Upper Nottawasaga River (NRRP)
In this photo: Before (left) and After Habitat Restoration (right) of the Upper Nottawasaga River
Restoration efforts begin in the Upper Nottawasaga River, downstream from the Village of Hockley where excellent water quality from the Niagara Escarpment deteriorates quickly. This is caused by soil and nutrients released from eroding river banks and surrounding lands. Summer stream temperatures also rise quickly as there is a limited amount of forest cover providing shade to the river.
Together, all of these factors degrade the habitat for sports fisheries in the Nottawasaga River.
NVCA's stewardship team and volunteers planted native trees and shrubs along the river, stabilized eroding streambanks, constructed woody instream cover habitats, re-created floodplain habitats, enhanced wetlands and worked with a local landowner to install livestock exclusion fencing.
The first project started under the NRRP involved the construction of fencing to exclude cattle from the upper Nottawasaga River. Between 2019 and 2022, we completed 900m of river habitat restoration at this inaugural property, representing the largest project of its type completed by the NVCA and one of the largest in southern Ontario. Starting in 2022, we began working on a new property immediately downstream and we are looking to develop partnerships with other landowners in the section of the Upper Nottawasaga River between the Village of Hockley and the 3rd Line of Adjala Tosorontio!
Pine River (PREP)
In this photo: Before, during, and after restoration on a private property east of Airport
Rd on the Pine River
To improve water quality and fish habitat in the Nottawasaga River, it is important to restore the tributary streams that flow into the main river. To achieve this, NVCA developed a trout habitat restoration plan for the Pine River and implemented a stream restoration pilot project in 2022 for the new Pine River Enhancement Program.
Using scientific data , NVCA identified that the excellent water quality in the Pine River starts to decline at Airport Road in the Township of Mulmur. In 2022, staff and volunteers stabilized 150m of eroding streambank and installed trout cover habitats along the Pine River.
Read more about the Pine River Enhancement Project here
Mad River (MREP)
NVCA is working with the Friends of the Mad River through NRRP to coordinate the Mad River Enhancement Program (MREP).
In 2022, stream temperature, river morphology and fish community data were collected to help develop a river restoration plan. Using this information, NVCA's stewardship staff identified a high priority restoration area on the Mad River between Creemore and Glencairn. Additional data will be collected in 2023.
A pilot river restoration project will also take place in 2023 at Carruthers Park near Airport Road.
The Friends of the Mad River are raising funds to complete the restoration plan and to support future river work on the Mad River. If you are interested in donating, please visit NVCA's Canada Helps page and choose “Mad River Enhancement" from the drop down menu.
Sheldon Creek (NRRP)
In this photo: Before (left) and After Habitat Restoration (right) of Sheldon Creek
Sheldon Creek is one of the coldest, cleanest, and healthiest streams in the Nottawasaga Watershed. As it flows out of the Niagara Escarpment, the stream supports high quality coldwater fish habitat and provides excellent spawning habitat for trout and salmon.
Through scientific data, NVCA discovered that there is a shift towards more tolerant species at the lower sections of Sheldon Creek that enter the Nottawasaga River. This tells us that the water quality and trout habitat are slowly degrading as the water leaves the escarpment and flows into Adjala-Tosorontio. Summer stream temperatures are seen to increase as the water moves downstream at 4th Line in Adjala-Tosorontio due to a lack of stream-side forest cover. The concentration of phosphorus in the water also increases due to nutrient rich soil and manure runoff into the river.
Step one of the restoration process is to reduce the phosphorus levels that go in the water.
Over 700m of livestock fencing was installed on both sides of the riverbank so that cattle would not trample the vegetation along the river. This reduces erosion and enhances stream habitat. Volunteers helped to plant trees and heavy machinery installed natural vegetation onto the slopes as well as woody habitat for fish and wildlife.
NVCA's river restoration staff are looking forward to completing this project in 2025 by restoring 1.4km of Sheldon Creek.
Other Restoration Projects
Black Ash Creek
Located in the headwaters of Black Ash Creek in the Town of the Blue Mountains, the Petun Dam was a six-metre high man-made earthen structure that created a 100m long stagnant pond. The pond supported algae growth and increased summer stream temperatures by 7oC!
In 2020, NVCA completed a $160,000 project to remove the dam and restore 130m of stream habitat on Black Ash Creek in the Town of the Blue Mountains. This project improved downstream water temperatures and water quality, enhanced brook and rainbow trout habitat, removed a potential threat for downstream flooding, and addressed future impacts from climate change.
In 2021, volunteers and NVCA staff planted native trees, grasses and shrubs throughout the site, increasing biodiversity.
The dam removal is the largest ecological restoration project that NVCA has completed in the Town of the Blue Mountains and this work will provide water quality benefits further downstream in the Township of Clearview and Town of Collingwood.
This project was made possible through the generous funding from Bruce Power, Greenbelt Foundation and a wide range of other partners.