Welcome to the first edition of the Watershed Chronicle by
Central Lake Ontario Conservation.
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The First Edition

Welcome to Central Lake Ontario Conservation’s Watershed Chronicle!
I am pleased to launch the first edition of our e-newsletter, updating you on Central Lake Ontario Conservation, our current activities and accomplishments.  I look forward to sharing future issues with you and welcome your feedback and ongoing support for healthy watersheds today and tomorrow.

Chris Darling, MCIP, RPP
Chief Administrative Officer
Central Lake Ontario Conservation

In this edition:

CLOCA Goes On Tour

Members of the CLOCA Board and staff had the privilege of touring some very distinguished guests around to project sites this summer.  MPP Jennifer French and MP Celina Caesar-Chavannes were introduced to the role and function we play as watershed managers.  Both French and Caesar-Chavannes worked the nets on the electrofishing boat to collect fish samples as part of our Durham Coastal Wetland Monitoring Program.  Other highlights of the tour included a stop at Oshawa Second Marsh, the Thomas Street Oshawa Creek and Heber Down Lynde Creek water gauges where we collected data to help with our flood forecasting and surface water quality monitoring.
MP Celina Caesar-Chavannes (left) and MPP Jennifer French CLOCA's watershed champions on tour and in the field with staff.  

We Are More Than An Act

In 2015, the Province of Ontario initiated a review of the Conservation Authorities Act, which addresses the roles, responsibilities and governance of Conservation Authorities in resource management and environmental protection. 

In 2016, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry released their suggested priorities for renewal of the CA Act:  Conserving Our Future.  Proposed Priorities for Renewal.  This paper is based on earlier feedback received from the 2015 Stakeholder Engagement sessions.

On behalf of all Conservation Authorities, Conservation Ontario has developed and posted a collective submission.  The general public is encouraged to send an email to support an integrated watershed management plan approach and the role of Conservation Authorities as watershed management agencies.
For more information visit Conservation Ontario's website.


Oshawa Second Marsh Is Goin' Down

If you haven’t been to Oshawa's Second Marsh, a 137 hectare provincially significant coastal wetland, then we suggest you take in this local jewel. It is known as an important breeding and migratory stopover area for birds and it is getting a makeover, ecology style, to improve overall health.  If you visit today, you will see firsthand the results of step one of the journey. The water was drawn down in April, exposing natural mudflats and allowing the existing seed-bank of wetland plants to germinate.  Once the vegetation is re-established, and we are seeing native soft stem bulrush, smartweed, waterlily, bur reed and cattails, the water levels will be brought back to normal seasonal conditions.  This will be in time to host returning migrants in the late summer early fall and see the Marsh into its next decade of wetland functions and habitat responsibilities.
A lack of rain has been beneficial for Oshawa Second March this year, allowing the natural seedbank to germinate. 

Look Who's Crossing The Road

CLOCA staff hit the road this spring observing nesting and road crossing activities of some local native turtles in our watershed. Across the province, 7 of Ontario’s 8 turtle species are at risk of disappearing from Ontario.  That is no surprise when we see how fragmented our landscape has become and the loss of wetland cover across our watersheds estimated at 75% of historical records.  Turtles are not very visible for the most part, except when the females are laying their eggs.  This typically happens in our jurisdiction between May and June.  The ladies find suitable nesting locations along disturbed gravel and sand deposits, often digging in the shoulders along local roads.  Thanks to a partnership with Youth Environmental Services we were able to step up nest protection and monitoring efforts in the community this year.  To find out more, check out our website at   
Holly Richards finishes installed one of CLOCA's turtle nest protection structures along with her Mom, after they noticed a turtle laying eggs.

Mentorship Has Its Privileges

As part of an ongoing education partnership with Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC), we rolled out our first Wetland Centre of Excellence Mentorship Program (WCEMP) this spring, with 55 high school students and 401 elementary students participating.  CLOCA’s education staff provided the high school students with 2 solid days of in-class and in-field training and the construction of 50 turtle nesting protection structures for our Turtles4Tomorrow program.  They were then asked to deliver the program to their mentees, local  grade 4 students and future environmental stewards.  They guided them through pond explorations, hiking the wilds and playing wetland games. Thanks DUC, students, teachers, Toronto Zoo and the Durham Woodworkers Club for making this program great. See you in September as we deliver a full school year program in 2016 and 2017.  
Getting a close look at the wonders of nature through the DUC's Wetland Centre for Excellence Mentorship Program.

How Sweet It Is

On June 21st, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) staff came to town to help maple syrup producing Conservation Authorities to understand new legislation introduced on January 1, 2016 to regulate Ontario maple products.  All of us will be required to adopt the new grade and colour classifications, apply lot codes to all containers of maple syrup and ensure that all sap and syrup contact surfaces are constructed of food grade materials.  We have until January 1, 2018 to come into compliance.  Attendees from Toronto and Region, Conservation Hamilton, Credit Valley, Grand River and CLOCA participated in the half day information session.  Thank you Paul Bailey and Pam Young from OMAFRA for providing the information and resources.

How Low Will It Go?

Based on precipitation and data collected throughout the Central Lake Ontario Conservation (CLOCA) watershed, we issued a Level 1 Low Water Condition report on July 6, and  a Level 2 Low Water Condition report on August 5, 2016.  It's no surprise when we look at the combination of low precipitation and lower contributions from groundwater and surface water resources to base flows in our creeks.  With an extremely dry spring and summer so far, CLOCA staff is encouraging water conservation practices for homeowners and businesses to reduce water use by 20%.  Suggestions include following outdoor water use by-laws, reducing non-essential water uses and making use of water storage features like rain barrels. For large-scale water users like golf courses and construction work, water withdrawals should be coordinated and taken more slowly over a longer period of time to ensure recovery of ground and surface water resources.  CLOCA will continue to monitor rainfall and streamflow to determine if further restrictions will be necessary.  Stay tuned.

Monitoring Get's A Makeover

CLOCA staff initiated an examination of CLOCA’s current monitoring program to determine if we are adequately addressing emerging issues and anticipated changing management priorities within the watershed.  The work plan will be completed in house and include a literature review of monitoring methods and programs; interviews with other conservation authorities; complete assessment of CLOCA’s current monitoring programs including gap and resource analysis; stakeholder consultation; and development/refinement of an integrated monitoring program for CLOCA. 


Stakeholder consultation and input will be key to shaping the  redevelopment of CLOCA’s monitoring program.  The consultation will be completed in 2016 with municipalities, local environmental organizations and other groups and stakeholders to ask how they use the current data, where are there gaps, what scale of program is necessary and how best to communicate results to technical and non-technical audiences. 


The goal is to have a refined integrated monitoring program developed this year for implementation in 2017.

Yes indeed, we monitor everything that flies, hops, swims or crawls through our watersheds.  This is a red eft , the juvenile terrestrial stage of the eastern newt, a common newt found in aquatic environments in eastern North America. He or she, we are not sure, was found at Crows Pass.  

Don't Forget To Visit

Our Conservation Areas continue to be a popular destination point throughout the summer where you can find a world of wildlife and unique natural features such as lakes, creeks, wetlands and forests just waiting to be explored!  Offering an abundance of activities from fishing to hiking and cycling the scenic trails, the Conservation Areas are the perfect destination for you to get out of the house and into nature. Check out our website for a full listing of our Conservation Areas and the activities offered at each.  Annual parking passes are available online.


Close to the city, yet country quiet!
Discover over 45km of trails in your local Conservation Areas.
Next Issue
Enjoyed the first edition of the Chronicle?

There's more where that came from. Here's what's in store for the next issue:
~ Why Volunteer with CLOCA
~ Monitoring Highlights 2016 Season
~ Durham Children's Groundwater Festival Sponsors 2016

Visit for ways you can help us create healthy watersheds.
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Central Lake Ontario Conservation
100 Whiting Avenue
Oshawa, On L1H 3T3

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