Ganaraska Region and Central Lake Ontario Conservation Authorities Team Up to Educate

Open House – Bring The Kids!
Giant Hogweed & Other Dangerous Invaders
Thursday, July 14, 2016
Newcastle Branch – Clarington Public Library
105 King Avenue East, Newcastle
4:00pm to 8:00pm
“If it has three leaves let it be!” is a standard rule to remember how to recognize Poison Ivy that we all learned as kids.  Unfortunately, Giant Hogweed and Wild Parsnip are new invaders in town that can spoil your summer if you come into contact with them.   In response to these invasive aliens, the Municipality of Clarington along with Ganaraska Region and Central Lake Ontario Conservation Authorities are hosting an open house to raise awareness about these invasive plants.  The open house will be held on Thursday, July 14 at the Newcastle Branch – Clarington Public Library, 105 King Avenue East, Newcastle from 4:00pm to 8:00pm.  Bring the kids as there will be interactive displays, identification guides and refreshments.

 “The goal of this partnership is to raise awareness of these plants and determine where there are existing populations within the Municipality of Clarington” says Bob Genosko, Operations Supervisor at the Municipality of Clarington. “The public can report any sightings of these plants to the Invading Species Hotline [1-800-563-7711] or use EDDMapS Ontario, an online tool designed to track invasive plants. By getting a better understanding of where Giant Hogweed is within our municipality, we can better prepare for management and control” added Genosko.    

Giant Hogweed is an invasive alien plant originally imported from central Asia as a garden ornamental.  The plant is extremely large, reaching heights of up to 5 metres.  The white, umbrella shaped flower heads appearing on the plant in July, can be up to 1 metre across.   Giant Hogweed escaped the garden and is quickly colonizing natural areas in southern Ontario, pushing out native plant species as it spreads.  What makes this plant a dangerous invader is that it contains a sap in its leaves, stems, roots and flowers that is toxic to humans. 

When your skin comes into contact with the sap and exposed to sunlight the result is phytophotodermatitis, a technical term to describe the resulting severe blistering.  The blisters can in some cases cause permanent scars and the sap has the potential to cause blindness if it makes contact with the eyes.

Behind this not so friendly giant is a second alien plant invader with similar health risks, called Wild Parsnip.  It too has made a recent appearance along trails and roadsides and is spreading rapidly in southern Ontario.  Wild Parsnip, small by comparison to Giant Hogweed, can reach up to 2 metres in height and produces flat topped yellow flowers in July and August.  It is more common than Giant Hogweed, and can easily come into contact with people and pets.

Both Giant Hogweed and Wild Parsnip have recently been declared Noxious Weeds by the Province of Ontario under the Weed Act.

For More Information:

Central Lake Ontario Conservation Authority
Diana Shermet
Natural Heritage Resource Analyst
905-579-0411 x107

Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority
Ken Towle
Terrestrial Ecologist
905-885-8173 x240

GRCA Issues Level 1 Low Water Advisory

On July 6, 2016, the Ganaraska Region Water Response Team confirmed a level 1 low water condition for its watersheds. A lack of rainfall over the past three months has caused below normal flows in local streams for this time of year and rapidly declining soil moisture and groundwater levels.

Based on provincial guidelines, local watersheds have entered into a level 1 low water condition because of below normal precipitation levels. The affected major watersheds are Midtown Creek, Cobourg Creek, Gages Creek, Ganaraska River, Port Britain Creek, Graham Creek, Wilmot Creek, Plainville Creek, Harwood Creek and other numerous smaller tributaries of Rice Lake and Lake Ontario

In the major catchments, the recorded flows are above 90% of the lowest average month flows (August) for the long term period of record.  This is due to high water retention in the largely forested headwaters of our systems. However, since April the precipitation volumes have been very low.  Weather stations operated by the GRCA recorded an average of 45% of the normally expected precipitation.  These numbers are based on the three month accumulated totals from April 1st to June 31st 2016 compared to historic averages over a 30 year record. More consistent rainfall is needed as the summer progresses to prevent water supply shortages in streams and groundwater.

The GRCA encourages water users to be aware of water consumption and conservation in an effort to reduce water use by 10%.  These measures will help to avoid further water shortages in the coming months and prevent negative impacts on aquatic life should below normal rainfall amounts continue.

The Conservation Authority will continue to monitor local conditions and provide updates as conditions warrant.  For further information, please contact the following GRCA staff at 905-885-8173 during regular business hours or 289-251-1010 or 289-251-2094 (after normal business hours).

Mike Smith, B.Sc.                                               Mark Peacock, P.Eng.
Water Resource Technician                               Director, Watershed Services

Summer is Here and GRCA Nature Nut Leader's in Training are Enjoying the Great Outdoors

Would your child know what to do if they were lost in the forest?  Would he or she be able to tell the difference between poison ivy and a blackberry bush? Would they know what a leopard frog sounds like? Now is the opportunity for them to learn about this and much, much more at the Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority’s (GRCA) Nature Nuts Summer Camp!

Week #1, Leader in Training is currently underway, where older campers are learning about teamwork, leadership, first aid and surviving in the great outdoors – all in preparation for their second week when they come back as a camp counselor (LIT) where they’ll spend another entire week assisting certified camp teachers with new campers while learning, exploring and most importantly, having fun!

Nature Nuts Summer Camp offers seven weeks of outdoor adventures with different themed camps such as ‘Surviving the Elements’ and ‘Crafty by Nature’. Don’t miss out for your child to experience the gift of nature, this summer. Spots are still available for some weeks.

Want to know more? Just ask! The Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority is open Monday through Friday 8:30 – 4:30. Camp descriptions, registration forms and all other important information can be found at
www.grca.on.ca and www.ganaraskaforestcentre.ca – just follow the Nature Nuts squirrel.

Calling All Rural Property Owners - Land for Tree Planting Wanted

The Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority (GRCA) covers an area of 935 km2 from Newcastle (Wilmot Creek) in Clarington to east of Cobourg (Cobourg Creek), and from the south shore of Rice Lake down to Lake Ontario. This area includes seven municipalities in whole or in part, including the Township of Cavan Monaghan, Town of Cobourg, Township of Alnwick Haldimand, Township of Hamilton, Municipality of Port Hope, City of Kawartha Lakes, and the Municipality of Clarington.

In efforts to increase tree cover and improve forest connectivity on the landscape, the GRCA is looking for landowners who are interested in planting a large amount of land (minimum 2.5 acres) with native trees. In addition, if the property contains a stream, river or pond, trees and shrubs can be planted alongside these natural features (minimum amount not required).

GRCA staff will help determine the best trees to be planted on private properties, assist in acquiring seedlings, find funding programs to offset the cost of tree planting, and even plant them on your behalf.

Why plant trees? There are many benefits including:
•    Increase forest and aquatic habitats
•    Protect streams and rivers
•    Reduce house heating and cooling costs
•    Increase in aesthetics and property values
•    Potential to reduce property taxes
•    Mitigate against climate change
•    Build your family legacy

For more information on how you can participate in various GRCA tree and shrub programs, please visit our website at www.grca.on.ca or contact the GRCA at (905)885-8173 or stewardshp@grca.on.ca.

Kids and Cops Go Fishing During Family Fishing Week
Port Hope, ON:  Children are getting their fishing gear ready for the Family Fishing Derby, on Friday, July 8, hosted by the Municipality of Port Hope and the Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority (GRCA).

This event beginning at 9:00 am and wrapping up at 1:00 pm, takes place at the Port Hope Marina Fish Cleaning Station, 95 Mill St South. Participants, ages 17 & under, can look forward to tons of fishing fun, as well as great giveaways and prizes. Participants are asked to bring their own rods and lifejackets but if not, there will be a limited supply of rods and tackle available to borrow through the OFAH TackleShare Program. Bait will also be supplied. There will be a Fisheries Biologist at the event from GRCA, Ian West from Fear Fishing, Mike McNaught from Fly Fishing Ontario, Richard Kettle and Donald May, who will show off their fly-making skills, an OFAH rep who will have lots of information on invasive species. The Port Hope Public Library, Mary J Benson Branch, is also hosting fishing-themed activities indoors at their 31 Queen Street location. There is no cost to participate in this event.

This event is part of the Canada-wide celebration, National Fishing Week, July 2 through 10. To learn more, visit www.catchfishing.com.

Also July 2 to 10: the annual Ontario Family Fishing Week. For one full week, Canadian residents can enjoy the fun of fishing in Ontario without the need of a licence!

The derby is sponsored by Fishing Forever, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to funding worthwhile fishing, conservation and education projects. It is also supported by the Municipality of Port Hope, Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority, the Port Hope Public Library, the Police Association of Ontario and Canadian Tire.

Fishing Forever chair Bob Izumi is an avid supporter of recreational fishing for both the young and the young at heart. “I love to create opportunities for children and families to go fishing,” states Izumi. “Fishing is one of the very best ways for parents and other adults to establish productive and healthy relationships with children.”

For more information about the event, contact Leanne Clarke at lclarke@porthope.ca
For more information about the GRCA, contact Amy Griffiths agriffiths@grca.on.ca

To learn more about Kids, Cops and Canadian Tire, please visit www.kidsandcops.ca, www.facebook.com/KidsCopsCanadianTire or contact Joanne Vaughn at events@kidsandcops.ca or 905 632-8679 ext. 224.


Nature Nuts Summer Camp and the Great Outdoors

Would your child know what to do if he was ever lost in a forest?  Would she know what a Northern leopard frog sounds like? Have your children ever made an egg bomb? Did they know that the Spine-tailed swift is the fastest flying bird?

All of these questions and many more can be answered if your child attends the Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority’s (GRCA) annual Nature Nuts Summer Camp in Port Hope.

Nature Nuts Summer Camp offers seven, fun-filled weeks of outdoor adventures with different themed camps, from Birds of Prey to Surviving the Elements, and from The Amazing Race to Crime Scene Investigation, to Crafty by Nature and more; all delivered by experienced and very enthusiastic Ontario-certified teachers. And as a bonus, every Friday, campers get to go on a fun field trip that relates to the theme of the week.

“If your child likes nature and the outdoors, or even if they don’t, but would like to learn to be more comfortable in the natural world around them, this is the camp for them,” says Ryan Goodall, one of the program’s teachers. We know that children who spend time in nature, gain an appreciation for our planet and become the environmental stewards of tomorrow, he adds.

Regular camp weeks run through July and August from 8:45 am – 4:00 pm, and extended care is available. Camp season kicks off on July 4 – 8, with the Leader in Training Week for 11 – 14 year-olds, and includes a fully supervised, overnight stay at the beautiful Ganaraska Forest Centre. Campers can then choose from six subsequent camp weeks to volunteer their expertise and gain valuable experience as junior camp counsellors.

“It was the best week of my life,” says a previous L.I.T. graduate.

For more information on the Nature Nuts Leader in Training program or any of the other day camp weeks for 6 – 11 year olds, please contact the GRCA at 905-885-8173 or visit www.grca.on.ca and follow the squirrel.

GRCA Conducting Study on Trout in the Ganaraska

Visit One of Your Local Conservation Areas or the Ganaraska Forest Today

The Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority (GRCA) is committed to conserving, restoring and managing the resources of the Ganaraska Region Watershed. Since the GRCA’s inception in 1946 as one of Ontario’s earliest Conservation Authorities, they have been working with watershed municipalities, government partners, community members, organized stakeholders and individual land owners to protect people and property from flooding and erosion, improve water quality, provide advice and guidance on municipal planning matters and provide educational and recreational opportunities across local watersheds.

The Ganaraska Region Watershed covers an area of 935 square kilometers extending from the Wilmot Creek watershed in the west, to the Cobourg Creek watershed in the east; and from the crest of the Oak Ridges Moraine and Rice Lake in the north, to Lake Ontario in the south. Other watersheds found in the Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority include Graham Creek, Ganaraska River, Gage Creek and the smaller creeks draining to Lake Ontario and Rice Lake.

Included in the Ganaraska Region Watershed are 9 conservation areas (CA); Ganaraska Millennium CA, Port Hope CA, Ball’s Mill CA, Rice Lake CA, Cobourg CA, Garden Hill CA, Richardson’s Lookout CA, Thurne Parks CA, Sylvan Glen CA, as well as the 11,000 acre Ganaraska Forest.

The Ganarska Forest, southern Ontario's largest forest offers the best in outdoor recreation. It is a living example of how the principles of integrated resource management can be used to balance many different uses of forested lands on a sustainable and ecologically sound basis. The forest is home to the Ganaraska Forest Outdoor Education Centre, a multi-use facility that is enjoyed year-round.

With hundreds of kilometres of trails, the Ganaraska Forest provides opportunities for a variety of activities. Hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and nature appreciation are popular activities throughout the Forest. Motorized activities such as off-road motorcycle riding, ATVing and snowmobiling are permitted in the West Forest and East Forest only, while the Central section of the Forest is maintained as a passive use area.

The Ganaraska Forest opened to all uses as of April 30th. Day passes or memberships are required to use the forest, and can be purchased through the Ganaraska Forest Centre (Monday-Friday, 8:30 am - 4:30 pm) or the Gatehouse at the Centre is open for sales on weekends from 9:00 am - 4:00 pm.

So why not tie on those hiking shoes, grab a group of family or friends, and visit the forest or one of our conservation areas today! And please remember… Leave only footprints, take only pictures and memories.

Celebrate Earth Day, Everyday

April welcomes the beginning of warm spring weather, as well as the all-important Earth Day. Even though we set out a specific day to think more about our planet and how to protect it, the Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority (GRCA) is encouraging everyone to celebrate Earth Day everyday! Each small action that individuals take-on daily to protect our local watersheds makes a difference in enhancing and protecting our natural environment. Pick one environmental action that you and your family can change, and continue it year round. The GRCA has a few suggestions for you:

• Conserve water by using less water each day. Fix leaky faucets, purchase a rain barrel so you can use rainwater in your gardens, or install a soaker hose in your garden
• Replace a harsh cleaning product with a green cleaning product, or try making your own
• Plan to visit your local hazardous waste day to dispose of your household hazardous wastes
• Test your private well water with a kit obtained through the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit or the Durham Health Department
• Clean litter from storm drains, road side ditches, or streams on your property
• Plan to add native plants to your gardens, or plants that attract butterflies and hummingbirds
• Plan to avoid cutting your lawn along streams, creeks or rivers that flow throughout your property
• Visit one of the nine conservation areas within the Ganaraska Region watershed or the Ganaraska Forest
• Visit Corbett’s Dam fish ladder on the Ganaraska River to see rainbow trout swim upstream to spawn

Staff at the Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority participate in an Earth Day Clean-Up each year, where they pick up garbage and debris surrounding the GRCA office and Ganaraska Millennium Conservation Area.

For more information on these everyday actions you can do to enjoy, enhance and protect your local environment, contact the Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority at 905-885-8173 or visit www.grca.on.ca

27th Annual OFAH/GFC Conservation Dinner Tickets Available

On Saturday, April 9th the Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority (GRCA) and the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH) will be holding their annual conservation dinner and auction at the Cobourg Lions Community Centre. Each year outdoes the last, and the Conservation Authority is anticipating another great event, with funds supporting the outdoor education program at the Ganaraska Forest Centre (GFC).

An average of 300 people take in the evening of great food, raffle draws, and both silent and live auctions; all showing their support for such a worthy investment. Auction items ranging from sports collectibles to weekend VIA Rail getaways, restaurant gift certificates to wine packages, are taken home by guests who enjoy a night out mingling with fellow community members and supporters of the Conservation Authority and outdoor education centre. The featured piece of the event will be an original framed oil painting (“Above Rosneath Landing”) by local artist Jerry Albert.

The Forest Centre houses programs for thousands of students each year and holds many public programs for visitors of all ages from the surrounding communities. The 25-plus programs offered to the school children range from Trappers and Traders to Alternative Energy, all meeting the Ontario educational curriculum and taught by Ontario-certified instructors.

Tickets are on sale now for this special evening at a price of $70.00 and must be purchased in advance. For further information on supporting this annual event through donations or sponsorship, or to purchase tickets, please call the GRCA at 905.885.8173.


LUSI Supports GRCA

Throughout 2015, Lakefront Utility Services Inc. (LUSI) encouraged its customers to switch to electronic billing and offered incentives and environmentally friendly reasons to persuade customers to forgo the paper bill.

...read more



GRCA Issues Watershed Conditions Statement

Flood Potential: Low 

The Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority advises that a messy winter storm is moving into southern Ontario bringing with it periods of mixed precipitation that will increase flows in local streams.

The watersheds of the GRCA are snow free, but the ground is generally saturated and will not absorb much precipitation. A wet snow mix will begin this evening and may change over to freezing rain by morning. Any accumulation of ice or snow will be melting as the rainfall arrives Thursday evening adding runoff to local streams. Total rainfall of 10-20mm is expected by Friday morning with another early spring storm expected on Monday.

This storm is expected to deliver 20-30mm of mixed precipitation that due to the saturated ground conditions will runoff quickly causing all water bodies, including ponds, streams and many ditches to 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 Tuesday, March 29, 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

The Sugar Shack is Open!

Join the Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority (GRCA) for some classic Canadian maple syrup fun at the GRCA’s Maple Syrup Day.  Make sure to mark Saturday March 26th 2016 on your calendar so that you don’t miss out on a great day out with the family at the Ganaraska Forest Centre (GFC) from 10:00 am until 1:00 pm.

Through site tours, demonstrations, stories and games, learn all about the sweet tradition of syrup production. Let the children create crafts and have their faces pained, while you enjoy live music before settling in for a pancake feast. Ferguson Farms, out of Garden Hill, will be there with syrup and other sweet products to purchase.

Admission to this event is $12 per adult and $6 per child (16 and under). Pre-registration is not required; simply purchase your tickets at the Gatehouse upon entry to GFC grounds. For further information please call the Ganaraska Forest Centre at 905.797.2721 or the Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority at 905.885.8173 or email info@grca.on.ca

How to find us:  If you’re travelling from the west, exit north onto Hwy 115 from Hwy 401 and exit onto Durham Road 9 and travel east, approximately 10 km. Turn left on Cold Springs Camp Road and proceed 4 km to the GFC.  From the east, travel west off County Road 28 onto County Road 9 and proceed about 2 km west of Elizabethville, then turn right at Cold Springs Camp Road and proceed 4 km to the GFC.



Hands-on Learning is the Best Learning 

Spring Flows: Stay Clear of Creeks, Ponds and Lakes 

GRCA Issues Watershed Conditions Statement - February 24, 2016 

Why We Do What We Do in the Ganaraska Forest 

What's Happening Around the Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority

GRCA Issues Watershed Conditions Statement - February 2016

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

4th Annual Kawartha Farm Stewardship Workshop 

Roughing in in Winter - The Ruffed Grouse 

GRCA Issues Watershed Conditions Statement - January 2016 

The GRCA Invites You to Come and Learn! 

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

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 

A Year in Review - 2014 

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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