Ottawa Stewardship Council provides grant to Friends of Stittsville Wetlands

(Left to right: Janet Stavinga, President, FoSW; Steven Klein, Vice-President, FoSW; Janet Mason, Chair of the Ottawa Stewardship Council; and Stittsville Councillor Glen Gower. The photo was taken not far from the Poole Creek Bridge off of Beverly Street and Coach Avenue, just north of the Johnny Leroux Arena. Photo: provided)

“Protect, restore, regenerate, and re-wild Stittsville’s Wetlands for future generations.” The mission of the Friends of Stittsville Wetlands (FoSW) is building momentum as the new volunteer, community-based organization receives its first grant from another local environmental non-profit.

FoSW are thrilled to announce that they have received a major grant of $3,500 from the Ottawa Stewardship Council (OSC) on February 1, 2024. The funding will help the newly created not-for-profit organization build its capacity to protect a provincially significant wetland located on the doorstep of Stittsville. The wetland is continually threatened by development pressures, as well as policy changes announced in late 2022 by the Province of Ontario.

The unique wetland is an ecological treasure, located less than one kilometre from Stittsville’s Village Square Park. It is accessible by the TransCanada Trail – Canada’s national trail and the longest network of multi-use recreational trails in the world.

The wetland, known as the Goulbourn Wetland Complex, covers over 906 hectares, and provides a home to Species at Risk including Blanding TurtlesSnapping Turtles, and over 150 species of birds (eBird), including four Species at Risk. This wetland also serves as a habitat for a variety of species, including Northern Spring Peeper, bullfrog, muskrat, raccoon, beaver, mink, red fox, coyote, white-tailed deer, and red squirrel.

(Two beavers spotted by Sylvie Sabourin at the Goulbourn Wetland Complex in September 2021.)

The portion of the wetland of particular interest to the Friends of Stittsville Wetlands is located immediately west of the urban boundary of Stittsville and north and south of the TransCanada Trail.

(The Goulbourn Wetland Complex as viewed in September, 2021 from the ‘lookout’ along the Trans-Canada Trail and where the headwaters of Poole Creek are found. Photo: Stittsville Central)

This portion also includes the headwaters of Poole Creek, which runs through the heart of Stittsville. The upper portion of Poole Creek, west of Stittsville Main Street, is considered a cold or cool water stream – and one of only two in Ottawa. It is recognized as a crucial and rare aquatic habitat. The long-term health of Poole Creek is dependent on the overall health of its headwaters, found within the Goulbourn Wetland Complex.

Trout Pool, Upper Poole Creek. Photo by Nick Stow.
(The Trout Pool, Upper Poole Creek. Photo: Nick Stowe)

Janet Stavinga, President of FoSW, stated, “This funding from the Ottawa Stewardship Council will help the Friends of Stittsville Wetlands increase public awareness and build community action to protect our wetlands and reverse the impact of the changes made by the Province of Ontario in 2022. These policy changes rolled back decades of progressive environmental protection measures and we are already seeing adverse impacts on the health of our wetlands.” Stavinga is a former Mayor of Goulbourn, and former City of Ottawa Councillor.

“The OSC shares FoSW’s mission of protecting these wetlands, which provide ecosystem services like carbon sequestration, water storage and release during drought and flooding, and improving water quality,” said OSC Chair Janet Mason.

“This funding from the Ottawa Stewardship Council is a great step in supporting this new organization dedicated to advocating for the protection of our wetlands,” said Stittsville Councillor Glen Gower. “It is also recognition of all the hard work that Janet Stavinga, Steve Klein, and community have put into establishing the Friends of Stittsville Wetlands since last Spring. Congratulations!”

Funds for FoSW came from a reserve held by OSC, received in 2014, from Waste Management as part of its community compensation for the landfill on Carp Road. “OSC is glad that the compensation funds continue to be used for environmental stewardship in Stittsville that benefits all residents and wildlife,” stated Mason.


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