May 2015
THE CURRENT
A monthly newsletter to keep you informed about the Detroit River.

Message from the RAP Coordinator
What a way to mark Earth Day! Last week, thousands of pounds of garbage were collected during two community cleanups, 2000 trees were planted near Little River by over 800 participants, and we had a great opportunity to chat with the public at our booth at Malden Park on Sunday at the City of Windsor's Earth Day celebrations.
Your Toilet isn't a Garbage Can


Did you see the City's demonstration toilet at our booth? They were showing how 'flushable' wipes aren't flushable at all. These wipes can build up in the City's sewer system or in your personal sanitary sewer connection, leading to expensive maintenance costs or basement flooding.

If you live in Windsor, your drinking water comes from the Detroit River. The same place our treated wastewater is released. So nothing should go in the toilet except number one, number two, and TP!

As always, we love to hear from you. If you have any upcoming events, questions, or feedback, please email postmaster@detroitriver.ca.   

 

Claire Sanders

Remedial Action Plan Coordinator  

Detroit River Canadian Cleanup 

WANTED: Black Oak Heritage Park Cleanup Volunteers

The Detroit River Canadian Cleanup, the Essex Region Conservation Authority, the City of Windsor, and the Windsor Port Authority are hosting a cleanup event at Black Oak Heritage Park and are looking for volunteers to help!

 

Location: Black Oak Heritage Park in Windsor - meet at the corner of Ironwood and Cherry Blossom

Date: Sunday, May 24, 2015
Time: 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
Description: Dress for the weather. Cleanup will take place rain or shine.
 

 

Fishes of Essex County and Surrounding Waters

Interested in learning more about the fishes that inhabit the Detroit River and other local waterways? Fishes of Essex County and the Surrounding Waters is a comprehensive field guide written by Dr. Lynda Corkum, that covers more than 100 freshwater fishes. It is complete with species information and identifying characteristics, photos, and detailed distribution maps.

 

The cost of the book is $25 and all of the proceeds go to the Essex County Field Naturalists' Club. It is available for purchase online or at several pick-up locations, including the Essex Region Conservation Authority, Point Pelee National Park and the Ojibway Nature Centre. You can also order a copy by e-mailing essexcountynature@gmail.com. A review of the book can be found here.

Essex Region Source Protection Plan Approved

Essex (April 22, 2015) - The Source Protection Plan for the Essex Region Source Protection Area has been approved by the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change. This plan, effective October 1, 2015, sets out policies that will protect the water sources that supply our municipal drinking water systems.

 

The plan was developed by the Essex Region Source Protection Committee and its municipal and community partners. The plan is a requirement of Ontario's Clean Water Act, which was passed as a response to the Province's inquiry into the Walkerton drinking water tragedy. The Source Protection Plan was developed over several years and is based on technical studies, collaborative policy development, and extensive public consultation. The process was guided by a Source Protection Committee made up of representatives from municipalities, business, industry, landowners, and other stakeholders.

 

"We are proud of the work of the Source Protection Committee in reaching this goal," said Tom Fuerth, Chair of the Source Protection Committee. "Collaboration with our local stakeholders, municipal partners and the Ministry resulted in policies designed to protect sources of municipal water supply. The science-based process will provide ongoing protection by recognizing and minimizing the risk to water supply sources from land use activities. We look forward to continuing with our partners into the future to enhance the protection of existing and future sources of drinking water."

 

Policies in the Source Protection Plans include a variety of approaches to manage and prevent risks to municipal drinking water. These approaches include education and outreach, the development of risk management plans, land use planning, and monitoring. These policies will help to keep contaminants out of our rivers and lakes that are sources of municipal drinking water.

 

The source protection planning process is directed and funded by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change in conjunction with municipalities. Local Conservation Authorities provide additional technical, communications and administrative support for the source protection planning process. For more information, visit www.essexregionsourcewater.org.

 

Quick Facts

  • Municipal drinking water supplies in the Essex Region are all drawn from the Great Lakes system - the Detroit River, Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair.
  • There are seven municipal water treatment plants (WTPs) in the region and an additional plant in Wheatley which serves part of the Municipality of Leamington.
  • When completed, watershed-based source protection plans will protect more than 450 municipal drinking water sources across Ontario.
  • Ontario has provided more than $200 million for source protection planning since 2004.
Unexpectedly Amazing... The Mudpuppy

Steve Marks, DRCC Public Advisory Council Member

In southern Ontario, there are 13 types of salamanders. Essex County is astonishingly devoid of most of them, although that becomes less surprising when one considers their habitats, and what would be available to them here. However, the most unusual of them all lives and thrives here
- the mudpuppy - and can be found in the Detroit River.

 

Mudpuppies (Necturus maculosusare by far the largest of our salamander species, with large adults being more than 40 cm long, while most adults are 30 or more centimetres in length. They are neotenic, that is to say they spend their entire life in the larval state and do not transform into adult forms as most other Ontario salamanders do. External gills, a paddle-like tail, and a totally aquatic lifestyle are with them for the entire span of their 10-35+ years. Essex County is right in the centre of the species' range, and in the County they are found in the Detroit River, Lake Erie, and Lake St. Clair, along with a few of the tributaries.
 

Amphibians are ectothermic. That is, their body temperatures are the same as their surroundings. They regulate their body temperatures by seeking out microhabitats with appropriate temperatures for what they intend to do. Most amphibians in Canada have to hibernate to escape freezing, as their body temperature would literally kill them if exposed to temperatures much below freezing. The hibernation sites of amphibians are below the line of frost, whether in a pond environment, beneath the muck at the bottom, or below the level of ground frost in an upland environment, as in the case of toads and most terrestrial salamanders. So why do I consider mudpuppies unusual and unexpectedly amazing? These amphibians are more active than other amphibians in the winter months. In fact, their peak activity time is winter and their more dormant times are the summer months! They are not only active at temperatures below freezing, they are actually feeding and breeding in water temperatures that are below freezing! These ectotherms are capable of foraging and digesting food in temperatures of running stream water that is flowing at or slightly below 0 ̊C.

Most 
people go their entire lives without ever seeing this wonderful, unusual animal. Ice fisherman are the most likely to encounter one, and that is the hook of a poster campaign by Ontario Nature, hoping to get some good sightings data. When the "ugly" unexpected creature is pulled up, they are often cast aside, left on the ice to die. Instead, it is encouraged that one gently removes the hook and releases the salamander back into the water as quickly as possible, without touching the gills. This will allow them to keep up their role in the ecosystem of our Great Lakes Watershed. Please join me in doing everything we can to preserve this species, along with the other unpopular, misunderstood animals in Ontario!

 

Extra! Extra! Read all about it!

The Detroit River in the news....here are some relevant, external links to news articles that may pique your interest. Click on the link to read on.
Upcoming Events
Save the date for these great local events! Please ensure you contact the organizer for more information.

FESTIVAL OF BIRDS, POINT PELEE NATIONAL PARK

May 1-18, 2015: 5:00am-10:00pm

Point Pelee National Park, 1118 Point Pelee Drive, Leamington

 

Become part of the spring migration at Point Pelee National Park, the special place where birds and birders meet. The 2015 Festival of Birds Regional Discovery Guide is a must-have as you explore our region. Daily pass - $3.90 and up, 3 day pass - $25.60 and up. For more information, call 519-326-6173 or 1-888-707-3533.

FORESTS ONTARIO COMMUNITY TREE PLANTING

May 2, 2015: 10:00am-2:00pm

Firgrove Drive, Windsor

 

Join Forests Ontario for a community spring tree planting in Windsor on Firgrove Drive between Chateau Ave. and Banwell Road. Register online at: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/community-planting-weekend-windsor-tickets-16059487359. What to bring: A shovel, gardening gloves and lots of energy! Appropriate outdoor clothing, sturdy shoes, a hat, sunscreen and insect repellent are recommended. What we will bring: We will supply the rest - the trees, forestry specialists, mulch and snacks.

FRIENDS OF THE HOMESTEAD YARD SALE

May 3, 2015: 11:00am-4:00pm

John R. Park Homestead, Harrow

 

Help the Homestead by donating quality items in advance or coming out and treasure hunting on the day! Treasures old and new. There is something for everyone at this giant sale. For more information, call 519-738-2029 or contact the Homestead at jrph@erca.org.

ESSEX COUNTY FIELD NATURALISTS' OUTING

May 9, 2015: 10:00am

Heinz Bush, Leamington

 

Please join club member, Peg Hurst, for an enjoyable Saturday morning walk at Heinz Bush in Leamington. The walk starts at 10:00 a.m. Along the walk, we will occasionally stop to pull Garlic Mustard, an invasive species. If you are unable to pull, you can hold a garbage bag for those who are pulling, or just walk about and enjoy nature. Directions to Heinz Bush: Head south on Erie in Leamington, turn left on Pulford, drive past the vacant Zellers and park behind it close to the road. The woods are directly behind Zellers, to the east. You do not need to be a member of the club to attend this event. Everyone is welcome!

SHOREBIRD AND SONGBIRD CELEBRATION

May 9 and 10, 2015: 9:00am-3:00pm

Hillman Marsh Conservation Area, Leamington

 

Join experts from the Holiday Beach Migration Observatory to see and release banded birds at the Nature Centre. See flocks of migrating shorebirds feeding in the mudflats along the shorebird trail. Make a nature craft for Mother's Day. Not to be missed! Go here for a map to the conservation area. Entrance to the park is just $5 per vehicle and spring birding passes are available here.

WHEATLEY PROVINCIAL PARK BIRDING HIKE

May 13, 2015: 7:30am

Wheatley Provincial Park, Wheatley

 

Each year there is a bird hike at Wheatley Provincial Park in memory of Norm Chesterfield. Norm was the top birder in Canada and the world for many years in the 1980s and lived just outside Wheatley. Paul Pratt, who is leading the walk, knew Norm well and they shared many adventures chasing birds around Ontario and Canada. The group will depart from the main park office at 7:30 a.m. and bird around the park's beautiful forests and wetlands. Afterwards, coffee and muffins will be provided at the Car Barn Restaurant. The more the merrier, so spread the word!

ESSEX COUNTY FIELD NATURALISTS' MEETING

May 13, 2015: 7:30pm

Ojibway Nature Centre, 5200 Matchette Road, Windsor

 

Come listen to Barb MacDonell, Senior Environmental Planner for the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, speak about the Windsor Parkway project. The title of her talk is, "The Parkway in the Prairie: An Introduction to the Unique Ecological Features of the Project." You do not have to be a member of the club to attend this talk, and there is no admission. Everyone is welcome!

GARLIC MUSTARD PULL

May 17, 2015: 1:00-4:00pm

Camp Cedarwin, Essex

 

Come out to help battle this forest invader! Volunteers needed to pull the invasive garlic mustard plant out of the woods of Camp Cedarwin. No experience necessary. Students can also earn volunteer service hours. Go here for a map to Camp Cedarwin. For more information, contact Caroline at 519-776-5209 ext. 245 or cbiribauer@erca.org.

CITY OF WINDSOR'S BIRTHDAY CELEBRATIONS

May 18, 2015: 10:00am-2:00pm

Start location - Assumption Park, Huron Church Road and Riverside Drive West, Windsor

 

Join us for the Annual Mayor's Riverfront Walk and activities and entertainment for the whole family. Finish off the celebration with a slice of the City's giant birthday cake and a cup of Tim Horton's coffee. Free admission. For more information, call 519-253-2300. 

SCIENCE CAFÉ, CANADA SOUTH SCIENCE CITY

May 20, 2015: 7:30pm

Canada South Science City, 930 Marion Avenue, Windsor

 

A free public forum on science research and its importance in our lives, presented by well-known research scientists. Light refreshments will be served.

BLACK OAK HERITAGE PARK CLEANUP

May 24, 2015: 11:00am-2:00pm

Black Oak Heritage Park, Windsor


We could use your help! The Detroit River Canadian Cleanup, the Essex Region Conservation Authority, the City of Windsor, and the Windsor Port Authority are hosting a cleanup event at Black Oak Heritage Park and are looking for volunteers. 
Dress for the weather. Cleanup will take place rain or shine.

REPTILE AND AMPHIBIAN HIKE AT CEDAR CREEK CONSERVATION AREA

May 24, 2015: 9:00am

Cedar Creek Conservation Area, Essex

 

Take this unique opportunity to become a citizen scientist and join Ontario Reptile and Amphibian Atlas Regional Coordinators, Tom Preney and Johnathan Choquette, to explore Cedar Creek Conservation Area. Observations will be submitted to the Ontario Reptile and Amphibian Atlas to help scientists study the populations of these fascinating creatures. The hike will start at the Cedar Creek Conservation Area parking lot at 9:00 a.m. Please come dressed appropriately for the outdoors. Rubber boots are encouraged as off trail hiking may be involved. Driving directions from Windsor: Take Highway 3 east, to Essex. Turn right (south) on Arner Townline. Drive to its end. Cedar Creek will be on the west side, just after you cross County Road 20.

TIME TRAVEL MORNING

June 5, 2015: 10:00am-noon

John R. Park Homestead, Harrow

 

Spend the day going back in time! This program, for children and their adults, offers a hands-on, entertaining and educational experience at the John R. Park Homestead Conservation Area. Participants will enjoy a variety of pioneer experiences, an old-time snack and will make a souvenir to take home. $15 registration fee applies. Register hereFor more information, call 519-738-2029 or contact the Homestead at jrph@erca.org.

Job Postings
These postings are for jobs at various locations with varying deadlines. Please click on the job title to view job details. Contact the listed agency in the job ad for more information.