The Friends of the Tay Watershed Newsletter
January 2010 ~ Volume 9, Issue 1
2009 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
Looking Back on 2009 and Ahead to 2010
This year was quite a different one for the 'Friends'. Our founding President, David Taylor, stepped down from the role he has held for the past 8 years, although he has remained on the Board as Past-President. In addition, a number of former Board members departed from the Board, although not from our hearts. These members, including David Crowley, Barbara King, Andrea Klymko, Gordon Munroe, Lynn Preston and Joe Slater, have been sorely missed. Fortunately the 'Friends' were able to attract some talented newcomers to the Board, including Taro Alps, Debra Bellevue, John Gittens, Shannon Goltz and Gillian Scobie.
With the big change in the composition of the Board of Directors, we started off the year with a 'getting to know you' coffee party. This was followed up by a Visioning session, facilitated by Bob Leach on a volunteer basis. The primary objectives were to forge a consensus on leadership and the major activities for the year. With respect to leadership, we decided not to attempt to fill the massive shoes of our former President, David Taylor, but to rotate the role of Chair of the Board among Christopher Stone, Colin Stephenson and Carol Dillon over the following 12 months. An emphasis was also placed on attempting to share the responsibility for events and projects among as many directors as possible so that no one person would have to carry such as big load.
The year 2009 was an eventful one as described in the 'Year in Review" section of this newsletter. There were several highlights, included two 'hands-dirty' projects (the shore-line naturalization project in Last Duel Park and the Freshwater, Mussel project), the move of the annual Watershed Discovery event to an afternoon format in the gorgeous EcoTay setting, and all of the activities that took place to celebrate the 175th anniversary of the Tay Canal.
At the Board meeting in December, a calendar of projects and events was established for 2010, starting with our involvement in the Polar Plunge for the Food Bank on January 1st and our Annual General Meeting on January 28th. Your participation at our AGM would be most welcome (details attached and on our website).
Tay Canal Polar Plunge 2009 ~ Jan. 1
The Polar Plunge marked the first event to celebrate the Tay Canal 175th.The Tay 175th Anniversary Steering Committee presented a prize to the first plunger and to the plunger with the most pledges. The FoTW collaborated with a number of other local organizations on the Steering Committee and we developed an anniversary website for tracking and promoting these events.
Annual General Meeting 2008 ~ Jan.29
The 8th Annual General Meeting was held at the Dufferin Square Board Room on January 29th. It provided members with a review of all activities undertaken during 2008 and an accounting of the financial results for those activities in comparison to the budget for the year. It also looked ahead to certain activities planned for 2008 and the preliminary budget for the year, with the caveat that the program would be reviewed and altered during a planned Visioning process. The meeting culminated with the approval of the financial report for 2008, the budget for 2009, the election of the Board slate for 2009 and the discussion of selected watershed issues.
Algonquin College Sustainability Fair ~ Mar. 12
The 'Friends' were invited to participate in Algonquin College's first ever Sustainability Fair at the Perth campus. A booth was set up to introduce students to our mission and contacts were made with this important demographic.
Historica ~ April 23
This year, the ‘Friends’ participated in 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. The FoTW contributes to Historica in two ways: it encourages study about the Tay watershed by providing a prize for the best entry about some aspect of the Tay and also provides a FoTW volunteer to serve as a judge at the competition
Maplefest ~ April 25
The FoTW booth at Maplefest 2009, was again successful in attracting many inquiries and in distributing a large amount of informational material. The theme for this year was the celebration of the Tay Canal 175th anniversary, the committee for which provided Tay Canal 175th T-shirts for wear by FoTW staffers during the day. Barbara Halpin, of the Tay 175 Anniversary Steering Committee, staffed her corner of the FoTW booth for the whole day. Thanks to Jim Humphrey for organizing and staffing the booth, as well as Karen and Murray Hunt, Colin Stephenson, Dave Crowley, Debra and Brian Bellevue and Matt Craig for the professional staffing provided.
Shoreline Naturalization Project ~ April 30
Official Launch of the Tay 175th – May 16
The official launch was centered at the Crystal Palace on the Perth Basin and included the Farmer's Market, Parks Canada working exhibits, Kettle Boys, canoe/ kayak flotilla, Perth Pipe Band, Voyageur canoes, fiddle music, and much more. Participating in the opening ceremonies were Mayor John Fenik, MP Scott Reid, MPP Randy Hillier, Reeve Aubrey Churchill, Warden Paul Dulmage, and Rideau Canal Superintendent Gord Giffin. Paddlers were invited to join a canoe/kayak flotilla from Last Duel Park.
Art of Being Green Festival – July 11–12
On July 11-12, the Friends of the Tay Watershed took part in the Art of Being Green Festival in Middleville, Ontario. This festival has the reputation of being one of the best environmental festivals around and it lived up to its reputation again this year. The AOGB brings together an eclectic mix of organizations and individuals who provide green alternatives for people who wish to live an environmentally sensitive lifestyle. The FoTW went with a wetlands preservation theme again this year, including our interactive wetlands model, materials to show the benefits of wetlands to the ecosystem and wetlands critters to be examined. Many thanks to all of the volunteer staffers, as well as to Duck Unlimited Canada and RVCA for their contributions to our booth.
Tay Canal Week – July 4 - 12
'Tay Canal Week' was celebrated with a variety of activities, exhibitions, concerts, theatre, and much more, at the Perth Basin, Port Elmsley and Beveridge Locks. There was music and entertainment each evening at the Basin. Among the highlights were the entertaining and educational Voyageur Canoe trips, the Towpath Hike and Visit to the Butterfly Garden, the celebration of the original Tay Canal at Port Elmsley, the Paddling Puppeteer Puppet Show for Children and the First Nations exhibition. Although this week was the centerfold of the Tay 175th celebrations, there were numerous other events, not detailed here. Congratulations go to David Taylor and the entire Tay 175th Steering Committee for making the series of events so memorable.
Fresh Water Mussel Project – August
Some 40 sites, including 13 in Christie Lake and 27 along the Tay River were sampled for existing species of clams, snails and crayfish. Water quality was also monitored by chemical analysis for seven parameters. This study was guided by Dr. Fred Schueler and Aleta Karstad from the Bishops Mills Natural History Centre, and Orion Clark of FoTW. The valuable assistance of a grant from the Shell Environmental Foundation, the Lanark Stewardship Council (detailed maps), the Canadian Museum of Nature (loan of equipment) and 15 volunteers made possible this detailed assessment. While many observations of other macro invertebrates, amphibians, and reptiles were recorded and photographed, the finding of interest to most folks was that Zebra Mussels have been present for about 4 years in Christie Lake and in selected locations and along the Tay.
2009 Watershed Discovery Day ~ Oct. 4
For the first time, this event was held in Tay Valley Township at the new ECOTAY Education Centre – a venue comprised of three beautifully restored barns. This was the first year to have it on a weekend afternoon so that everyone could get out and enjoy an afternoon filled with activities for the whole family. The theme for the event was shoreline revitalization and a panel discussion on this theme was featured in the 'Horse Barn'. There were numerous displays and exhibits in the 'Cow Barn' as well as Voyageur Tim Armstrong’s paddle making workshops and the Kettle Boys traditional rope-making demonstrations. For the young at heart there were the Paddling Puppeteers and the Kettleboys dancing limberjacks. There was also an interesting Non-Motorized Boat Display – Being kind to our Shorelines and fine foods by Dentin available in the 'Pig Barn'. In spite of inclement weather, this event was declared a success. Many thanks to Annie Dalton and her WDD Team!
Perspectives on Water: Walkerton ~ Nov. 16
As part of our Perspectives on Water Series, the 'Friends' presented Bruce Davidson of the Concerned Citizens of Walkerton who spoke about the tragedy that shocked Canada and led to the Clean Water Act. Bruce delivered a unique and personal perspective of the Walkerton Water Tragedy and its consequences from the point of view of affected citizens of the town of 5,000 people. This one hour seminar provided audiences with an undeniable example of the devastation that can occur when we collectively fail to protect our drinking water from source to tap.
Source Water Protection
The Mississippi-Rideau Source Protection Committee continues to work hard to provide science-based and community-driven management of our water resources. In 2009, source protection staff and consultants developed background technical studies that will form the basis for source water protection plans in the future. Never before has there been so much information gathered and never before has there been such a depth of understanding of our water resources. In Spring 2010, draft Assessment Reports will be available to municipalities and the public for review and comment. Watch your newspaper for notice of where and when to view and comment on the draft assessment reports or check out the source protection website at www.mrsourcewater.ca.
As part of its mandate, the FoTW monitors and provides input into issues that affect the Tay watershed. In 2009, the Association provided comments to the Town of Perth on two infrastructure projects. Town staff have been very cooperative in keeping us up to speed on plans to redevelop Wilson Street to address environmental concerns for the treatment of residue at the Water Treatment facility. On both issue we have supported options that would lead to an improvement in the water quality of the Tay as it passes through Perth.
We also supplied comments to the Ministry of the Environment regarding the application by OMYA Canada for a renewal of its water taking permit. In this case OMYA has been most cooperative in discussing their requirements with us in advance. Given the prior consultations and the fact that the major water-taking parameters remained virtually unchanged, we were able to support their application.
The 'Friends' designed, hosted and maintained a website to support the activities to celebrate the 175th anniversary of the Tay Canal. This program was managed by a Steering Committee that included Parks Canada, Perth Museum, Perth Historical Society, Lanark County Tourism, Perth BIA, Perth Chamber of Commerce, Friends of the Tay Watershed, the Town of Perth, and local residents. The website was used extensively for communication purposes.
Thanks to the talents of Annie Dalton, we have a new FoTW logo and website masthead. The new logo is much easier to reproduce on different media and looks fantastic on the limited supply of t-shirts she had made for Watershed Discovery Day and other events.
Plans for 2010
Plans for 2010 include the following events so far:
FoTW takes the Plunge ~ Jan 1, 2010
We would like to thank all who volunteered their time and talents to support the Association’s events during the past year. It would not have been possible to carry our program with you! We are always looking for volunteers to help staff our booths at various events, to assist us in hosting our annual Watershed Discovery Day, or to help us carry out some of our projects. 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 28, 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 2010, if you have not already done so. The Association counts on membership revenues to keep you informed about 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 2010. 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.