1991.
Kawartha Conservation and City staff both agree, when complete, the updated flood plain mapping will provide better emergency management and planning information.
“This project will serve as an important update to the existing flood plain mapping for the area,” said Mark Majchrowski, Director of Integrated Watershed Management and Science. “Ultimately with newer technology and processes we will be able to refine the Burnt River flood plain mapping with new detailed topographical information.
“Given the historic flooding issues along the Burnt River watershed, this new detailed flood plain mapping will aid in ensuring safe planning and development work and help provide invaluable information moving forward,” he continued.
Coun. Miller added that all of the updated learning and information that is provided through flood plain mapping puts the municipality and partner agencies in a better position to address potential issues.
“With the improved technology, the data from the updated flood plain mapping will allow us to be much more prepared for potential threats,” said Coun. Miller. “We will be able to share the information and data with partner agencies like Trent Severn Waterway and Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry so that we can all address challenges as they arise.”
Work on the updated Burnt River flood plain mapping has already begun with the work expected to wrap up by the end of March 2018.

Published in Media Releases

October 17, 2016 – Despite rain over parts of the Kawartha Conservation watershed on Sunday, significantly reduced precipitation amounts across the majority of the watershed are continuing to concern members of the Kawartha Water Response Team. During a meeting October 12, the members supported maintaining a Level II Low Water Condition for City of Kawartha Lakes, Township of Brock, Municipality of Clarington, Municipality of Trent Lakes and Township of Cavan Monaghan, while the Township of Scugog continues to experience a Level III Low Water Condition.

“We are continuing to be negatively impacted by lower than normal precipitation across the watershed, but in particular in the southern portion affecting Lake Scugog,” explained Kawartha Conservation Hydrologist Iryna Shulyarenko.

Ontario Low Water Response indicators for the Kawartha Conservation watershed continue to demonstrate low precipitation values, but even more concerning is the very low flow in local watercourses and declining levels in the ground water.

“We are monitoring very closely the water flows, which continue to be very low for the majority of the watershed,” said Ms. Shulyarenko. “Groundwater levels, especially in shallow wells, continue declining. Numerous situations where wells are drying up have been reported by the Water Response Team members throughout the watershed. Private water supply wells, especially rural, are most vulnerable".

Recent rains, less heat and reduced evaporation have greened up most lawns and allowed for some vegetation and crops recovery. But it has been insufficient to recharge the ground water reserves or improve surface water flows.

Dave Pridham, Manager of Technical and Stewardship Services for Kawartha Conservation said educating residents across the watershed on water conservation is critical to addressing the current low water conditions and conserving water reserves for water supply and ecosystem.

“There are a number of steps all residents and businesses can take across the entire watershed,” said Mr. Pridham. “Now, when outdoor water consumption is generally reduced, our focus should shift to indoor conservation measures. Taking shorter showers, ensuring you’re doing a full load of laundry or making sure the dishwasher is full, mechanisms that conserve domestic water use – these are all small things that each of us can do to help make a positive impact.”
As well residents are reminded to follow municipal water conservation By-Laws that were imposed in Region of Durham and City of Kawartha Lakes to address Level II and III Low Water conditions. Those who hold a Permit to Take Water from the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change are asked to reduce their water taking by 20% as well.
Kawartha Conservation will continue monitoring watershed conditions on behalf of the Kawartha Water Response Team and provide updates as they become available.
For more information about the OLWR program and an extensive list of water conservation tips, visit or contact Iryna Shulyarenko, Hydrologist, at 705.328.2271 ext. 219 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Published in Media Releases