Living in the Watershed
Stewardship Tips for Landowners
- Maintain riparian vegetation on your property.
- When planning a new building or development on your property, limit paved and other impervious surfaces. See diagram below which shows the potential impacts of Urbanization: (click on image to view a larger version)
- Most roofs and paved areas are connected directly to the creeks by pipes or ditches. The run-off from these areas can contain pollutants that “shock” salmon fry and aquatic insects. Rapid water flows wash them out of the stream. Use porous surfaces, such as gravel, mulch, or bricks for sidewalks, driveways or patios. If your roof has rain gutters, aim the down spouts into a barrel, a rocky area or garden, so the water can seep through the ground.
- Call your local government office for information regarding disposal of chemicals and hazardous waste and never dump household chemicals down a storm drain or household drain. Storm drains carry water directly to the stream and discharge it without any treatment.
- Maintain your septic field. If you have a septic field, be sure to have it inspected and pumped when needed (approximately every 3-5 years). Never flush harmful materials into a septic tank.
- Enhance habitat in your backyard by planting native plants. Native vegetation will encourage a diversity of species to flourish. For example, by planting certain native flower species you may be able to observe native butterflies (such as the monarch) and birds (such as the hummingbird), which come to enjoy the nectar.
- Use only organic lawn and garden care products. Chemical herbicides and pesticides are toxic and can seriously harm people and animals. If you feel you must use them, do so sparingly and only during dry weather.
- Thinking of cleaning up a section of stream? Leave stumps, fallen trees, gravel, and boulders – they must remain in the stream as they provide valuable habitat for fish, and help to maintain the stability of the stream. Things to remove? Old tires, car batteries, shopping carts and any other garbage.
- No time is a good time to dig in the stream, change its course, or drive any type of machinery through it. This can add sediment to the water and harm aquatic wildlife. If you are planning to do some necessary work in or near a stream, the Stewards can help. We can provide you with information on the best time to do the work, and how to minimize the sediment and stream damage.
- It is important to keep pets and livestock away from streams. Pets should be controlled when they are near streams so that they don’t stir up mud or frighten fish and wildlife. Livestock walking through streams can destroy riparian areas, disturb spawning gravel, and increase sediment. Fences or thick brush can be used to keep livestock back from streams and stream banks.
- Wash your car on the lawn or on a gravel surface. The water will enter the soil, which will help clean and cool the water and slowly release it into the stream system.
- Ride a bike, take the bus or carpool. Cars are the single highest source of many metals in rain water runoff. Tires and brake pad wear are very significant sources of copper, cadmium and zinc in polluted runoff. Copper is acutely toxic to aquatic species, even at low concentrations.
- Developing your property? Check out the Environmental Best Management Practices for Urban and Rural development produced by Ministry of Environment
- Protect sensitive areas on your property – find out how
- Become a community steward. Volunteer with your local watershed group.
- Let your local government know that you support our vision.
- Participate in one of the Millard-Piercy Watershed volunteer programs or post a photo by emailing us.
Resources for Landowners
Keeping it Green – A Citizens Guide to Urban Land Protection in Canada
Learn about Invasive Plants: at the Coastal Invasive Plant Committee http://www.coastalinvasiveplants.com/]
Learn about Native Plants: at Streamside Native Plant Nursery http://members.shaw.ca/nativeplants/streamside_home.html]
Resources for agricultural operators: Environmental Farm Plan: http://www.ardcorp.ca
Why is Riparian Vegetation So Important?
Healthy native vegetation along streams provides many services and benefits including:
- Native plants provide shade that helps moderate stream temperatures
- Roots and logs from streamside trees provide important cover for fish, allowing them to hide from predators
- Insects that drop from streamside vegetation are an important food source for fish and other aquatic species
- Plants, roots and natural wood debris increase stream bank stability, reducing erosion
- Autumn leaves that fall into streams add important nutrients
- Riparian buffers along streams create natural corridors for wildlife and genetic material to move and migrate
Become a Member
We invite you to become a member of the Stewards, and take part in the discovery, monitoring and protection of this valuable watershed.
As a member, you will be:
- covered by our liability insurance when you participate in our programs.
- entitled to vote at our annual AGM.
- eligible to be elected to the board.
- notified of the Annual General Meeting (usually in the fall/winter).
We look forward to having you aboard!
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