FRIENDS of the TAY WATERSHED Association
The Tay Watershed Times
Newsletter – December 2008 Volume 7, Issue 1
2008 Board of Directors
James K. Bartleman
Mailings - Helen Park
Memberships - Shannon Goltz
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
Best Possible Wishes For 2009
Looking Back on 2008 – Looking Ahead to 2009
This is the eleventh year since the seventy-member community ‘Roundtable’ commenced work on the Tay Watershed Plan – and six years since its publication - and I am pleased to say that the association continues to expand its range of activities. 2008 was one of the Friend’s most active years, with involvement in such new events as the Art of Being Green, Historica, and preparations for the Tay Canal 175th Anniversary 2009.
Meantime, we have continued work on significant projects, such as lake management planning, the ‘Perspectives’ speaking series, the Stakeholders Conference, and our Watershed Evening – and support for Source Water Protection activity.
Next year’s events will be ‘kicked off’ with our AGM, on January 29 - your participation would be welcome (details attached and on our website). In addition to maintaining important activities this coming year, your Board of Directors plans a visioning exercise to review areas in which new or expanded activity could be considered.
The association is fortunate to have experienced and dedicated Directors and volunteers who bring so much to our activities. Thank you for all your work in 2008. We would welcome new volunteers in many aspects of our work – please contact us for more information.
David Taylor, President
Annual General Meeting ~ Jan.29
The 7th Annual General Meeting provided the official transition in FoTW affairs from 2007 to 2008. It provided those members in attendance with a review of all activities undertaken during 2007 and an accounting of the financial results of those activities relative to the budget for the year. It also looked ahead to the activities planned for 2008 and the budget that would be needed to carry out the plan. The meeting culminated with the approval of the financial report for 2007, the budget for 2008, the election of the Board slate for 2008 and the discussion of selected watershed issues.
Ducks Unlimited Perspective on Water ~ Feb.13
The second in the Perspectives on Water series was held on February 13th featuring Jamie Fortune, DUC’s Director of Operations for the Eastern Region of Canada. DUC was selected to participate in this series because they have the largest number of Permits to Take Water in the Tay Watershed and because of their very impressive work to preserve wetlands and species dependent on those wetlands, including areas within the watershed. Jamie traced the history of his organization and gave a compelling account of the need for wetland protection and the role of organizations like the Friends of the Tay Watershed. The Perspective on Water series was launched at the 2007 Watershed Discovery Evening, with an examination of the First Nation’s perspective on water by Paula Sherman, Co-chief of the Ardoch Algonquin First Nation.
Preparations for the Tay Canal 175th Anniversary ~ March 25
In 2008, the Friends cooperated with the Perth Historical Society and the Town of Perth in hosting a public meeting to assess interest in fielding a celebration of this 175th anniversary. Over 20 organisations and residents attended and formed a Steering Committee comprising the Town, Chamber of Commerce, Museum, Parks Canada, BIA, Lanark County Tourism, Historical Society, FoTW, and several residents. Organisation is well underway to field a celebration that will include several events during 2009, including a Tay Canal Week (July 4-12), paddler and boat visits, concerts, exhibitions. The FoTW developed an anniversary website for tracking and promoting these events – see www.tayriver.org/tay175.
Historica ~ April 23
This year, for the first time, the ‘Friends’ became a sponsor of the Perth Historica Fair, to promote awareness of the significant role that the Tay Canal and Tay River have played in this area’s history – as well as its economy and recreation. Specifically, the association funded a prize for the project that best described its history, which was won by David Tysick, Grade Eight student at Glen Tay School. Special mention was made of the ‘Sucker Lake Train Wreck’ display by Mitchell Crain, in Grade Seven at Glen Tay School. FoTW also sponsored a rope-making workshop in cooperation with the ‘Kettle Boys’, at Perth Museum, and mounted a display table at the exhibition.
Maplefest ~ April 26
Once again, FOTW participated in Maplefest. Our display this year included the award-winning display from Historica (see Historica notice in this newsletter). As well, we made a particular point of providing watershed information of particular focus to children and young families. This was well received. As a result of a special fundraiser at the FoTW display, (delicious home-made bread baked by Frank Roy) FoTW was able to donate new "watershed" books to the Perth and District Union Public Library.
Meeting of Stakeholders in the Tay Watershed Plan ~ May 6
Since the publication of the Tay Watershed Plan in 2002, the FoTW and RVCA have organized a biennial half-day conference of organisations that have an interest in the watershed’s well-being. This event reviews the status of the watershed and of current or planned activities required to address its needs. This year, 33 representatives of 17 community and government organisations met at Lanark County’s Council Chambers. The delegates considered that the watershed remains generally in good health, and noted the considerable work that many organisations have been contributing to ensuring this, the lake management plan movement, the advent of the Source Water Protection Program, continuing research into, for example groundwater, and community support for such challenges as mining exploration and the Mining Act. Click here for more details.
Kayak Dock Launch – May 20
(Move cursor over any image for a closer look.)
Although the Tay River and Canal at Perth offer great kayaking opportunities, launching from the boat dock in Perth Basin is a challenge because of its height. With the support of the Town of Perth, and funding from Valley Heartland, FoTW volunteers designed and built a floating dock for kayakers, which has been installed adjacent to the boat dock. Thanks to Mel Dillon, Frank Roy, and David Taylor, and David Martin of Adventure Agent. Last Duel Park boat launch is also a practical departure point – and, as at the Basin, there is no charge for canoeists and kayakers. Click here for more information and pictures.
Art of Being Green Festival – July 12–13
The ‘Friends’ participated actively in the weekend-long Art of Being Green Festival in Lanark, which drew approximately 7,000 visitors. This festival has developed a superb environmental reputation, bringing together an eclectic mix of organizations and individuals who provide green alternatives for people choosing to live an environmentally sensitive lifestyle. We entered the festival with a wetlands preservation theme this year, including lots of materials to show the benefits of wetlands to the ecosystem and wetlands critters in bottles to be examined. We also had a wetlands model, with interactive features which allowed people to make it rain to see the water retention value of wetlands and then to see what happens when wetlands are removed. This model turned out to be a hit among kids of all ages. Click for more.
Maude Barlow’s Perspective on Water – Sept. 24
We were very excited when Maude Barlow agreed to come to Perth to give her unique perspective on water, for the third event in the 'Perspectives' speaking series. MC Chris Stone rather presciently introduced Maude not only as Canada’s leading advocate for water, but also one of world’s leading advocates. Less than a month later, she was appointed as the first Senior Advisor on water issues by Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann, President of the United Nations. Maude provided a very passionate presentation on the need for water advocacy, based on her conviction that water is a “human right as basic as the air we breathe”. The audience in the PDCI Mason Auditorium was treated to vintage Barlow and none were disappointed. The evening also featured a book signing event for Maude’s latest book, ‘Blue Covenant’ and the lugubrious melodies of Joel Leblanc and his water music. More.
Tay Canal Cleanup and Paddle – Sept. 27
On Saturday, September 27, the FoTW and Lanark Stewardship Council cooperated in organising a paddle down the Tay Canal and a Canal cleanup, from Last Duel Park in Perth to Beveridges Locks in Drummond North Elmsley Township. This event looked forward to the Tay Canal’s 175th Anniversary in 2009, and was part of the annual Canada-wide Shoreline Cleanup, delivered by the TD Bank and the Vancouver Aquarium. Twenty enthusiastic folks from several eastern Ontario locations paddled 16 canoes and kayaks down the ten kilometre long canal, picking up, as they went along, a range of plastic, paper and other garbage that had found a way into this usually pristine waterway. Five trash bags were filled - with pop cans, plastic bags, beverage bottles, and such out of place materials as vinyl siding and a propane tank. Click for more.
2008 Watershed Discovery Evening ~ Nov. 4
The 2008 edition of our Watershed Evening, held again at the Perth Legion, was as popular as ever, attracting an audience of about 90 and an exhibition area of 30 displays. In line with the Tay Canal 175th Anniversary theme, our keynote speaker was Gordon Giffin, Superintendent of the Rideau Canal Office. In his presentation, Mr. Giffin reviewed the impact of the Rideau system’s World Heritage designation and its 175th anniversary in 2007 – and action that might be considered to follow them up. This year the Friend’s environmental awards were presented to: Parks Canada; Rideau Valley Field Naturalists; and Art of Being Green Festival. An antique auction provided a fund for FoTW projects to be undertaken in 2009. Thank you, for the antique donations, to Rideau Antiques, The Merchant of Herriot Antiques, Otter Creek Antiques, Antiques & Things, and to David Crowley, Doug & Nancy James, Chris Stone, and Janet & David Taylor. Thanks also to our evening sponsors: Rideau Valley Conservation Authority; Lanark Stewardship Council; Town of Perth; and Ministry of Natural Resources. More.
The annual Friends of the Tay Watershed Environmental Awards were presented at Watershed Discovery Evening. This year the winners were as follows:
Lake Management Planning Program
In 2005 FoTW collaborated with the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority, Otty Lake Association, Community Stewardship Council of Lanark County and Tay Valley Township to establish the Lake Management Planning Program to provide information and guidance to lake groups in Tay Valley Township and the Tay Watershed interested in developing lake plans. The majority of funding was provided through a three year grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation along with funds from TD Friends of the Environment, Community Stewardship Council of Lanark County and the Rideau Lakes Environmental Foundation. Lake planning information packages, workshops and other resources were created. Three lake groups received customized lake planning assistance (Otty, Pike and Christie) and many other local lake associations received lake planning guidance and support. Although the funding for this very successful Program has come to an end, there is a strong consensus that this important support for the protection of the health of local lakes and their watersheds should continue. A number of local organizations are currently discussing the possibilities. More
Source Water Protection
One of the key features of Ontario's new Clean Water Act is the provision for communities to have input into decisions affecting local water. FoTW Board member Carol Dillon was appointed to our regional Mississippi-Rideau committee to represent environmental interests. Thus, the Tay watershed is well represented in this new approach to water management. Throughout 2008, the source protection committee met monthly to provide community input into water decisions. Much work was done on developing the Terms of Reference which will guide subsequent technical studies and reports over the next few years. Public consultation meetings were held throughout the region and provided an opportunity for community members to become better acquainted with the source water program and to make their ideas and concerns known. One of the meetings was held in Perth and was one of the best attended. This demonstrates that interest in and concern for water issues is alive and well in the Tay watershed.
Submission of Papers
As part of its mandate, the FoTW monitors and provides input into issues that affect the Tay watershed. In 2008, your association provided comments to the provincial government on two specific issues. In commenting on the draft Terms of Reference for local source water protection, the FoTW suggested that the Clean Water Act should include protection of drinking water from private wells as well as municipal systems, and that technical studies should value and capture local knowledge and aboriginal traditional knowledge as they pertain to local water. In October, we provided comments to the government on ‘Modernizing Ontario's Mining Act’. In that submission, we drew attention to the symbiotic relationship between geology and water and the need for a modernized Mining Act for better water protection. In response to many queries about private and public boat launches in the Tay watershed, we also developed a FoTW policy on boat launches. This may be viewed on the FoTW website.
In 2008, the FoTW distributed, to all Tay watershed schools, a package of classroom teaching materials developed by Conservation Ontario. The package, which includes two excellent DVD's– on “Watersheds” and “Conservation Authorities”, plus the Source Water Protection Primer – provides an excellent base of information on the sector. More copies are available.
To encourage awareness of Tay watershed paddling opportunities, the FoTW have developed a "Canoe the Tay" page on our website. Incorporating contemporary and historical tours and comments, and links to many other pertinent materials, the site offers a comprehensive source for both serious and leisurely paddlers. Paddlers are invited to submit their touring experiences in the watershed at www.tayriver.org/contact.php.
It is not possible to thank all who provide input to the association’s events. However, the Board wishes to recognise several who have consistently come forward throughout the year - in particular, Helen Park, who has handled our mailings for several years, and Mel Dillon, Frank Roy and Kevin Bowes. If you would like to support our work by volunteering some of your time and talents, please contact us.
Mark your calendar for the AGM:
Our Annual General Meeting – Thursday, January 29, 2009 at 3:00pm ~ Dufferin Square Boardroom Unit #202, 105 Dufferin Street, Perth. All are welcome to come and join us for coffee and to participate in the review of activities and financial results ~ (see attached notice). Other events will be posted at www.tayriver.org/events.php .
Memberships and Donations
Now is the best time to renew your membership for 2009, if you have not already done so at one of our events in the fall. The Association counts on membership revenues to keep you informed on our activities and to cover some of the other operational expenditures. So please take a minute to fill in the attached membership form and mail it in to us at P.O. Box 2065, 57 Foster St., Perth, ON, K7H 3M9. Please give some thought as well to adding a donation to help finance our educational program for 2008. We will provide tax receipts for all donations of $10 or more. You may also donate on-line by going to www.tayriver.org/documents/donations.htm.