June 27, 2016

Volunteers help plant rain gardens in Bayfield

Bayfield volunteers plant rain gardensAbout 50 students from Huron Centennial Public School in Brucefield and 15 community volunteers from the Bayfield area planted 300 plants at two new rain gardens at Pioneer Park in Bayfield on Tuesday, June 21. They did this to help protect local water in the village along Lake Huron’s shores.
installation of the rain gardens is just one way watershed residents continue to implement the community-developed Main Bayfield Watershed Plan.
For more information visit: Bayfield rain gardens

Healthy Kids Community Challenge Huron launches Storytime Trail
Ribbon cutting to launch Storytime Trail.Huron County families will have a chance to walk together and read together through the Storytime Trail, a new program launched on June 21, 2016.
A different story is to be posted on the trail monthly on each of eight new trail posts along the MacNaughton-Morrison Section of the South Huron Trail in Exeter. Families are invited to read the story as they hike the trail.
To find out more visit: Storytime Trail

Turtle colouring contest winners announced 
World Turtle Day Colouring Contest Winners.Ausable Bayfield Conservation presented copies of the children’s book Never Give Up by Janet Everett to winning entries in the ages 6 and under category of the conservation authority’s first World Turtle Day Colouring Contest. The contest organizers presented the prize of Photo Field Guide to the Reptiles and Amphibians of Ontario by Scott Gillingwater and Alistair MacKenzie, to the winners in the ages 7-12 category.
Mackenzie Harris, 5, of Exeter and Adelyn Berndt, 5, of Brucefield were the winners in the 6 and under category. Ages 7-12 category winners were Evan Hobbs, 9, of Thedford, and Amy Howes, 10, of Clinton.
To find out more visit: World Turtle Day Colouring Contest

$1,000 Student Environmental Award
$1,000 Student Environmental Award PosterThe Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation is offering a $1,000 cash award for a graduating secondary school student OR a student currently enrolled in university or college pursuing education in a conservation-related or environment-related course of study such as biology, ecology, geography, forestry, fish and wildlife, agriculture, or outdoor education.  Deadline to apply is Thursday, June 30, 2016 by 4:30 p.m.
To find out more download: Application form and criteria

Two Huron County subwatersheds chosen
Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association’s (OSCIA) Great Lakes Agricultural Stewardship Initiative (GLASI)The Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association’s (OSCIA) Great Lakes Agricultural Stewardship Initiative (GLASI) Priority Subwatershed Project has selected two subwatershed areas in Huron County to act as sites to help evaluate the effectiveness of agricultural stewardship in improving soil health and water quality. The areas are the Gully Creek watershed, just north of Bayfield, and the Garvey-Glenn watershed, north of Port Albert.  
Landowners in these two watersheds are eligible for up to 80 per cent cost-share grants (up to $25,000 per year) and, in some cases, per-acre incentives. These incentives are for specific BMP projects under several categories.
To find out more visit: Reducing phosphorus loss

Conservation Dinner Committee names first Co-Chairs in 25 years; announces record of $62,500 at 2016 event 
Community members Mary Ryan-Allen and Janet Clarke were elected Co-Chairs of 28th Conservation Dinner auction to take place on Thursday, April 6, 2017   in Exeter.The Conservation Dinner gala auction continues to make history. Members of the community committee behind the charitable event learned has learned that the 2016 fundraiser set a new record. The 2016 Dinner raised almost $62,500 in net proceeds for community improvements such as parks, accessible trails, and nature education and recreation. That’s $1,000 more than the previous record set the year before. 
The committee then continued to make history by electing two Co-Chairs, for the first time in a quarter of a century, to organize the 28th Conservation Dinner.
Community members Mary Ryan-Allen and Janet Clarke were elected Co-Chairs of 28th Conservation Dinner auction.
The committee also announced that next year’s event will get an early start on the spring season and is to be held on Thursday, April 6, 2017 at South Huron Recreation Centre in Exeter.
To find out more visit: Conservation Dinner

Seven volunteers in Ausable Bayfield Conservation watersheds recognized
Seven volunteers in Ausable Bayfield Conservation watersheds recognizedSeven volunteers from Ausable Bayfield Conservation watersheds were among more than 11,000 volunteers to receive 2016 Ontario Volunteer Service Awards. The following recipients were nominated by Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA): Ten Years of Service: Sharon O’Toole; Carol Rideout; George Godbolt; and Raymond Letheren. Five Years of Service: George Finch and Troy Stellingwerff. Youth Nomination (Two to four years): Evan Krebs. 
To find out more visit: Ontario Volunteer Service Awards

Lambton Shores Phragmites Community Group winner of Conservationist of the Year Award
Ausable Bayfield Conservation announced the winner and presented the award at the annual conservation awards evening held at Ironwood Golf Club, east of Exeter, on Thursday, March 17, 2016.The winner of the Conservationist of the Year Award is Lambton Shores Phragmites Community Group. When the award was presented, close to 80 people attended the event, including landowners, residents, and community group members; dignitaries; ministry and conservation authority staff; municipal representatives, and others. 
Ausable Bayfield Conservation’s Manager of Stewardship, Land and Education, Kate Monk, made remarks introducing the award winners. “The group should be very proud of the work they’ve done in just a few short years and we should be very, very appreciative for the work that they’ve done,” Monk said. “They’re very engaged and they’re a very important part of the Ontario Phragmites Working Group and working with agencies and individuals across the
province to control Phragmites,” she said.
To find out more visit: Conservationist Award Winner

Great Lakes Program Coordinator with Environment and Climate Change Canada shares examples of successful coastal management
Janette Anderson, Great Lakes Program Coordinator with Environment and Climate Change CanadaThere are issues facing lakes, oceans, and ecosystems around the world. There are also successful examples of nations and interested people working together to address these issues, according to Janette Anderson, Great Lakes Program Coordinator with Environment and Climate Change Canada. She was guest speaker at Ausable Bayfield Conservation’s annual conservation awards evening. Anderson presented on the topic Collaboration Works: Lessons Learned from Global Review of Coastal Management.
The presenter pointed out that rivers, lakes, and ecological systems don’t recognize national borders and other boundaries of jurisdiction. She shared a number of national and international examples of governments and people working together to address shoreline issues and to reduce impacts to land, water, and habitat.
To “bring things home” in terms of the Lake Huron coastline “there were a number of success stories that were examined,” she said, including the Lake Huron - Georgian Bay Framework for Community Action ( and the Healthy Lake Huron: Clean Water, Clean Beaches initiative along Lake Huron’s southeast shoreline (
Farther afield, the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan, for example, has achieved 40 per cent reduction in nitrogen and phosphorus discharges between 1987 and 2000 and a 50 per cent decrease in 50 hazardous substance discharges. That action plan has also improved swimming beaches and helped to recover some wildlife populations. That action plan has addressed issues such as excess nutrients, loss of biodiversity, hazardous substances, and food chain disruptions. Since that time, they have acknowledged that more work is needed to address the nutrient loading to the Baltic Sea and further measures need to be implemented urgently.
Governments, agencies, and interested people along coastlines are “recognizing the interconnected nature of their ecosystems, their respective contributions to a greater whole, and the need to take initiative on priority actions,” said Anderson.
The speaker acknowledged there are challenges coordinating a wide management area with zones of influence and impact. It’s difficult “taking an ecosystem approach when the ecosystem is large and comprised of extensive, land, water, rivers, lakes, wetlands, groundwater, and offshore waters, overlaid with human activity.” Some programs address specific issues in specific areas but coastal management is required for a large area with many partners involved in order to reduce impacts to the lake or ocean, nearshore and shoreline.
To learn more visit:  Working together for the shoreline

Wonder, Investigate, Learn, and Discover (WILD) Nature Camp
Summer Nature Day Camps at Morrison Dam Conservation AreaTo register for the July 25-29, 2016 Wonder, Investigate, Learn, and Discover (WILD) Nature Camp is for ages 10 to 12 at Morrison Dam Conservation Area visit the Summer Nature Day Camps Page.
The July 25 to 29 natre camp includes an overnight experience on the Thursday night in tents at Morrison Dam Conservation Area, east of Exeter.
Contact conservation education staff at Ausable Bayfield Conservation, through staff contacts page, or phone 519-235-2610, extension ext 255 or toll-free 1-888-286-2610 for more information. 

Upcoming Events

July 1, 2016

Run, Jump, Play – Every Day at schoolRun, Jump, Play Every Day
Hundreds of Huron County students from kindergarten to Grade 6 are learning the benefits of outdoor play through a new pilot program. Conservation educators from Ausable Bayfield Conservation are providing the program free of charge in four county schools. This can take place thanks to a grant from the Healthy Kids Community Challenge of the County of Huron.
To find out more visit: Run, Jump, Play Every Day

August 29 is charity golf tournament for trail.August 29 is charity golf tournament for trail
The community committee behind the South Huron Trail Fundraiser Golf Tournament has announced the annual charity tourney is to take place on Monday, August 29, 2016. For the first time, organizers are inviting junior golfers to take part as well as adult golfers. 
To find our more visit: South Huron Trail Fundraiser Golf Tournament
Huron County Clean Water Project reaches 2,000 projectsHuron landowners, residents reach 2,000 projects
The Huron County Clean Water Project has provided grants to help fund 2,000 water-quality improvement projects completed by Huron County landowners, residents, and community groups.
To find out more visit: County of Huron Clean Water Project
Ailsa Craig, partners install turtle sign at parkAilsa Craig, partners install turtle sign at park
The village of Ailsa Craig celebrated World Turtle Day in May by installing a new sign at Ailsa Craig Community Park to highlight turtles of the Ausable River. The sign reminds visitors of the many threats turtles face and how local people can get involved to help recover turtle populations in Ontario. 
To find out more visit: Ailsa Craig Community Park Turtle Sign
Healthy Lake Huron: Clean Water, Clean Beaches releases 2016 newsletter on positive actions by communities, landowners, partnersHealthy Lake Huron: Clean Water, Clean Beaches releases 2016 newsletter
The Healthy Lake Huron: Clean Water, Clean Beaches Partnership has released the 2016 newsletter. Print and web copies let people know about work being done to protect water and beaches along the southeast shoreline of Lake Huron from Sarnia to Tobermory.
The 2016 newsletter includes news items on community volunteers cleaning up the shoreline; changing lake levels; finding out about E. coli levels and beach conditions before swimming; septic system best practices; and ways to reduce erosion. The publication also shares how plant cover on fields and gardens can improve soil health and benefit water quality; why it’s so important to keep cigarette butts off the beach; the benefits of rain gardens; the need for stormwater management to keep microplastics out of Lake Huron; and work being done by Chippewas of Kettle and Stony Point First Nation to control “Canada’s worst invasive plant” Phragmites australis (European Common Reed).
To find out more visit: Healthy Lake Huron newsletter
Shoreline Management Plan (SMP) UpdateShoreline Management Plan (SMP) Update
Climate Change Impacts Discussion Paper
A new discussion paper identifies the potential impacts of climate change on coastal processes affecting the shoreline of Lake Huron within the jurisdiction of the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA). This discussion paper has been prepared by Dr. Robin Davidson-Arnott. Download Climate Change Impacts on the Great Lakes
Shoreline Management Plan Update
Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority, a local Steering Committee, and a consulting team are working with the community to update the Shoreline Management Plan (SMP). The ABCA’s first Shoreline Management Plan was approved in 1994. It was created to help address shoreline hazards related to flooding, erosion, and dynamic beaches in ABCA watersheds. That plan, created with the help of the community, has reduced damage along the shoreline during severe storms and high water events. This plan was last updated in 2000.  It is time to update this important plan again. Public open houses are to take place this summer. To stay up-to-date you may subscribe to a free electronic newsletter about the Shoreline Management Plan Update.
There is also a brochure about Frequently Asked Questions.
Gully erosion and risks of slope failure
Above-average lake levels, shoreline erosion, and weather events make it important for property owners to be aware of hazards and risks. Higher-than-average lake levels, combined with high winds and wave action due to sparse ice cover (and heavy rain early in the year) led to erosion at the base of the bluffs and an increase in gully erosion in some areas. This in turn leads to higher risk of slope failures along the lakeshore. To find out more visit: Bluff risk

 Geoff Coulson, Warning Preparedness Meteorologist at Environment and Climate Change Canada.Meteorologist at flood emergency planning meeting
Emergency coordinators and municipal staff were among close to 30 attendees at an annual flood emergency planning meeting hosted by the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA) in March. There were four presenters including Geoff Coulson who is well-known in newspapers and on television and radio as a Warning Preparedness Meteorologist at Environment and Climate Change Canada.
The presenter spoke to flash floods which tend to result from intense rainfall over a relatively small area. Floodwaters can rise and fall rapidly with little or no warning. “By the time the weather pattern has formed, the rain may be occurring already,” Coulson said. Unlike in the United States of America, Canada does not have something that is specifically called a flash flood warning, according to the speaker. In Canada, there are severe thunderstorm warnings that make specific mention of flash flooding as a concern. Land use, topography, and existing ground wetness are factors which can influence whether flash flooding will occur.
The speaker encouraged municipal staff and emergency coordinators to be mindful of all statements and bulletins that are issued by Environment and Climate Change Canada as each message that is issued starts to paint a picture of the weather event. Watches and warnings are reserved for when weather events are closer to occurring but forecasters try to provide information in the lead-up to the event. They may issue a special weather statement in the morning of what might be an active day. The watches themselves are very useful, he said, even if there is not yet enough data yet to support a full warning. “If your area is within the watch, that is something you want to be paying attention to,” he said.
To find out more visit: Flood emergency planning meeting told agencies need to be ready to respond to weather changes

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