What’s New in Sawmill Creek
Stream Barbs Project
The University of Ottawa and the City of Ottawa have partnered to conduct a pilot project on the creek which would use a new technology to make minor adjustments in the flow of water. This is an important project for Sawmill Creek, as the potential for continued damaging erosion is significant and needs to be resolved.
Bidding for the contracts came in much higher than anticipated, so the project is being redefined and it is not anticipated be undertaken until the fall of 2009.
Another project moving forward will be including Sawmill Creek as one of the three creeks selected in Ottawa as pilot projects. Adopting a stream, or creek, is similar to adopting a park or a portion of a highway. The responsibilities are to undertake a minimum of one clean up a year, and since Heron Park keeners, in partnership with the City Stream Watch project, already do at least two cleanups a year, this should be a successful project.
On May 2nd, Sawmill Creek Constructed Wetland Stormwater Management Pond will be one of the sites in the Jane’s Walk program. Jane Jacobs once stated that unless people went out and walked around the neighbourhoods, they could never really know it. In honour of Jane’s many urban accomplishments, walks are held in most major North American cities on this weekend. For full details, check out
http://www.janeswalkottawa.ca/home/home.asp starting in early April.
City Stream Watch
The City Stream Watch project, which Heron Park has played a lead role in for the last six years, continues to provide training for volunteers interested in helping to improve the quality of Ottawa’s many streams. Formal training sessions are coming up soon, and are held at the mouth of Sawmill Creek, which is just east of Bank Street at Billing’s Bridge on the Rideau River. Volunteers will be guided through the stream assessment protocols used for stream monitoring and given brief demonstrations on how to use some of the more technical instruments for mapping. Volunteers can be involved in much more than just the mapping of stream conditions, they can also learn fish sampling through seine netting and electrofishing, riparian planting for shoreline stabilization, and fish and wildlife habitat rehabilitation.
We have identified some potential projects along the creek. Two that will be done in 2009 include one garbage cleanup and an invasive species removal (dog-strangling vine) around the Heron Park area. Dog-strangling vine grows over existing plant vegetation, becomes prolific and eventually smothers their growth. This invasive species has killed off a significant amount of the tree planting that has been undertaken over the past several years, and its spread could become a threat to the gardens of many Heron Park residents. In addition, a study recently done found that due to its resemblance of Common Milkweed, monarch butterflies will lay their eggs on dog-strangling vine as opposed to native milkweed. Because the native milkweed is the only host plant for their larvae, all of the eggs laid on the dog-strangling vine do not survive, putting further pressure on monarch butterfly populations.
Check http://www.rvca.ca/programs/streamwatch/index.html for complete details.
Submitted by Donna Silver