Kawartha Conservation
Update - May 2, 2014
Spring is here in our conservation areas!
A turtle emerges from a long winter in McLarens Creek Wetland in Ken Reid Conservation Area.
All of our conservation areas are now open from 7 am to 9 pm everyday, and free to use! 
Step into nature with Healthy Hikes
Healthy Hikes logo
Any of the time that you spend in our conservation areas, as well as at any of the other 270 areas across the province, can earn you points toward great prizes. 
Find out the ways our environment boosts your health and how you can energize your body and mind by Stepping into Nature. Visit HealthyHikes.ca for more about the environment, your health, and how to earn points and prizes.
Garlic Mustard Pull on May 16
Garlic Mustard Join the Invading Species Awareness Program and partners in the 6th annual Garlic Mustard Pull, led by the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, at Ken Reid Conservation Area. It's a great opportunity to learn about invasive plants, how they can affect the natural biodiversity in our ecosystems, and what you can do to help!

Gloves and refreshments will be provided. Please RSVP by May 14 to emily_johnston@ofah.org or 1-800-563-7711.

Howlers Corners update
Spring maintenance
Howlers Corners Maintenance in Howlers Corners Off-leash Dog Park continues this month, to re-seed worn areas, plant trees, and fix a culvert. The alternate entrance to the back of the park is open, and can be accessed by following the signs from the main entrance.
A popular destination
After being open for not even a year, Howlers Corners has become a popular destination. Dana Mumford, a retired GE employee, is a frequent visitor with his two dogs. He and his wife Jane find the off leash dog park, the first of its kind in the area, a suitable spot for their 9 year old chocolate lab, Leslie, and 8 month old Shih Tzu-Lhasa, Teddy.

"It is absolutely fantastic. The dogs love it. Everything they need is here. They run around and seem to enjoy it very much," says Mr. Mumford. "They also learn to socialize with other dogs and it is just great!"

Support a high quality off-leash park
Howlers Corners has been built through the support of donors and sponsors. We need your continued donations to maintain Howlers Corners as a high quality off-leash park. Kawartha Conservation is a registered charitable organization and provides charitable receipts to all identified donors. Visit our support page for details on making a donation.
Some reminders 

Being in a conservation area, all dogs must be kept on leash while outside of Howlers Corners. This includes when taking your dogs from the car to the calming area. This rule is enforced under the Conservation Authorities Act to protect other visitors and sensitive habitats and wildlife that can be easily disrupted. All poop must also be picked up and disposed of in the bins provided or taken with you out of Ken Reid Conservation Area.

To report an incident or anyone who is not following the posted rules, please provide a description of the person and their dog(s), as well as the type of car and license plate number where possible. This information can be provided to our front desk at the Administrative Centre across the driveway during business hours, or by contacting us at 705.328.2271 or GenInfo@KawarthaConservation.com. In an emergency, call 9-1-1.

Get the latest updates

Like us on FacebookHowlers Corners has its own Facebook page where we post information about maintenance and other activities. It's also a great place for park users to share information and photos, too!

High water levels decline slowly this spring
Water spills over the banks of Emily Creek into the floodplain near Downeyville, off of Sturgeon Rd, on April 8, 2014

By mid-winter, our concern for spring flooding began as record amounts of snow were recorded at our monitoring locations across the watershed. The biggest fear was that we would get some really warm weather and rainfall in a very short period of time. This would have resulted in a quick melting of the snowpack and ice, and the frozen ground would have been unable to absorb any of the water runoff.

When measuring the snow on the ground, we look at how much water it contains, to be able to forecast how much water will be potentially released into rivers and lakes. The water content of the snowpack steadily increased throughout the season, reaching its peak at most stations on March 15, with a record 139 to 154 mm.
The highest amount was at Pigeon River Headwaters Conservation Area on April 1, with 172 mm. This is the most we have ever recorded over the past 10 years!

Fortunately, as the warmer weather arrived, it came in gradually. Temperatures got up above freezing during the day, melting some of the snow, and then went back down at night, stopping the melting process. This occurred over a period of a few weeks; but, despite the gradual melt, we still experienced high water levels throughout the watershed due to the immense amount of water in the snowpack, along with some rain.

From April 1 to 15 much of the snow melted while we received 45 to 65 mm of rain. During this period, we went from a Watershed Conditions Statement all the way to a Flood Warning, the highest warning level. Many of the lakes and rivers came close to their critical levels which resulted in minor flooding in the near shore areas. The Burnt River exceeded its critical level on April 13, and then crested on April 16. It has dropped below the flood level since then. The Gull River is still flowing high.

Currently, smaller rivers and streams within the watershed are flowing at normal seasonal levels. Water levels in the large lakes, including Balsam, Cameron, Sturgeon, Scugog, and Pigeon, are still high, but are gradually declining.

We continue to maintain close communication with member municipalities and partner agencies such as Trent-Seven Waterway, the Ministry of Natural Resources, and adjacent conservation authorities to provide a coordinated response to a potential flood threat.


For the latest flood forecast, see our Flood Forecasting and Warning Program.


Information session on managing water levels and flooding on Lake Scugog

Join us for an information session with presentations by Trent-Severn Waterway, the Township of Scugog, Kawartha Conservation, and other agencies.  


Thursday, May 8

7 pm to 8:30 pm

Scugog Island Community Hall

 2710 Demara Road, Port Perry 


Topics will include:  

  • An overview of the spring freshet and why water levels are so high this spring on Lake Scugog
  • The role of flood forecasting and warning, and low water response
  • Communication and coordination between agencies during high and low water events.

A question and answer period will follow the presentations. 


This event is hosted by the Township of Scugog and Kawartha Conservation. For more information, contact Iryna at IShulyarenko@KawarthaConservation.com or 705.328.2271 ext. 219

Consultations on flood plain mapping
In partnership with the City of Kawartha Lakes, we are developing flood plain mapping for a number of study areas within the City of Kawartha Lakes. This work will provide a baseline understanding of flood risks within local communities and help guide development and redevelopment in a way that protects personal property and safety--a proactive approach for dealing with flooding hazards at a time when we are experiencing more large storm events.

Map of the Ops/Jennings study area The Ops #1 Drain/Jennings Creek watershed is the first of ten studies to be completed. It is located north and west of the community of Lindsay, draining both rural and urban areas. The main urban areas drained include the Kent Street commerce area west of Angeline Street, portions of Wilson's Fields, and lands north of Colborne, the Lindsay Airport, Springdale Gardens, and portions of lands south of the subdivision.

A Public Open House was held on March 3 to present the initial findings of the technical report. The final technical report and regulatory flood maps are being made available for a two-week public/stakeholder review period from May 2 until May 18. This material has also been peer reviewed to ensure it meets government and industry standards, an important consideration due to the complexities of the area. Comments received during this period will be reviewed by the project's Technical Committee which is responsible for the project direction and final decisions on any revisions.

Policy development for areas where a risk to flooding have been identified in the Ops #1 Drain/Jennings Creek watershed will also be completed and will have a separate public review period. The goal of these policies will be to guide and regulate existing and future development in order to protect personal safety and property.

Draft policies will be available for public review and comment for two three-week periods, the first of which will run from May 9 until June 1, and the second will run from June 13 until July 6. Following each period, municipal and conservation authority staff will review comments and determine adequate revisions to the draft policies. A Policy Workshop will also be held on May 22 during the first consultation period to answer questions you might have and to meet and discuss policies with municipal and conservation authority staff.

More information on this project and future projects, including locations, maps, important dates, technical reports, and polices for comment, can all be found on our website at KawarthaConservation.com/floodstudies or 705.328.2271.

May 23 deadline for $500 bursary
Youth Environmental Bursary poster Local high school students who are undertaking environmental or conservation related post-secondary studies are invited to apply for our $500 Youth Environmental Bursary.

Throughout the year, Kawartha Conservation staff raise money within the office to fund the bursary, looking to help youth in our community and promote careers in the environmental sector.

The deadline to apply is May 23. All of the details, including an application form, can be found on our website.
2013 Annual Report: From plan to action
2013 Annual Report Our 2013 Annual Report is now available. It highlights a wide array of programs and projects that are contributing to a healthy watershed. These projects underscore our commitment to protecting and restoring our water resources and natural heritage systems, and developing watershed science.

Click here to view the report and a 2013 overview video.

Thank you to everyone who shared in our activities in 2013! The accomplishments highlighted in the report are a tribute to your support!
Spring tips for a healthy lawn year round
While grass-free landscaping is becoming more popular, people may still maintain grassy areas for various activities, while others just want that perfect, green lawn. The basic requirement for a healthy lawn is good soil, and there are excellent natural solutions you can use to improve your soil.
Landowner Guide
Get more free tips by downloading this guide

Let it grow.
Longer grass (6 cm to 8 cm in length) will contribute to a healthier lawn by absorbing more water and nutrients, leading to improved root and soil structure.

Let your lawn breathe. Aeration creates small holes, loosens the soil, and removes thatch (dead grass) to allow water, nutrients, and oxygen reach the root system. Try wearing spiked golf shoes while pushing your mower. This will help ensure a lush, thick, green lawn that can out-compete most weeds.

Over-seeding. The thicker the grass, the less chance the weeds will have to survive. Use grass species that are suitable to your growing area. Species such as rye and fescue grass are native and drought tolerant. They are also more pest-resistant, hardy, and develop strong root systems that help reduce erosion.

Apply compost to your lawn. A thin layer of compost (or soil containing compost) applied each spring will contribute to a healthy lawn by nourishing the grass and increasing the organic matter in the soil.

Reduce foot traffic during wet periods. Compacted soils decrease the ability of roots to grow. Consider foot paths or stepping stones in high traffic areas.

By taking these steps to a healthy lawn, chemical fertilizers that can by washed into local rivers and lakes through the storm system will be a thing of the past. Keeping fertilizer and other nutrients out of the water reduces the potential for algae blooms and damage to the aquatic environment.

For more lake-friendly yard maintenance tips, download the Landowner Guide to Water Quality in the Kawarthas or pick up a copy at our Administrative Centre.
Support a sustainable watershed
Butterfly on a thistle If you have an interest in local environmental health and outdoor recreation, consider making a donation to one of the projects or program areas featured on our support page.

Visit KawarthaConservation.com/about/support.html

Upcoming events

May 2 to 4 - 30th Annual Country Living Show. Visit the Kawartha Conservation booth for stewardship and lake management planning information.

May 8
- Information Session: Managing water levels and flooding on Lake Scugog, Scugog Island Community Centre.

May 10 - Annual General Meeting of the Kawartha Lake Stewards Association, including a presentation on Lake Management Planning.

May 16Garlic Mustard Pull in Ken Reid Conservation Area.


May 22 - Policy Workshop on policies being developed for areas where flood risks have been identified in the Ops #1 Drain and Jennings Creek watershed.

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