Otonabee Conservation: A Year in Review
When I sat down with Dan Marinigh, Otonabee Conservation’s Chief Administrative Officer and asked him to reflect on the past year, I learned a great deal about the scope and variety of the conservation authority’s work. I was impressed by how the programs and services are inter-related and now have a better understanding of why conservation authorities work within the ecological unit known as “the watershed”.
Under the Conservation Authorities Act, Otonabee Conservation is responsible for furthering the conservation, restoration, development and management of natural resources in the watershed. “It’s our mission to be a leader and support a healthy, natural environment through science, stewardship, education, policy and community partnerships”, explained Marinigh.
“2018 was a particularly busy year. We undertook a robust conservation program supported by the largest budget in our 60-year history,” said Marinigh. “We made good progress toward the completion of the project to replace the spillway and reconstruct the Millbrook Dam, in updating floodplain mapping to protect residents and property from flooding, and the release of the 2018 Watershed Report Card which describes the overall health of the watershed.”
Marinigh stressed that “We need natural resources like forests, wetlands, shoreline buffers and floodplains if we want clean water and a vibrant economy. We also need these resources to help protect people and property from flooding and erosion as they absorb and slow the movement of water in addition to filtering out contaminants.”
Looking back on 2018, here’s what I discovered….
- 44,000 campers and day visitors were welcomed at the Warsaw Caves Conservation Area and Beavemead Campground
- 4,174 students participated in Otonabee Conservation’s student education programs including the Spring Water Awareness Program (focusing on the dangers of high water and flooding
during the spring season) and Be a Watershed Steward (delivered in partnership with Camp Kawartha)
- a new bridge was installed on the Jackson Creek Trail (part of The Great Trail) which also provides Otonabee Conservation with emergency access to the Jackson Creek weir – a flood control
- 10,000 native trees and shrubs were planted, restoring habitat, conserving the soil and enhancing biodiversity to a former gravel pit in Selwyn Township
- 21 flood-related messages (Flood Watches and Flood Warnings) were issued and made available on the Flood Watch Hotline and social media
- a Level 1 low water declaration was issued to bring attention to the need to reduce water consumption by 10%; helpful water conservation measures were highlighted
- 317 Planning Act applications were reviewed (site plan control, minor variances, severances, subdivision reviews and other development needs) providing local municipalities with the information needed to make informed decisions about development
- 308 permits were issued under the Conservation Authorities Act, granting permission to landowners to build while protecting their investment from the potential damages due to natural hazards, such as flooding and erosion
- responded to over 160 inquiries and early consultations under the Clean Water Act.
“Investing in local watershed health today ensures a sustainable future for our local communities and economies,” says Marinigh. “Thank you to our municipalities, partners and volunteers who helped us achieve our 2018 goals, and we look forward to a successful 60th year in 2019.”
Submitted by Kathy Reid Coordinator, Communications and Marketing Otonabee Conservation
Otonabee Conservation is marking its 60th anniversary, providing environmental services to area municipalities and residents since 1959.
- Mrs. Christine Nornabell, founding Chair of Otanabee Conservation Foundation, organized the formation of the Otonabee Conservation Foundation in 1968. She chaired the Foundation from 1972-1986.
- The Otonabee Region Conservation supported conservation through fundraising and community involvement from 1968-2018.
- Mrs. Nornabell is remembered as a visionary whose lifelong dedication to conservation has had a profound influence in the Otonabee Region watershed community and beyond.
Conservation Areas and 2019 Discovery Days
Warsaw Caves Conservation Area
Nestled in the valley of the Indian River offers family and group camping, hiking, spelunking, canoeing and more.
Discovery Days: August 10
In the heart of the City offering serviced, and unserviced sites for RVs, travel trailers, tents.
Discovery Days: August 17 & 18
Selwyn Beach Conservation Area
On the shores of Chemong Lake offers hiking, picnicking, boat launch/dock area – access to the Kawartha Lakes.
Harold Town Conservation Area
Offers mountain bike/walking/hiking trails throughout scenic area.
Be sure to enter the 60th Anniversary Photo Contest, search for geocaches and use the new Watershed Map App to discover unique features of 11 local conservation areas.
“Step into Nature and Connect with Us”
“Working with Otonabee Conservation is inspiring to see how they care for the environment for everyone and generations to come. They are amazing people to work with! Congratulations on 60 years and growing strong, we appreciate everything you do!” ~ Ricarts
“This year, as Otonabee Region Conservation Authority (ORCA) celebrates 60 years of nature conservation in Peterborough County, we would like to acknowledge the impact they have made in protecting our natural environment. The skills and knowledge that ORCA brings to the many aspects of ecological protection are second to none. The Township of Selwyn is particularly proud of the many tree plantings and shoreline conservation projects that have taken place in our municipality. In the past 10 years alone, over 25,000 trees have been planted throughout the Township; as well as numerous native plants along our shorelines. Congratulations ORCA on providing 60 years of outstanding, professional service!” ~ Township of Selwyn
“For the past 10 years, we have had the great pleasure of meeting and working with so many remarkable people at Otonabee Conservation on various projects. We truly appreciate the opportunity to partner with you in your work to improve our local area for all residents, visitors and businesses. On behalf of our staff and family, we send congratulations on your 60th anniversary and wish you many years of continued success.” ~ Andy Calder Excavating
“Camp Kawartha wishes to extend a hearty congratulations to Otonabee Conservation for helping to protect and care for our watersheds. Camp Kawartha is privileged to work with Otonabee Conservation in a unique Be A Watershed Steward Program – encouraging children of all ages to learn about the importance of watershed health, sustainability and to engage in direct action by rehabilitating shorelines and planting pollinator gardens. Thanks Otonabee Conservation – may you continue to preserve, protect and enhance the watersheds we all depend on for many years to come!” ~ Camp Kawartha
“It has been a privilege to provide electrical services across our great community for over 60 years, and even more so for organizations with whom you share common values. We have been delighted to be part of projects that have made a difference in our community under the leadership and commitment of Otonabee Conservation. We’ve enjoyed collaborating with their team on numerous projects over the years at the Warsaw Caves, the Millbrook water monitoring area, the Mill at Keene and the various office locations as well. Heartfelt congratulations on the occasion of your 60th anniversary of excellence and service to our community!” ~ Kevin and Trudy Heffernan, Heffernan Electric, Lakefield
“Otonabee Conservation is a valued community partner of Fleming College. They have provided guest speakers, locations for field experiences, and numerous applied learning opportunities for our students. These enrich the education we can provide and allow our students to gain real-world experience, preparing them for future careers. At the same time, the students learn the value of giving back, helping to protect our watersheds, and ensure thriving ecosystems. We are grateful for all the work you do – we see the results every day in our communities and our environment. Congratulations on 60 years!” ~ Dr. Brett Goodwin, Dean, School of Environmental and Natural Resource Sciences, Fleming College
“Congrats to ORCA on Celebrating their 60th Anniversary! Wishing you continued success for years to come! ” ~ Andy Chapman
“GreenUP celebrates Otonabee Conservation on their 60th anniversary! Otonabee Conservation is a vital community organization, and their work helps to enhance the health of our watershed, to protect our source water, and to preserve our aquatic ecosystems for future generations. GreenUP is fortunate to partner with Otonabee Conservation on a wide range of impactful local programs, including the Peterborough Children’s Water Festival, Sustainable Urban Neighbourhoods, and Ready for Rain. GreenUP is grateful for the ongoing work of Otonabee Conservation, and we look forward to many more years of collaboration.” ~ Peterborough Green-Up
“Over the last 20+ years, I have participated with the ORCA on land stewardship projects and forest management planning for their various Conservation Area properties. I also have a working knowledge of their water management responsibilities – during high water and flood situations, floodplain definition, monitoring of ground and surface water quality. These initiatives support quality of life, human health, and our local economy – contributions often outside of public awareness. Working with ORCA’s committed, professional staff is always a great experience – I encourage everyone to become more aware of and support their programs.” ~ Central Ontario Forest Consulting
“We are grateful to have a strong community partner in ORCA, and wish them a happy 60th anniversary. With ORCA as one of the lead agencies, over 10 years of work has resulted in the Kawarthas Naturally Connected Preferred Scenario for an intact natural heritage system of our region. Kawartha Land Trust looks forward to working together toward greater land protection and conservation in our region.” ~ Kawartha Land & Trust
“We would like to thank ORCA for choosing us their preferred auto repair facility. We strive to keep their fleet maintained for continued service in a fast and reliable manner. We understand how important Orca is for the community & wish them continued success for years to come.” ~ Larry Dow Auto Staff
“We extend congratulations and sincere appreciation to the Board, staff and volunteers of ORCA on the occasion of their 60th Anniversary. Your regard, concern and safekeeping of our environment, through watershed management and conservation practices benefits us all. As stewards of our most valued natural assets, you contribute significantly to our lifestyle and well-being, and for this, we are most appreciative.” ~ LLF Lawyers
“It’s a pleasure working with Otonabee Conservation, the staff is very professional and they have extensive knowledge of the plant material they purchase from us, it’s a wonderful working partnership. Congratulations on your 60 years, keep up the great work!! Clean Air, Clean Water for Life!!” ~ Paul, Lucas, Kyle & Jeff Richardson, Pineneedle Farms