Category Archives: Nature & Environment

BOUGHNER: Today is the most important shovelling day of the year

Fun piece in the Citizen today from our Stittsville neighbour Joe Boughner.

It’s your old pal Joe the Suburban Dad here with the first “Driveway Shovelling Tips from a Suburban Dad” offering of the season.

So tie on your scarves, lace up your boots and dig out your YakTrax. We’ve got work to do.

Now sure, friends, we’ve had a few false alarms already. The more keen of us have even been out for a few practice runs with our trusty shovels.

But aside from the few, the proud and the obsessive, nature’s thrown nothing at us that a bit of patience and an unseasonably high temperature upswing couldn’t handle.

But this? This one’s different. This is the official start of driveway shovelling season.

Read the full story here…


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Where the wild things are…

(Photo via of Kathleen Edwards.)

StittsvilleCentral.ca reader Kathleen Edwards Tweeted us this photo from a recent walk along the Trans Canada Trail, west of West Ridge Drive:

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VIDEO: Aerial footage of the Carp River

(PHOTO: Dr. Steven Cooke and students beside the habitat pond at the Carp River Restoration area. Photo by Janet Mason.)

Here’s an interesting perspective of the Carp River, south north of the Queensway:

Here’s some background about the video, via the Ottawa Stewardship Council: 

In fall 2017 a student team from the Group Research in Environmental Science Project at Carleton University are undertaking a study that will form the basis for monitoring programs and future research projects.

The Carp River Restoration Project commenced in 2016 and  incorporates approximately 6000 metres of stream restoration, habitat improvements (ponds and wet meadows), and recreational pathways in a large, rapidly urbanizing area running parallel to Terry Fox Drive in Kanata.

The student’s project will assemble available information about the Carp River before and after the restoration to establish a baseline description of the restored section. The baseline information and the restoration’s objectives will serve as the foundation on which to base an educational and interpretive program, begin monitoring programs, and conduct research projects related to the efficacy of the restoration.

We are partnered with the Friends of the Carp River for this project.  Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority is providing subject matter expertise.

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And more background from Friends of the Carp River:

…The third year Carleton University Environmental Science students completed their project about the Carp River Restoration area along Terry Fox Drive in Kanata.  The students outlined four recommendations related to the restoration:

  1. adding interpretive signs to educate and engage the community;
  2. monitoring water quality, particularly conductivity, which is a result of metal ions and toxins from road salting that can adversely affect some species causing infertility or death;
  3. monitoring by “citizen scientists” of the changing ecosystem of plants, animals, invasive species, and water quality as the site matures; and
  4. engaging schools in nature education programs on the site including building bird and bat boxes, and recording species.

The students prepared a short video about the site… The view shown in the link is from a point halfway along the restored river, looking north from over the Queensway.  Terry Fox Drive is to the right.


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PHOTO: Stittsville’s all-weather bike trails

What a great selfie from Bob Herres, taken earlier this week along the Trans Canada Trail. That’s his good friend Diesel, a part Husky, in the background.

(We love seeing photos from in and around our community. Please send your pics to us at feedback@stittsvillecentral.ca)


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PHOTO: Autumn on the Old Quarry Trail

Hiking the Old Quarry Trail near Eagleson/Hazeldean. Photo by Emma Moore.
Hiking the Old Quarry Trail near Eagleson/Hazeldean. Photo by Emma Moore.

Thanks to Emma Moore for sharing this photo. The Old Quarry Trail is located across from the Hazeldean Mall, east of Eagleson.

(We love seeing photos from in and around our community. Please send your pics to us at feedback@stittsvillecentral.ca)

 


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NOTEBOOK: Clearing begins on CRT lands & Shea Woods

We knew it was inevitable but it was still a shock this weekend to see the trees already coming down along the edge of the Shea Woods.

A strip of cedar trees and brush along the east side of the forest has been cut down, and the field to the east is being cleared and is surrounded by construction fencing.

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NOTEBOOK: City moves a step closer to protecting part of Shea Woods

(PHOTO: Mayor Jim Watson and Councillor Shad Qadri joined local residents on Tuesday to announce plans to protect the Shea Woods. Photos by Frank Cianciullo.)

The City of Ottawa hosted a media event today to announce a $1.5-million agreement to conserve part of the Shea Woods, a cedar forest located southeast of Holy Spirit Church and a popular spot for dog walkers.

The forest is currently owned by CRT Developments, who are planning a housing development in the area.  A City of Ottawa press release (included below) outlines how the City intends to protected the forested area. Continue reading


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SHEA WOODS: ‘More than just a forest’

(PHOTO: Afternoon in Shea Woods, January 2017. Photo by Glen Gower.)

“…fallen branches become magic wands, old rotting tree trunks become balance beams that they must cross while escaping from some imaginary, forest-dwelling bad guys. They have favourite trees with perfect climbing branches. The Shea Woods really is more than just a forest…”


Mayor Jim Watson, Sabrina Kemp, and Stittsville Councillor Shad Qadri at Tuesday's announcement. Photos by Frank Cianciullo.
Mayor Jim Watson, Sabrina Kemp, and Stittsville Councillor Shad Qadri at Tuesday’s announcement. Photos by Frank Cianciullo.

 

(This is an edited version of Sabrina Kemp’s remarks at today’s Shea Woods announcement.)

I was first introduced to the Shea Woods just over 10 years ago. A friend suggested it as a wonderful spot to walk our new puppy. We were newly married and new to the Stittsville Community. I quickly realized how lucky we were to have such a beautiful natural space right in our community.

During my quiet walks there, I was enchanted by the mature cedars, the fern beds that grow in the open, sunlit areas of the forest floor and the old stone fences that border the woods – left behind, I would imagine as I walked, by one of Stittsville’s early settlers.

As the seasons change, so do the Shea Woods – from the apple blossoms in the spring, to the warm colours of the sugar maples in the fall and the dusting of snow on the trails in the winter.

In my early days of walking there, I met a gentleman who told me he was one of the first neighbours to start marking trails through the Shea Woods. At that time, he had already been walking there daily with his dog for years. Clearly, this was a special place for more than just me.

Soon, we started walking through the Shea Woods with our children. The minute they step into the woods, their imaginations soar – fallen branches become magic wands, old rotting tree trunks become balance beams that they must cross while escaping from some imaginary, forest-dwelling bad guys. They have favourite trees with perfect climbing branches.

The Shea Woods really is more than just a forest. In the middle of the woods, there is a tree where neighbours hang plastic containers filled with dog treats to share. The tree is decorated each year at Christmas.

There are daily meet-ups at the big rock and springtime clean-ups. In the age of IPhones and PlayStations, the Shea Woods is a meeting place for neighbours, a place to catch-up with old friends, and meet new ones.

It is an easily accessible natural space for our children to explore and as adults, a place to quietly walk, listening to the birds and the wind in the trees.

We all know that trees and natural green spaces are important. We know that trees filter the air we breathe and help prevent roadside runoff from getting into our waterways. We know that trees help reduce flooding, fight soil erosion, cool the air, muffle urban noise and increase property values.

We are also starting to learn more and more about how important time in natural spaces is to both the physical and mental health for adults and children alike. It has been shown to reduce stress, improve cognitive function and feelings of well-being.

Today, we celebrate moving from knowledge and planning to concrete action. Accessible green spaces like the Shea Woods are one of the things that makes Stittsville such a wonderful community to live in. Thank you to Councillor Qadri, Mayor Watson and the City Planning Team for their efforts in making this a reality.

The Shea Woods, September 2017. Photo by Glen Gower
The Shea Woods, September 2017. Photo by Glen Gower.

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PHOTOS: Sunday evening’s storm cuts power to thousands in Stittsville

High gusts of wind and torrential downpours hit Stittsville around 6:00pm on Sunday evening, cutting power to over 10,000 homes. About 20 minutes later, Environment Canada issued a wind warning for gusts up to 100km/h, and a gust of 97km/h was reported at the Ottawa Airport – the highest recorded wind speed in 20 years. Here are some of your photos from during and after the event.

Do you have a photo from today’s storm? Send it along to feedback@stittsvillecentral.ca Continue reading


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TransCanada drops plans for Energy East pipeline

TransCanada announced today that it has cancelled plans for the Energy East pipeline. It would have would have carried 1.1-million barrels of crude oil each day across the country, including a stretch on the western boundary of Stittsville.  (The photo above shows the part of the pipeline route, looking south from Jinkinson Road.)

Here’s a press release from Ecology Ottawa, who have been campaigning against the project for several years:

Ecology Ottawa is celebrating TransCanada’s announcement earlier today that officially terminated the company’s proposed Energy East pipeline project. Energy East, which would ship 1.1 million barrels of diluted bitumen across Ottawa, posed a direct threat to the city’s water, land and climate. Since the pipeline project was announced in 2013, Ecology Ottawa has been working in communities across Ottawa to mobilize resistance to the pipeline.

“TransCanada will tell you it has abandoned Energy East because of technical reasons. They will cite the price of oil and the additional burden of new National Energy Board requirements as the reason for scuttling the project,” says Robb Barnes, Ecology Ottawa’s Acting Executive Director. “More important still is the fact that Energy East lost on political grounds. Like other communities along the pipeline route, Ottawans rejected this project because it threatened the health of their city and was completely incompatible with our community doing its fair share to fight climate change.”

Ecology Ottawa volunteers have been working for years to raise awareness and mobilize opposition to the proposed pipeline project. Since 2013, over 8,000 residents of the city signed a petition opposing Energy East. Volunteers have been knocking on thousands of doors in their communities, holding information sessions, engaging with their elected officials and staging rallies to demonstrate their opposition to the project.

“The end of Energy East is a moment to reflect on the real energy priorities of the 21st century,” says Anthony Garoufalis-Auger, Ecology Ottawa’s Clean Energy Organizer. “Instead of dirty pipeline projects that benefit massive transnational companies and produce few jobs, we can now renew our focus on the renewable energy transition, where the jobs are more plentiful, more local, and don’t threaten the environment. Ottawa can play a leadership role in this transition, but we need to see consistent leadership from our elected officials.”


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THE GREAT OUTDOORS: Stittsville Public’s new open air classroom

(PHOTO: Students, staff, volunteers and elected officials took part in a ribbon-cutting ceremony — complete with kid-sized scissors — at Stittsville Public School on Friday, September 29. It marked the official opening of a new outdoor classroom. Photo by Lorrie Hayes.)


“Parent Council saw this as an opportunity to get the kids out and moving while still considering the curriculum and academics. This is an opportunity to bring the learning outside. To be a place and a space for movement and fresh air. I think we’re starting to understand that with kids having difficulties concentrating at school, there’s a feeling that more movement and more fresh air might contribute to helping some of those situations.”
–Sabrina Kemp, former co-chair of the Stittsville Public School Parent Council


Sabrina Kemp is ecstatic for the opening of a new outdoor classroom at Stittsville Public School.  An official ribbon cutting ceremony was held on Friday in front of students and staff.

“It’s fantastic, I’ve dropped by a few times and it’s great to see the kids playing. And I love seeing that the school can accept some risk, and the benefit that comes from that,” she says. Continue reading


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New guidelines for planting street trees in subdivisions

(via City of Ottawa)

Ottawa’s new subdivisions may soon have more tree-lined streets, thanks to guidelines received by the City’s Planning Committee today.

The new guidelines offer flexibility to the 2005 Clay Soils Policy when it comes to small and medium-sized trees under certain conditions. With more than half of the vacant land within Ottawa’s urban boundary potentially containing sensitive marine clay soils, this update will increase the number, size and variety of street trees in new subdivisions. Continue reading


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Continue to protect yourself against West Nile virus in Ottawa

(via City of Ottawa)

Ottawa Public Health (OPH) has received reports of 13 human cases of West Nile virus (WNV) illness in Ottawa residents as of September 18. The previous highest number of WNV cases in Ottawa was 8 in 2012. With temperatures well above average for this time of year, mosquitoes carrying WNV continue to bite humans. OPH is advising residents to protect themselves against mosquito bites. Mosquitoes most likely to transmit WNV (Culex pipiens, the northern house mosquito) are found in urban areas in and around homes. Testing has shown mosquitoes carrying WNV in all the urban areas of Ottawa. These mosquitoes will pose a risk on warm days until there have been several hard frosts.

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