NVCA extends healthiest section of the Nottawasaga River - NVCA

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NVCA extends healthiest section of the Nottawasaga River​

UTOPIA, Ontario (November 2, 2020) – Thanks to an environmentally progressive landowner and farmer, the Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority (NVCA), Nottawasaga Futures, South Simcoe Streams Network, Nottawasaga Steelheaders and Headwaters Flyfishers have restored the water quality and trout habitat in a section of the Nottawasaga River in Adjala Tosorontio.

“The NVCA Board of Directors sincerely thanks the landowner, funders and project partners for the success of this project," said Keith White, Chair of NVCA. “These resources allows our stewardship staff to continue to improve water quality and wildlife habitat across the watershed."

Originating from the Niagara Escarpment, the Nottawasaga River starts off pristine and provides some of the best quality water found in the Nottawasaga Valley Watershed. This section of the river also supports high quality coldwater fish habitat and provides excellent spawning habitat for trout and salmon.

“The quality of the water and trout habitat of the river slowly degrades as this water leaves the escarpment and flows from the Village of Hockley towards Alliston," explained Fred Dobbs, NVCA's Manager of Stewardship. “Summer stream temperatures, the amount of sediment and phosphorus concentrations increase as water moves downstream through Adjala Tosorontio. Sometimes, the temperature of the water increases at a faster rate, mainly due to a lack of stream-side forest cover and these warming zones are high priority  sections for stream restoration."

In 2017, as staff were strategizing and prioritizing restoration efforts, a land owner in one rapid warming zone approached the NVCA about opportunities to form a partnership for restoring the land and river on the farm. This would consist of a multi-year project involving tree planting, installing livestock fencing along the creek and stabilizing stream banks using heavy machinery.  These actions would greatly improve water quality, native fish habitat and trout production.

NVCA stewardship staff got to work right away. In 2018, fencing was installed on both sides of the 900 m stretch of river on the property. This way, cattle would not be able to trample the vegetation on the stream banks, therefore reducing erosion and improving fish habitat.  In the spring of 2019, tree planting was completed by volunteers working with Nottawasaga Futures staff.  In the summer of 2019 and 2020, a total of 450 m of eroding river bank was stabilized using a 20 tonne excavator to add natural vegetation to the slopes and to install woody trout habitat in the river. In 2020, a floodplain was also constructed to help protect adjacent landowners against flooding as well as providing an abundance of habitat for amphibians.

“To keep the Nottawasaga River healthy, the water needs to be kept cool as much as possible," continued Dobbs.​ “Warm water encourages algae growth which reduces oxygen concentrations for fish and other animals that live in the river. It's much easier to keep cold water cold than it is to cool it down after it warms up, so we are working at the upstream end of the warming zone and will be working downstream in stages.  Cold water conditions benefit recreational sport fishing species like rainbow trout, Chinook salmon and brown trout as well as native fish such as Northern Brook Lamprey and Burbot."

The Nottawasaga River Restoration Program has been generously funded by Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Patagonia-Tides Foundation, Cabelas Canada, Ontario Trillium Foundation and Alectra Utilities.

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About NVCA: The Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority is a public agency dedicated to the preservation of a healthy environment through specialized programs to protect, conserve and enhance our water, wetlands, forests and lands.

About SSSN: About SSSN:  The South Simcoe Streams Network is dedicated to improving water quality and stream habitat along local waterways.  Established under Nottawasaga Futures in 2008, this grass roots non-profit program is designed to involve multiple partners and resident communities to help protect and promote a healthy natural environment. 

Media contact: Maria Leung, Communications Coordinator 705-424-1479 ext.254, mleung@nvca.on.ca