Category Archives: Nature & Environment

PHOTOS: Thanksgiving Monday on the Crazy Horse Trail

Harold Moore saw our post this morning with suggestions for nature trails near Stittsville. He went out and explored the Crazy Horse Trail north of Stittsville, and sent along these great photos. Check out Friends of the Carp Hills on Facebook for more info about the trail.  (Click on any photo for larger size.)

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


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COMMENT: Five places to enjoy the great outdoors on Thanksgiving Monday

(PHOTO: Lookout over the marsh at the head of Poole Creek, along the Trans Canada Trail just west of Stittsville.  Photo by Glen Gower.)

As I sit down to write this it’s a very crisp (1°C) but bright Thanksgiving Monday. I hope you can take some time today to get outside for a run, a walk or a bike ride and enjoy one of the many trails we have close to us in Stittsville. (Bring your camera too – the fall colours are incredible.) Here are five of my favourite paths nearby. Continue reading


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Pipeline spill would impact Ottawa drinking water, says report

(Press release via Ecology Ottawa)

A spill from the proposed Energy East pipeline could have catastrophic impacts on the Rideau, Mississippi and Ottawa rivers, and put the region’s drinking water at risk. These are the findings of a new report by the independent Montreal-based technical firm Savaria Experts-Conseils Inc. Continue reading


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Stittsville Public School receives grants for outdoor classroom project

Stittsville Public School is even closer to moving forward with an outdoor classroom project thanks to two major grants announced in recent weeks.

The project has received a $9,000 grant from the TD Friends of the Environment program, and $2,800 from the City of Ottawa’s Community Environmental Projects Grant Program. That’s in addition to $10,000 already raised by the school’s parent council. Continue reading


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Severe drought conditions declared in Mississippi Valley

Water levels were very low this past weekend in the Goulbourn Wetland, which empties into Poole Creek.

(press release)

Earlier today the Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority issued a severe drought warning for several sub watersheds of the Mississippi River. This includes the Fall River, Clyde River, Indian River and Carp River watersheds. Continue reading


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Following Poole Creek, Part 3

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Poole Creek may be Stittsville’s most important natural feature. It meanders from west to north east, crossing through neighbourhoods old and new, playing a crucial role in our community’s ecology. In the final part of this series, ecologist Nick Stow follows the creek as it crosses Hazeldean Road. There, it passes through one of Stittsville’s newest neighbourhoods, where it’s in the midst of a transformation from farmland to forest. All photos by Nick Stow.)


 

PAST SWEETNAM DRIVE, POOLE CREEK CHANGES CHARACTER AGAIN. After a short run out of sight, it crosses under busy Hazeldean Road and enters one of the City’s newest neighbourhoods.  Where it once meandered through farmland, the creek nows winds between recent or still-developing subdivisions.  Deeper, clay soils have allowed the creek to carve a valley dense in places with Manitoba maple, crack willow and thorny thickets.  Following the creek becomes more difficult.  With construction still underway, the trail remains incomplete.  Good vantage points exist up and downstream of Huntmar Drive, beside one of the established subdivisions. Continue reading


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Following Poole Creek, Part 2

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Poole Creek may be Stittsville’s most important natural feature. It meanders from west to north east, crossing through neighbourhoods old and new, playing a crucial role in our community’s ecology. In the second part of this series, ecologist Nick Stow follows the creek as it heads east of Stittsville Main Street, entering a stretch that remains largely unsurveyed and uninventoried. All photos by Nick Stow.)


JUST EAST OF MAIN STREET, POOLE CREEK TURNS NORTH AND DISAPPEARS into a large remnant of Stittsville’s once extensive wetlands.  Almost inaccessible, the wetland remains largely unsurveyed and uninventoried.  However, I suspect that an bioinventory would likely reveal several species at risk, especially Blanding’s turtle, which is known from the Goulbourn Wetland Complex and several isolated observations elsewhere in the village. Continue reading


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Following Poole Creek, Part 1

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Poole Creek may be Stittsville’s most important natural feature. It meanders from the Trans Canada Trail to the Carp River, crossing through neighbourhoods old and new, playing a crucial role in our community’s ecology. In this series, ecologist Nick Stow follows the creek from start to finish, looking at how it changes as it travels through wetlands, forests and new subdivisions. All photos by Nick Stow.)

I’M CROUCHED LOW, SLOWLY CREEPING THROUGH YOUNG FERNS AND CEDARS TOWARD A SHADED POOL, where my instincts tell me a brown trout should be resting.  Sunlight and reflections dapple the surface of the water.  In the shadow of the bank, the sandy, leaf-littered creek bottom looks bronze.  Freezing against a tree trunk, I concentrate on the patches of bronze, looking for movement.  After a few seconds, I can make out the shape, then the speckled, grey back and splash of gold on the sides, holding near the bottom.  Perhaps 14 inches long, and just over a pound.  I raise my camera, and try to slide surreptitiously into a better position.  With a quick flip of its tail, the fish is gone.

Continue reading


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Blanding’s Turtle habitat to be affected by Potter’s Key development

(File photo: Blanding’s Turtle along Hazeldean Road.  Photo by Ken McRae.)

Minto is proposing several measures to protect Blanding’s Turtles at the new Potter’s Key development on Hazeldean Road. They’ve applied to Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) for permission to proceed with the development, which could impact the animals, classified as a Species at Risk in Ontario (SARO). Continue reading


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NOTEBOOK: Wild parsnip, mosquitos, and a cross-Canada bike trip

DOG WALKERS BEWARE

Wild parsnip south of Abbott Street. Photos by Jonathan Seguin

Wild parsnip south of Abbott Street. Photos by Jonathan Seguin

Jonathan Seguin sent along some photos and warning about wild parsnip along the trails south of Abbott Street and east of Shea. Colloquially known as the “Abbott Street Dog Park”, it’s a very popular area for dogwalkers, even though it’s on private property.

The yellow weed is all over the place in our area, especially near ditches, pathways and fields. The plant’s sap can cause skin and eye irritation, and make the skin prone to burning and blistering when exposed to the sun.  (It’s not as big a risk for dogs, although sap could be transferred from their fur to human skin.)

Seguin knows all about the dangers of wild parsnip: he works for one of the companies the City has contracted to do the spraying. “I’ve had the rash multiple times so I’m just looking out for the Stittsville locals so they can avoid it. It is not fun and gets quite bad unless you know how to handle it,” he says.

The City of Ottawa is spending close to $200,000 to combat the weed this year, including mowing, herbicides and a public awareness campaign. If you see wild parsnip on public property, you can report it to the City by calling 3-1-1.

The Abbott Street land is private property, so the city won’t touch it.  (And technically, dog walkers are trespassing.)  Wear shoes, long pants and long sleeves, stay out of the weeds, and if you do come in contact, wash the contaminated area as soon as possible. See a doctor if you notice any skin irritation. More about wild parsnip here…


BUZZ KILL

Kanata North Councillor Marianne Wilkinson says her ward’s Nuisance Mosquito Control Program is working.

“They’ve told me that they can finally enjoy their backyards, eat outside and encounter no mosquitoes rising out of the grass when they’re cutting it,” she wrote in a recent email to residents.

Every household had a levy of about $20 added to their tax bill this year to pay to spray larvicide in wetland areas to prevent mosquito larvae from hatching.

I live in the north east part of Stittsville and I’ve noticed fewer mosquitos buzzing around my porch and backyard this year.

Meanwhile, the City of Ottawa, university of Ottawa and G.D.G Canada are collaborating on an ecological impact study to better understand the effects of the larvicide treatment on insects closely related to mosquitos. You can read about that research here…


JESS BIKES CANADA

Jess Bikes Canada / Photo by Kim Bonin
Jess Bikes Canada / Photo by Kim Bonin

Thanks to Kim Bonin for snapping this pic of Jessica Phelan while she passed through Stittsville along the Trans Canada Trail on Saturday. She’s on a 9,000km trek across Canada called Jess Bikes Canada, raising money for Gillian’s Place, a shelter for abused women. You can read more about her trip here.


KANATA CENTRAL BIA IN THE WORKS

Businesses in Kanata Centrum and the surrounding area are looking at forming a Business Improvement Area (BIA).  The group would be known as the Kanata Central BIA and include shops and businesses in Kanata Centrum, Signature Centre and Kanata Commons, along with Canadian Tire and the Marriott hotel. They have a Facebook page set up here and an email address, kanatacentralbia@gmail.com.

Stittsville doesn’t have a BIA in place, although Councillor Shad Qadri met with business owners last November to talk about establishing one.

Kanata Central BIA boundary
Proposed boundary for the Kanata Central BIA.

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LETTER: Community should have had more notice about construction

PHOTO: Construction begins at Porter Place, June 2016.

Re: Sign’s up at Porter Place

The community is not amused by the description of Patten Homes’ Porter Place “Closer to nature, closer to the right pace of life. Porter Place promises inspired family-friendly living in a new community knitted into an established neighbourhood you will be proud to call ‘home’.”

The residents adjacent to the newly named Porter Place were not impressed by lack of communication from the City or the Developer as heavy equipment rolled on site the past week.

Residents were not given any previous notice (as required by the City of Ottawa Plan of Subdivision Conditions) even though the developer claims to have sent it weeks ago. Notification came to the SouthWest Stittsville Community Association from the Developer late on the afternoon of June 21 to advise the community that heavy equipment would be onsite starting June 27. Environmental protection measures would be put in place which would include Silt and Snow fencing along the Urban Natural Feature (UNF) beginning as early as June 22.

Regretfully once again the City and Developer have not taken the existing residents into consideration or shown any neighbourly courtesy with proper notice, nor have they held the Wildlife Protocol (which City of Ottawa Planner Mike Schmidt calls best practises and therefore not enforceable) to any standard. The property and adjacent UNF are currently hosting nesting birds, ducks, geese as well as ponding frogs and turtles during their reproduction season.

We can only assume, as a timeline has not been communicated, that this is the beginning of the site preparation and we can expect nothing less than aggregate dumping for the next couple of months. Residents should plan accordingly (whatever that means) and report any upset or displeasure to Mike Schmidt, Planner, City of Ottawa Mike.schmidt@ottawa.ca

Jillian McKim
Stittsville


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A FINE BALANCE: Study looks at why Goulbourn wetlands are changing

(ABOVE: Looking north from the Trans Canada Trail, west of Stittsville, June 2016. Photo illustration.)

“No interrupting, no swearing, no shouting. We’re all here to be heard, and this is a professional meeting,” said the moderator.

She was laying down the ground rules for a public meeting on Monday about the results of a long-awaited study looking at wetlands in the area. Continue reading


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CBC: Stittsville farmers lose crops, cry foul over wild parsnip purge

(FILE PHOTO: Wild parsnip growing along the ditch on Huntley Road south of Stittsville. Photo by Barry Gray.)

From CBC Ottawa:

Organic farmers near the Ottawa community of Stittsville say they’ve had to destroy portions of their crops because the city botched its notification process for spraying herbicides to kill wild parsnip.

Wild parsnip — officially labelled a noxious weed in Ontario last year — has become a concern because the plant’s toxic sap can cause skin rashes. The weed also wipes out other species, including flowering plant species that attract bees.

The city sent certified organic farmer Dick Coote of Littledown Farms a notice in the mail saying he could opt out of herbicide spraying along his fields on Mansfield Road. The notice said the city would put up signs in advance in areas it planned to spray to give Coote time to opt out.

But the signs never appeared, he said.

Read the full story…


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