The Friends of the Tay Watershed Newsletter
January 2011 ~ Volume 10, Issue 1
2010 Board of Directors
Friends of the Tay Watershed is a non-profit, charitable association of residents, associations and other organisations interested in the welfare of the Tay watershed, located in eastern Ontario, at the top of the Rideau watershed. We welcome your involvement in any of the Association's activities.To contact us:
P.O. Box 2065, 57 Foster St.
Perth, ON, K7H 3M9
For further information:
Internet address: www.tayriver.org
In this review of our activities for 2010, we see a trend emerging - we are making many of our events more “kid” friendly and our outreach program is focusing in on younger watershed residents. Our collaboration with RBC’s Blue Water fund and Nature Works Learning, introduced water conservation and source protection concepts to two Grade 8 classes in local schools. Likewise, we sponsored transportation to the RVCA’s Children’s Water Festival for two Grade 4 classes. Our participation at the wonderful Stewart Park Festival included our friend the Paddling Puppeteer, who charmed his audience of little ears; he came back again for our Watershed Discovery Day, which since our change of venue and time two years ago, has been attracting more families for a fun-filled day. The Friends also benefited from volunteer help from local high schools-a win-win for all involved. We are never too young(or old!) to start to learn about the wonders of water and our unique human impact and dependence on the water eco-systems surrounding us...
Tay Watershed Times 2nd edition!!!
In April, the second edition of the popular Tay Watershed Times was released. Completely revised with emphasis on the Town of Perth’s impact on the River and the Watershed, and the need to conserve water, the Times was mailed to all households in Perth and distributed at numerous events in the watershed. The publication was made possible through generous funding from the RBC Blue Water Fund, Canadian Environmental Law Association and the Perth Community Foundation and the volunteer contributions of Gillian Scobie, Chris Stone and Carol Dillon. A digital version is available on our website. Please contact us if you would like a paper copy.
The FoTW participation in Maplefest 2010, Saturday, April 24, was once again ably led by Jim Humphrey. Our booth was successful in attracting many inquiries and in distributing a large amount of informational material. Financially, the day was a success - receipts included donations of $57.81 (maple syrup draw), another $60.00 from membership sales and $320.00 from the sale of 16 T-shirts. The booth was successful because of the many who contributed their time and effort not only on the day of Maplefest but in preparing for the event in many, many ways (slideshow available on our website).
Perth Heritage Fair
In May, Board member Carol Dillon represented the Association by participating as a judge at the Perth Heritage Fair. The students’ work was most impressive and draws everyone’s attention to the importance of our community and the importance of conserving it. The FoTW also contributed funding for this event.
Royal Bank’s Blue Water Day
On June 11th, the Friends set up a display in the lobby of the Royal Bank to help celebrate the bank’s Blue Water Day. This was an opportunity to inform bank customers about local water needs and conditions, and to thank the bank for its contribution to the production of the second edition of the Tay Watershed Times tabloid.
Children’s Water Festival
Again this year, the Friends made it possible for two more Grade 4 classes within the watershed to attend the wonderful Eastern Ontario Children’s Water Festival at Foley Mountain. Classes from Queen Elizabeth School in Perth and North Elmsley School in the lower watershed attended. Thank you letters and artwork from participating children showed how much they learned about conserving and protecting water in just one day! (Selections available on our website.)
Each summer, the Friends sponsor a summer student to do environmental work in the Tay watershed through the guidance and direction of RVCA. In 2010, our student, Ashleigh Cleary, assisted with the assessment of six stream sites and six lakes in the Tay watershed. She also assisted in the collection of data in Perth from the Haggart Island Dam to just below the golf course. Results of students’ work are posted on RV’s Watershed Information System (www.rvca.ca)
Accidental slurry release from OMYA Facility in Glen Tay
Late afternoon on June 23rd, residents in the Glen Tay area noticed that the Tay River had turned quite green. The Friends of the Tay started making inquiries to determine the cause. OMYA was contacted, as was the Spills Ontario hotline. The river returned to near normal on 24 June with minor turbidity visible. OMYA provided a news release giving known information at the time; a further review was undertaken which was released on 3 December 2010. The report indicated that the cause of the slurry spill into Rudsdale Creek had been identified and corrected, and that the results of the Ministry of the Environment water testing showed no impact on human health or the environment.
Stewart Park Festival -20th Anniversary
Thanks to the superior organizational skills of Shannon Goltz, the Friend’s booth at the festival was a real crowd pleaser in a great location. Many visitors stopped by to chat, buy memberships or the very popular tee-shirts. The Friends also sponsored the ever-popular Paddling Puppeteer on Saturday July 17th. His free shows near the Children's Tent were a treat for kids of all ages.
Tay River Pathway
The Lanark County Municipal Trails Corporation unveiled its new Tay River Pathway Trail signs on September 8th. This marked the completion of the first phase of the project that will provide an accessible trail behind Lanark Lodge for people with disabilities. Phase 2 which will extend the trail to the Tay River is currently underway. Some members of the FoTW were part of the work parties on September 6th (Labour Day, fittingly enough) and October 31st which cleared the trail and vistas to the Tay River itself. While we usually plant trees along the River, the clearings created give great views of the River that will surely increase appreciation of how beautiful our River is (slideshow available on our website).
Watershed Discovery Day
Once again our popular Watershed Discovery Day was held at the ECOTAY facility; this year the weather cooperated fully and on a glorious September Sunday more than 100 visitors and participants joined to celebrate the Friends 10th anniversary and enjoy a weird-looking cake. Simon Lunn gave a photographic naturalist’s hike through Lanark County, the Kettle Boys were on hand with their various fun activities and Glen the Paddling Puppeteer fascinated our little (and big) Friends with his eco-educational fun displays and performances. Annie Dalton and her team did a superb job in pulling it all together -including arranging for the weather. See the slide show on our website.
Nature Works Learning program
The Friends were successful in receiving funding from the RBC Blue Water program for the delivery of a water awareness program to two grade 8 classes at the Stewart School and St. John's School in the fall of 2010. Students were encouraged to perform a Water Ecoreview for their schools and develop an action plan for water conservation and safety. Feedback from students and teachers was very positive and there are plans to implement the program as ongoing curriculum. Thanks to Patricia Larkin of Nature Works Learning for facilitating these programs on behalf of the Friends of the Tay.
FoTW Takes the Plunge ~ Jan 1, 2011
The Friends of the Tay Watershed salute Graham Beck of the Little Stream Bakery "Ontario's Premier Organic Bakery" in Glen Tay for his commitment to environmentally sustainable business practices and his support for local environmental organizations.
The Friends are greatly indebted to Brian Donaldson, owner of Stor-N-Lock, "Perth's first self storage solution" for providing free storage space for all of the Association materials and displays.
As well, the Friends salute John Gibb-Carsley, principal of Gibb-Carsley Financial Services, for his thorough third party review of our accounts and financial statements each year-end, to give members, donors and grantors confidence in our financial stewardship.
Facebook & T-shirts
The Friends of the Tay took two significant “ moving forward” steps this year. We are now on Facebook. Look us up and become a “friend” on Facebook too. Second, the Association decided that we should identify our members better at the many events we attend. Talented artist and Board member Annie Dalton agreed to design a new logo and T-shirt for the group. Initially, Board members purchased their own shirts to wear, but the T-shirts proved to be so popular, people were asking to buy them off our backs. Thus, we ordered more to sell, and they have been very popular. We don’t make money on the sales, but feel it is a way to get our “brand” more widely distributed.
The "Friendly" Website
Our website www.tayriver.org has become a real anchor for our Association - it is timely, content rich, fun! -and boosts our credibility as a community-based organizations. Kudos to our webmaster supreme, Colin Stephenson!
One aim of the Friends of the Tay is to encourage study and research in the Tay watershed so that decisions that affect the watershed can be fact-based. Currently, the Source Water Protection program is gathering much of this needed information.
In 2010, the Mississippi-Rideau Source Protection Committee completed an exhaustive Assessment Report which includes details on watershed characteristics, water budgets, and significant threats to the water. The Assessment Report confirms that most of the groundwater in the Tay watershed area is highly vulnerable because of fractured bedrock and a thin soil cover. Raw water from the Tay exceeds provincial guidelines for E.coli and total coliforms, but this is not considered to be an issue because the Perth water treatment plant makes the water safe to drink.
What these findings do mean is that as a community we need to continue to be vigilant in protecting our local surface and ground water. Beginning in January 2011, the Source Protection Committee begins the next phase of its work – developing policies and plans to provide this protection. Once again, community input is sought for plan development. Watch for public meetings and other opportunities to participate in planning for your watershed. For more information, see www.mrsourcewater.ca
Stewardship and Advocacy Consultations
As part of its stewardship and advocacy mandate, the Friends monitor and provide input into issues that affect the Tay River and its watershed. In 2010, the Association continued to provide comments to the Town of Perth as regards the Wilson Street project and the inclusion of storm water treatment measures. We were gratified to have Perth Council confirm that these measures would be implemented. Further, to better improve communications between the Town and the Association, we welcomed Mayor John Fenik as a Board member. We continue to monitor the issue of the Town’s Water Treatment Plant effluent. Perth remains the only municipality in Eastern Ontario to flush its treatment plant effluent, untreated into a watercourse, in this case, the Tay River.
We were also active in providing comments to Tay Valley Township and Lockwood Development concerning the subdivision of the Miller property at Glen Tay. Our main concern is the density of the development and the related capacities of groundwater wells and the ability of the soil overburden to absorb septic system effluent.
As you can see, the Friends have had a very active year. All these events and initiatives are driven entirely by volunteer contributions from our Board, our members and our friends, who have contributed thousands of volunteer hours to make these things happen. We don’t have enough space to list all the people, but they know who they are and we are truly appreciative of their actions to make our watershed and communities healthier. To a person, if you talk to them about their experience, they will tell you about how much fun they had in making their contribution and how satisfying that contribution can be. So check out our activities list for this year, choose something that interests you, roll up your sleeves and join in.
Memberships and Donations
Please give some thought as well to adding a donation to help finance our educational program for 2011. As funding for events becomes more difficult, we are relying more and more on the generosity of our donors to fund our activities. Fortunately, we have some very generous donors who care about the work we do and we would love to expand the list.
We will provide tax receipts for all donations of $10 or more. You may also donate on-line by going to our secure on-line donation facility at Canada Helps ~ see www.tayriver.org/documents/donations.php.
Plans for 2011
Plans for 2011 include the following events so far:
Mark your calendar
The Last Word
If you have any comments, questions or suggestions on anything in this newsletter, or on anything we do, or do not do but you think we should, we would love to hear from you. The stronger the voices from our watershed community, the stronger our Association. You can make your voices heard by:
P.O. Box 2065
57 Foster Street, Perth, ON