Friends of the Tay Watershed Association
January 31, 2006
To Members and Friends of Friends of the Tay Watershed:
The Board of Directors for the ‘Friends’ is pleased to provide our first newsletter for 2006 – with a brief review of some of our recent and planned activities.
This year promises to be another very active year for our watershed. Several major projects will be carried forward from last year – such as the Lake Management Planning program and the follow up to the Tay Watershed Management Plan. A number of new activities are planned in cooperation with other local associations and municipalities – including speaker presentations on topics of local interest (see below under ‘Upcoming Events’) and a wetland demonstration site with Tay Valley Township.
There will also be important changes in Ontario generally, with the expected passage in the Legislature of the Clean Water Act, in late spring (more information at the end of the newsletter), which complements other water protection legislation, passed in recent years. Your association has been deeply involved, during this time, in the consultations leading up to these.
Your Board of Directors for 2006 was elected at the recent AGM as follows: Susan Brandum;
Sulyn Cedar; Orion Clark; David Crowley; Marilyn J. Devolin; Carol Dillon; Jim Humphrey;
Karen Hunt; Aileen Merriam; Jim Peden; Joe Slater; Robert Sneyd; Sarah Rosolen; Colin Stephenson; Christopher Stone; David Taylor.
The Co-Presidents would like to add that our Board provides a level of expertise and representation from the watershed community of which we can be justly proud and wish to take the opportunity to thank them for their commitment. We also thank you, the members, for your continuing support – we welcome your participation and comments on all of our activities.
The title for this year’s AGM was “Tay Watershed Discovery Evening 2005” and a watershed heritage theme was added to the usual water resources theme, which was saluted in several ways. The 16-foot St Lawrence rowing skiff, donated to the FoTW last spring by Nancy Kenyon, was displayed along with information on how these classic boats were used for, amongst other things, rum running on the St Lawrence River during prohibition. The boat’s builder, Jack Walker, long-time Tay resident, attended and was able to relate more stories about boat building on the Tay. In keeping with the heritage theme, Susan Code, Perth historian, provided a fascinating presentation on Tales from the Tay - about the pirates, traitors, duels and corruption – all connected to the Tay. Displays highlighting the them were presented by: the Lanark Camera Club, with the first photographs of a new series on mills on the Tay (see below); the Tay Canal Corridor in the Town of Perth, with their “Tales Along the Tay”; the Perth Museum, with history and photographs; and the Rideau Canal Office, on the upcoming 175th Anniversary. The watershed heritage theme proved to be very popular.
On the water resources side, Brian Stratton, Source Water Protection Project Manager for the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority, spoke about Ontario’s Source Water Protection legislation and what it means for the Tay watershed. Sheanna Tinlin, Program Manager for the Lake Management Planning Program with the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority, spoke about progress on this program for Tay Region lakes.
The exhibition area drew displays from 28 community organizations and government agencies – and over 125 people. A full account of the AGM, the exhibition, and photographs, may be found on the Friends’ website.
For the fourth year, the FoTW has recognized service to the environment with a series of awards. Three awards are offered each year for contribution to the Tay Watershed; contribution to the general environment; and contribution to water resources at the provincial, national or international level. This year, the FoTW award for “Contribution to the Tay Watershed” was presented to Karen Hunt, in recognition of her leadership in the development of the Otty Lake management plan and the joint assistance network of lakes working on plans in the Tay region. The award for “Contribution to the General Environment” was presented to Tay Valley Township for its leadership in protecting the municipality’s environment, with the implementation of flexible “net environmental gain” water setback regulations, a septic re-inspection program, shoreline stewardship education and improved waste management operations. The third award, for “Contribution to Water Resources at the Provincial Level” was presented to the Canadian Environmental Law Association which, with its staff of lawyers, research facilities and website, helps individuals and communities better understand and use environmental laws.
The ‘Clean Water Act’ is the culmination of several years’ development and consultation by the Ontario Government on source water protection, aimed at protecting Ontario’s surface and ground drinking water sources, in municipal water systems and private wells. This Act complements other new water legislation in recent years such as the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Nutrient Management Act. While the tragic events at Walkerton are partially responsible for this increased government attention to water, water regulations in Ontario have been sadly out of date for some time and much of this work is needed to reflect changing needs, conditions and expectations.
Your association has been representing eastern Ontario on a Water Action committee of environmental non-government organizations. In particular, we have taken to the discussions with Ministry policy officials the need for more attention and services for rural and seasonal residents and private wells and the need for greater attention to public participation in and acceptance of the new provisions.
The draft Bill is open for public comment at www.ene.gov.on.ca/envregistry/.htm, on the Environmental Bill of Rights site, at registry number AA05E0001 (deadline - February 3, 2006).
Accompanying this Act, is a new series of regulations that deal more specifically with the objectives of the Clean Water Act – also posted on the EBR site, at registry number RA05E0022. Public comments may be made until February 20, 2006. The FoTW will be submitting comments that reflect our watershed’s interests and needs on both postings and encourage others to review the postings and provide comments.
This program to assist lakes in the Tay region in developing management plans commenced last August, with funding provided by grants from the Trillium Foundation, Community Stewardship Council of Lanark County, and Rideau Lake Environmental Foundation. We are pleased to announce that, in the past month, a grant has also been approved from the TD Friends of the Environment Foundation.
In September, Sheanna Tinlin was appointed Program Manager, working from the Rideau valley Conservation Authority (RVCA) offices – and the first workshop was presented in November, to representatives of lake groups. Otty Lake has been selected as the first association to receive direct assistance in developing their plan.
The program is managed by a steering committee comprised of the FoTW, Otty Lake Association, RVCA, Tay Valley Township, Lanark Stewardship Council and Mississippi Valley Conservation.
As was noted in our last newsletter, the FoTW are cooperating with the Lanark County Camera Club to produce a series of photographs of the old mills and ruins of mills along the Tay River and Canal. The first of these were displayed by the Club at our AGM. Over the coming months, the remaining sites will be photographed, leading to a larger display of the series in Perth next summer.
In our role of stewardship of the watershed, the FoTW review and provide comments on applications to the Ministry of Environment for permits to take water. By Ontario law, all water withdrawals of over 50,00 litres per day, from surface and groundwater sources, require a permit.
An application in the fall of 2005, by the Perth Golf Course (Links O’Tay) requested permission to increase its present permit to withdraw water from the Tay River, from the present 500,000 litres per day (approx) to over 3 million litres per day. The increase was to accommodate the expansion of the golf course from 9 to 18 holes, which was undertaken in 2002.
As with all such applications, this application was posted on the Environmental Bill of Rights registry and comments from the public were invited. The FoTW submitted comments on the application – as did five other local organisations and residents.
On comparing the water amounts in the application to those of other golf courses in the area, it was apparent that the quantity requested was unusually large. Of some concern was the potential cumulative effects of a large water takings so close to Perth. In addition, the FoTW asked the Ministry to consider matters of conservation, sustainability and precaution in an era of changeable weather when making a decision.
In a decision filed January 26, 2006, no permit was issued because “the applicant did not justify the proposed increase in water taking, address issues relating to cumulative effects of the areas water takings or the fair sharing of the resource. Furthermore, the applicant did not consider other sources of water taking or submit best water management practices to be employed at the golf course. Since the Ministry did not have the proper information needed to conclude the technical review of the application the file was closed”. See Registry Number: IA05E1644 at www.ene.gov.on.ca/envregistry/026547ei.htm.
· Rideau Canal Celebrations
The FoTW plan to support the Rideau Canal Office in celebrating the Canal’s 175th Anniversary in 2007.
A number of ideas for events have already been proposed - your suggestions would be welcomed, to the FoTW mailing address or web site.
Upcoming Events – Please Mark Your Calendar
There are many opportunities for keeping informed on watershed-related issues. This is a good time of year to take advantage of the many programs offered to update your watershed information and knowledge. Here are some of the planned events:
Organizational Meeting about Lake Temperatures - Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists
MVFN's Lake Temperature Project will take place over the three days of the August holiday week-end. Come to the organizational meeting to learn about this project and how your association can help.
Date Saturday February 4, 2006
Time 1:30 pm
Place Mississippi Valley Conservation
headquarters, Highway 511 north of Lanark
The Ecology of the Rideau - Presented by Rideau Valley Field Naturalists (with the cooperation of the FoTW)
A talk by Dr. Frances Pick, of the University of Ottawa, and update, on the "State of the Environment" report that she developed for the Rideau Round Table in 2001. Dr. Pick will also be discussing the larger question of who is responsible for caring for our rivers in Canada.
(no charge for members - $5.00 for non-members)
Date Sunday February 5, 2006
Time 2:00 pm
Place Perth Swimming Pool Meeting Room
OMYA Reports on Tay River Water Taking
As a condition of its Permit to Take Water from the Tay River, OMYA reports to the community about its water taking each year. The meeting is always well attended with lots of interesting information..
Date Tuesday February 7, 2006
Time 7:00 pm
Place Glen Tay Public School, Harper Road.
Monitoring in Eastern Ontario - Centre for Sustainable Watersheds
A meeting among eastern Ontario monitoring practitioners to discuss upcoming programs and priorities, potential sharing of equipment and resources, training programs, consensus on protocols, etc.
Date March 7, 2006
Information Sarah Rosolen [[email protected]]
Land Use Planning 101 – A joint event of Ontario Nature and FoTW
What can we do to ensure our land uses and watershed uses maintain environmental integrity? This is a program for citizens who share environmental concerns regarding land use. Topics will include citizen participation in Official Plan reviews, lobbying for creative development, protection of watersheds, etc. (Program details to follow).
Date Saturday April 1, 2006
Place Perth - time and location to be announced
Climate Change – A joint event of the Rideau Valley Field Naturalists and FoTW
Paul Egginton, former Executive Director of the Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Program of Natural Resources Canada – and a local resident – will provide a presentation on climate change and its causes and impacts. He will also present information on methods used to study climate change and discuss potential implications for human society and the natural environment. (No charge for members – Non-members $5.00)
Date Sunday April 2, 2006
Time 2:00 pm
Place Perth Pool meeting room
Tay Watershed Management Plan Implementation Meeting
The watershed-related activities of the FoTW and others are guided by the Tay Watershed Management Plan. The Plan was developed by the watershed community and published in 2002. This year’s meeting is particularly important because it provides a three-year checkup on progress on the Plan. More information about the meeting is forthcoming and invitations to stakeholders will be sent out soon.
Date Friday April 21, 2006
Time 10:00 am-12:00 noon
Place Lanark County Council Chambers, Sunset Blvd., Perth
On behalf of our Board of Directors –
for your ongoing support!