Category Archives: Environment

Canadian Rivers Day Cleanup

The City Stream Watch program is holding a stream cleanup on Sawmill Creek in Ottawa on Saturday, June 12th to celebrate Canadian Rivers Day and to recognize the many community benefits of our lovely, local creeks and streams.

From its headwaters along Lester Road, Sawmill Creek flows north through the community of South Keys and along the heavily-urbanized Bank Street before joining the Rideau River at Billings Bridge.   As an urban watershed, a lot of garbage tends to collect along the banks and in the stream itself which can harm the important fish and wildlife habitat along the creek.

We will meet at Heron Park and focus on different areas of the creek.   Heron Park is located on Heron Road, east of the Airport Parkway and west of Bank Street.  From Heron Road, turn north onto Clover Street. The community centre and park is on the left side of the street.  We will park and meet there at 9 am.

We encourage you to bring drinking water and sun block.  We will provide as many pairs of chest waders as we can, but please wear rubber boots or sturdy footwear.  The Sawmill Creek Cleanup runs from 9 am to 12 pm.

To register or for more information, please contact Julia Sutton – City Stream Watch Coordinator at citystreamwatch@rvca.ca or 613-692-3571 x 1180.

Thanks to everyone who can spare a couple of hours to celebrate our amazing local rivers and streams.

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Invasive Species Removal – Volunteers Wanted

The City Stream Watch program is looking for volunteers to help remove dog-strangling vine from the shorelines of Green’s Creek and Sawmill Creek. Dog-strangling vine (also called pale swallowwort) is an extremely aggressive plant that is rapidly spreading, eliminating native plants and changing the shoreline ecosystem.

This volunteer opportunity not only provides hands-on removal of the invasive vine, but also provides an excellent opportunity to learn about different invasive species and their effects on our local environment.

All necessary equipment is provided; however we suggest volunteers bring drinking water, snacks, sunscreen and a hat. There is no cost. An on-site lunch is provided thanks to the generosity of the Monterey Inn Resort and Conference Centre. If you would like a sandwich, please be sure to register by email a week in advance before the event. Register by emailing your name and which location you prefer to citystreamwater@rvca.ca. Once registration is complete, a meeting location will be sent out to all participants.

WHEN AND WHERE:

Sawmill Creek at Heron Park
Saturday, August 8th, 2009
9:00am to 2:00pm

Please bring: Drinking water, snacks, sunscreen/hat.

For more information or to register, contact:
Julia Sutton – City Stream Watch Coordinator
citystreamwatch@rvca.ca
613-692-3571 extension 1180
http://www.rvca.ca/programs/streamwatch/index.html

Canadian Rivers Day Cleanup

Sunday, June 14th is Canadian Rivers Day and to help celebrate our local creeks and promote clean water, the City Stream Watch program is holding a stream cleanup on Sawmill Creek in Ottawa.

From its headwaters along Lester Road, Sawmill Creek flows north through the community of South Keys and along the heavily-urbanized Bank Street before eventually joining the Rideau River at Billings Bridge. Because of its urban watershed, a lot of garbage tends to collect along the banks and in the stream itself which can harm the important fish and wildlife habitat along the creek.

The Sawmill Creek Cleanup runs from 9 am to 3 pm, with on-site lunch generously provided by the Monterey Inn Resort and Conference Centre. If you would like a sandwich, please register by Monday, June 8th.

We will meet at Heron Park and wade along the creek from there. Heron Park is off Heron Road east of the Airport Parkway and west of Bank St. From Heron Road, turn north onto Clover Street and the community centre and park is on the left side of the street. We will park and meet there at 9 am. Please bring your own drinking water, sun block, rubber boots, chest waders (if you own them) or sturdy footwear.

To register or for more information, please contact Julia Sutton – City Stream Watch Coordinator at citystreamwatch@rvca.ca or 613-692-3571 x 1180.

Thanks to everyone who can spare a couple of hours to celebrate our amazing local rivers and streams.

Beware the Dog-Strangling Vine!

No, it isn’t going to strangle your dog, but it is dangerous in other ways – it is an invasive species that is choking out other plants and destroying habitat.  It requires many hands to keep it under control, so residents are encouraged to keep their eyes out for it in public greenspace and pull it out.  There will be a group dog-strangling vine removal session along Sawmill Creek in August, but meanwhile check out the Fletcher Wildlife Garden website  http://www.ofnc.ca/fletcher/research/swallowwort/index_e.php to learn more about it and join the fight against it.

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.

Adopt-A-Stream Project

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.

Jane’s Walk

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