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Why We Do What We Do in the Ganaraska Forest

If you have walked the trails of the Ganaraska Forest, you have probably noticed the many stands of Pine plantations, with some that are marked with orange paint. These Pine plantations, which cover over 5,000 acres of the 11,000 acre Ganaraska Forest, are being managed to allow them to become a healthier and more diverse forest.

In the early 20th century, Ganaraska Forest lands were almost entirely covered by barren, rapidly-eroding blowsands, the result of early, destructive farming practices. The Red Pine in particular could survive in such harsh conditions, stabilizing the blowing sands, and growing into healthy forests to manage for timber production. The trees also provide source water protection for the Ganaraska Watershed. Over time, the conifers have grown and have enriched the soil; and now, the selective thinning process will allow other species to regenerate to create a more diverse and resilient forest for the future.

The Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority (GRCA) is managing these forests on top of the Oak Ridges Moraine to maintain their health and productivity, fulfilling its mandate of “Clean Water, Healthy Land for Healthy Communities”. A small portion of the conifer overstorey will be removed every 10-20 years. These thinnings gradually allow more light into the understorey of the stand and encourage more shade-loving species to establish, survive, and thrive. Good forest management will ensure that the Ganaraska Forest can continually provide sustainable, renewable, locally-sourced wood – the lumber for your house, the paper in your favourite book,  and the utility poles that bring us electricity and phone service -  just to mention a few .

While efforts are made to conduct harvesting operations in ways that reduce impacts on recreational forest uses and on the environment, visitors to the Ganaraska Forest should be aware that logging activity takes place annually from mid-summer through the winter months. To learn more about how and why the GRCA is sustainably managing the forest for your continued benefit and enjoyment, please contact us. We’re happy to discuss the history and the future management of southern Ontario’s largest, contiguous forest.

Written By: Fraser Smith, GRCA Forester


GRCA Issues Watershed Conditions Statement

The Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority advises that a weather system will begin pushing into the watershed later this evening bringing precipitation with rain. As the system intensifies, heavier rainfall is forecast for overnight into Wednesday.
 
With total rainfall amounts forecast to be in the range of 15 to 30 mm over the next 24 hours, water levels and flows in local streams will be on the rise. The remaining snowpack will also be melting and contributing runoff, while frozen ground conditions may prevent infiltration resulting in additional runoff to local streams. All water bodies, including ponds, streams and many ditches will be flowing higher than normal. No flooding is anticipated at this time.

Additionally, slippery stream banks, and fast flowing, cold water will create hazardous conditions around bodies of water. As a result, local streams and rivers will become dangerous, especially in the vicinity of culverts and bridges. Children should be warned to stay away from all watercourses. 

This Watershed Conditions Statement will be in effect through Wednesday, February 3, 2016. Conservation Authority staff will continue to monitor watershed conditions and provide updates as necessary. Should you have any questions or wish to report flooding, please contact the following GRCA staff at 905-885-8173.


Mike Smith                                                      Mark Peacock, P.Eng.
Flood Operations Officer                                Flood Forecasting and Warning Coordinator


GRCA’s Family Cross-Country Ski Day Postponed Due to Lack of Snow

This event has been cancelled due to lack of snow. 

The Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority (GRCA) is crossing their fingers for more snow! Originally scheduled for Saturday, January 30th, the GRCA Family Cross-Country Ski and Snowshoe Day, taking place at the Ganaraska Forest Centre, has been rescheduled for February 6th 2016.

There are still spots available, so please call to register for this fun event in the beautiful Ganaraska Forest. Start the session off with some basic instruction and end it with a guided ski through the forest. There are two sessions to choose from: 9:30am and 1:00pm – both lasting about 2 hours. After your ski, if you’re feeling up to, why not attempt snowshoeing?!

There is a $20 per person fee which includes equipment rental. Children must be 8 years of age or older to participate.

To get outdoors with the GRCA, participants must pre-pay and register by calling 905.885.8173.


4th Annual Kawartha Farm Stewardship Workshop

The Kawartha Farm Stewardship Collaborative (KFSC) invites farmers to attend the 4th Annual Kawartha Farm Stewardship Workshop on Saturday, February 6, 2016 at Westdale United Church (1509 Sherbrooke Street) in Peterborough.

The full-day workshop will feature presentations and exhibits on:
~ Climate Change – a hot topic on the Farm, with Don McCabe, President of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, Professor Ralph Martin of the University of Guelph and Jessica Young of Trent University;
~ Drinking Water Source Protection Updates and your Farm, with Terri Cox of the Otonabee-Peterborough Source Protection Area and Mike Wilson of the Kawartha-Haliburton Source Protection Area;
~ Invasive plants and their impacts on agriculture, with Collin Cassin of the Ontario Invasive Plant Council; and
~ Funding and Technical Support for farm stewardship projects.

Tickets to the event are $25.00 per person and include a hot lunch. Pre-registration is required.
Register online at  www.kawarthafarmstewardship.org. For additional information contact Farms at Work at 705-743-7671 or info@farmsatwork.ca.

The members of the Kawartha Farm Stewardship Collaborative include local and provincial farm and stewardship organizations - Farms at Work, Bay of Quinte Remedial Action Plan, Ducks Unlimited Canada, Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority, Kawartha Conservation, Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority, Lower Trent Conservation, Otonabee Conservation, Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association, and the Peterborough County Stewardship Council - working together to assist the agricultural communities of east central Ontario in carrying out on-farm environmental projects and stewardship. For more information on the KFSC, please visit www.kawarthafarmstewardship.org.




GRCA Issues Watershed Conditions Statement

Flood Potential: Low 

The Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority advises that a weather system will begin pushing into the watershed tomorrow bringing precipitation with rain. As the system intensifies, heavier rainfall is forecast for overnight into Sunday.
 
With total rainfall amounts forecast to be in the range of 25 to 40 mm over the next three days, water levels and flows in local streams will be on the rise. The snowpack will also be melting and adding runoff to local streams. All water bodies, including ponds, streams and many ditches will be flowing higher than normal. No flooding is anticipated at this time.

Additionally, slippery stream banks, and fast flowing, cold water will create hazardous conditions around bodies of water. As a result, local streams and rivers will become dangerous, especially in the vicinity of culverts and bridges.  Children should be warned to stay away from all watercourses. 

This Watershed Conditions Statement will be in effect through Sunday, January 10, 2016.

Mike Smith                                                      Mark Peacock, P.Eng.
Flood Operations Officer                                Flood Forecasting and Warning Coordinator


Roughing in in Winter - The Ruffed Grouse

Ruffed Grouse are a fairly common bird in this area, and a popular game bird amongst hunters.   They are about the size of a small chicken is camouflaged with mottled brown feathers to blend into the forest where they spent most of their life.  They like to live in mixed-wood forests, and seem to thrive in portions of forest that have experienced a natural disturbance or are in an early succession stage.
 
During the winter, ruffed grouse depend on snow as a roosting site.  If the snow is soft and a foot or more in depth, a grouse will build a tunnel by plunging into the snow from a tree.  Then, with its wings and feet it will extend the tunnel, by up to 10 feet! They will bury themselves in the snow in order to provide insulating cover and protection from predators.   They exit their tunnel by flying up through the roof of their roost.  Ruffed grouse will also develop fleshy projections on the sides of their toes.  These comb-like nubs, which will fall off in the spring, increase the surface area of their feet, acting like snowshoes.   This increased surface area is also believed to help grouse grip onto icy tree branches. Additionally, grouse develop special feathers partially covering that extend down its beak to cover its nostrils to help it breath the cold winter air.  They also have feathers that partially covering their legs, acting as insulating long johns. 

Once the weather warms up, the drumming of male ruffed grouse is a common sound in our forests.  The male will perch on a fallen tree or stump, and quickly rotates its wings forward and backward. The air that rushes into the temporary vacuum beneath the wings creates a miniature vacuum, generating a deep, thumping sound wave that carries up to a quarter of a mile.  This is done to attract a mate and defend their territory.  After mating, females choose a nest site at the base of a tree, stump, or rock in areas with sparse ground cover that give a clear view of predators. Nests may also be built in brush piles, or in the bases of partially open, hollowed-out stumps.

Written By: Brian Morrison, GRCA Fisheries Biologist

 


The GRCA Invites You to Come and Learn!

Updated January 14th - The Reptiles at Risk workshop has been cancelled.

The Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority (GRCA) has two great events taking place this month, and wants to invite you to join them.

On Saturday, January 16th, from 1:00 to approximately 4:00 pm, join the GRCA for Reptiles at Risk where you’ll learn about live reptiles, many of which are species at risk. This interactive, advanced workshop will offer knowledge about species identification, life history, handling techniques, conservation status and threat, mitigation strategies and legislative issues. After learning all about these secretive creatures, participants will have an opportunity to get up close and personal with the animals. This workshop is being held at the GRCA Millennium Building in Port Hope (2216 County Road 28) and has a fee of $15 per adult and $8 per youth (11-16 years of age).

Now if you’re looking to get outdoors with the GRCA, you’ll want to check out Family Cross-Country Ski and Snowshoe Day, taking place at the Ganaraska Forest Centre on Saturday January 30th. The 11,000 acre Ganaraska Forest is beautiful year-round, but especially in the depth of winter. Come see for yourself during this annual event which starts with some basic instruction and ends with a guided ski through the forest. There are two sessions available (both of which last approximately 2 hours), at 9:30am and 1:00pm. After you give skiing a try, why not attempt snowshoeing?! There is a $20 per person fee which includes equipment rental. Children must be 8 years of age or older to participate. In case of inclement weather, the alternated day to participate will be February 6th.

To take advantage of these awesome events, please call the Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority at 905-885-8173. All participants must pre-pay and register.


Coyote Incident in Cobourg Conservation Area: Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority Issues Reminder to Keep Dogs on Leash

The Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority (GRCA) has been notified of an incident between a coyote and a small dog in Cobourg Conservation Area, which took place in the early evening of December 8th.

Cobourg Conservation Area is located on the east side of William Street and west of Elgin Street. The natural conservation area, which is often used by dog walkers, is owned by the GRCA and is maintained by the Town of Cobourg. The Conservation Authority reminds walkers to keep their dogs on leash at all times. Allowing animals to run loose increases the chance of coyote encounters, and you are breaking the law by doing so: Conservation Authorities Act R.R.O. 1990, Reg. 105, Section 10; Town of Cobourg Animal Control By-law #075-2010, Section 7.

Coyotes have been common in the Town of Cobourg over the past year, mostly in the east end, with some sightings in the west. If you see one of these animals in your area, please contact the Town of Cobourg Public Works Department at 905.372.9971 or the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) at 1.800.667.1940.

If you encounter a coyote, the MNRF recommends that you keep your distance from the animal, as in most cases, it will likely avoid you. It has also been recommended to clap, shout, or throw a small object at the coyote to deter it from coming closer – this may also condition the animals in an urban setting to avoid people.

For additional coyote information, please visit the following website:
https://www.ontario.ca/environment-and-energy/preventing-and-managing-conflicts-coyotes-wolves-and-foxes

 


Holiday Gift Giving with the GRCA
December is here! Before we know it, the Christmas season will be upon us, and everyone will be will be bustling about in search of that special gift for their loved one. To help get prepared for the busy holiday season, the Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority (GRCA) has some unique gift giving ideas to share.

Does your special someone like to ride horseback, mountain bike, or cross-country ski? Why not give them with an annual membership to the Ganaraska Forest? Multi-use memberships are available that provide a pass into the magnificent forest, where visitors can enjoy the great outdoors while staying active, participating in many recreational activities offered in the forest.

For a small donation, you can present your loved one with a tree that will be planted in the Ganaraska Forest. You will be provided with a framed tree certificate acknowledging the individual in honour or memory. This one-of-a-kind gift expresses your consideration towards the environment, provides wildlife habitat, and increases forest connectivity by adding to the existing 11,000 acre Ganaraska Forest.

Does someone in your family have a special connection to the environment or outdoor education? You could present them with an 8x8 paver stone engraved with their name or a special message. This personalized tribute will be a gift that lasts for years to come, lining the entrance way to the Ganaraska Forest Outdoor Education Centre located in the heart of the Ganaraska Forest. Also, in support of the outdoor education program is the annual Ganaraska Forest Centre Conservation Dinner which is held every April. The evening includes a dinner, live and silent auction, raffles and door prizes – a fun night out for you and your special someone!

Looking for a unique stocking stuffer? A rain gauge is a great idea! The recipient will then have the opportunity to track our local precipitation patterns.

The GRCA also hosts many public events throughout the year. If your family member has never tried cross-country skiing or snowshoeing, a ticket to Family Cross-Country Ski Day would be a great introductory! Check out this event, plus many more, in the events calendar at www.grca.on.ca.

Also, just in time for Christmas, the GRCA Tree and Shrub Planting Program is in the works. Consider giving your loved one a GRCA gift certificate for the purchase of seedlings.

Please call the GRCA at 905.885.8173 for information on the Ganaraska Forest Centre, to take advantage of these one-of-a-kind gift ideas (before December 18th), or to learn more on how you can support your local Conservation Authority.


A Year in Review at the GRCA

The GRCA was formed in October 1946 under the Conservation Authorities Act and is one of the oldest conservation authorities in Ontario. February marked the celebration of the 68th year in operation, and what a year it was - eventful, inspiring, successful and rewarding.

Everything from tree planting to water sampling; guided forest hikes to electrofishing; Authority staff were on the go throughout 2014.

Three large initiatives were completed last year. The GRCA Climate Change Strategy, which provides direct, meaningful and strategic actions addressing climate change; providing information required to integrate climate change considerations into programs and operations of the Conservation Authority. Board and staff also completed the GRCA Strategic Plan - Vision 2020 - which is a roadmap for the future; it will lead the Conservation Authority from today to where it would like to be tomorrow and beyond. The Drinking Water Source Protection Plan was also approved; implementation of this plan is starting this year.

Many projects and services were added to the Conservation Authority’s list of accomplishments as well. To name a few - 36 stewardship projects approved; over 46,000 tree seedlings planted across the region; 700 trees supplied to Clarington residents and 400 to Municipality of Port Hope landowners. Several fisheries habitat projects completed; installation of metal panels in the bottom openings of the Ganaraska River railings to protect users of the walkways from the dangers of falling into the channelization. An inventory of all flood plain mapping in Ontario began; the Authority successfully completed the Showcasing Water Innovations (SWI) project which saw multi-year match funding awarded by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change to explore new and innovative ways of developing digital elevation data for floodplain mapping. The 36 year-old Ganaraska Forest Centre Outdoor Education program continued to grow; the Centre has welcomed over 50,000 visitors - from school children to community groups; corporate guests to wedding parties since 2009. Partnerships were formed here, there and everywhere – which the GRCA is continuously thankful for.

The GRCA is moving into its 69th year as a leading environmental organization with a mission to enhance and conserve across the Ganaraska Region Watershed by serving, educating, informing and engaging.

It is important to continue the connection between a healthy watershed and healthy, strong sustainable communities. The GRCA wishes to thank the communities they serve for their continued support. As they move into 2015, they do so setting a course for ambitious, innovative and bold watershed management.

Please review the 2014 Annual Report


more...

Birds of a Feather Flock Together at the Ganaraska Forest Centre 

Fish on Drugs? 

Union Gas and Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority Partner to Make the Ganaraska Millennium Conservation Area Picnic Shelter Wheelchair Assessable

GRCA Seeking Unusual Donations 

Interning at the GRCA - A Lesson in Stewardship 

Give the Gift of Nature Before Your Child Goes Back to School 

When Household Pets Become Invasive Pests 

Conservation Authorities Act Under Discussion and Review 

Get Out and Get Active! 

Giant Hogweed Clean-Up 

The Ultimate Outdoor Lover's Summer Camp is Coming! 

Turtle Time 

Want Healthier Kids? Let Them Play Outdoors! 

A Week in the Great Outdoors?! Yes Please.

Grassroots Ecology: Promoting Green Grounds in Ganaraska 

Spring E-News from the GRCA 

GRCA Issues Watershed Conditions Statement 

Spring Water Safety 

Guaranteed Sweet Family Fun at the Ganaraska Forest Centre 

Trees for Rural Roads Applications Due Soon 

Spring Flows: Stay Clear of Creeks, Ponds and Lakes 

Clean Water and Healthy Land in a Changing Climate 

26th Annual OFAH/Ganaraska Forest Centre Conservation Dinner 

Fishes of the Ganaraska Region 

Enbridge and Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority Partner to Offer Free Workshops to Landowners to Help Enhance Green Landscaping throughout the Community 

Kawartha Farm Stewardship Workshop a Success, Despite Snow

Less Than Two Weeks Left to Order Tree Seedlings 

3rd Annual Kawartha Farm Stewardship Workshop 

GRCA Offers Several Funding Options for Spring Tree Planting 

Holiday Planning with the GRCA 

Rocky Ramp Improves Local Fish Passage 

Union Gas and GRCA Partner to Protect Ganaraska River 

Birds of Prey in the Ganaraska Forest 

Ganaraska and Trent Source Protection Plan Approved

Planning on Building on the Oak Ridges Moraine? What You Need to Know.

Sampling fish from the watercourses within the Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority are: A Shocking Story

 


Township of Alnwick Haldimand Township of Cavan Monaghan Clarington Town of Cobourg Region of Durham Hamilton Township Port Hope City of Kawartha Lakes Conservation Ontario
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