BRWP in The News

The Bonnechere RIver Watershed Project has been contributing monthly articles to the Renfrew Mercury newspaper. These informative columns are listed below.

Renfrew Mercury, Oct 2013

My Land, Our Water

By Kathy Lindsay

A safe and secure long-term water supply is crucial for the quality of life of all residents of Bonnechere River watershed. It is a key factor in ensuring economic prosperity and healthy communities. A healthy watershed means clean drinking water and an adequate water supply for agriculture, other businesses, wildlife, and recreational opportunities such as hunting, fishing, canoeing and hiking.

The Bonnechere River watershed is a series of interconnected ecosystems including forested rocky uplands, fertile farmed lowlands, urban centres, wetlands, streams, lakes and rivers. The connectedness among these areas means that what happens uphill and upstream, will affect areas downhill and downstream. We also need to realize that the amount of water we have to use is finite because what flows through our property comes from the global water cycle.

(To read this entire article from the Renfrew Mercury, click here.)

Renfrew Mercury, Aug 2013

Greening Our Businesses

By Cheryl Keetch and Kathy Lindsay

Five years ago, when Dave and Warren La Rocque began the planning for their new George Jackson Toyota dealership in Horton Township, their goal was to not only build a facility that would service their needs but also to buy and hire locally, help serve their community, and minimize their environmental impact.

A particularly impressive feature of their facility is the water management system. Run-off from the parking lots, roofs, agricultural tile drains from surrounding fields and a meandering grassed waterway system, drains into a holding pond - complete with cattails, frogs and birds. In addition to wildlife habitat, the pond provides water for firefighting for the dealership and for the Township of Horton, made accessible through a fire hydrant installed along the road. A surface well adjacent to the holding pond is used for washing vehicles, and as another emergency water source. Unlike most dealerships, every effort is being made to minimize impervious surfaces by using paving stone and gravel instead of asphalt and concrete. Grey water from the dealership is kept separate from septage and is pumped into an innovative raised and aerated septic bed for infiltration into groundwater. In the winter, plowed snow is stockpiled in a location that allows for a slow spring melt that recharges groundwater and the holding pond.

(To read this entire article from the Renfrew Mercury, click here.)

Renfrew Mercury, July 2013

On our Changing Climate

By Kathy Lindsay

Over the last 60 years the Earth has been warming, and here in the Ottawa Valley, by about half a degree Celsius. So what? Well, wildlife has already been affected showing changes in their spatial distribution and breeding patterns. For example, 22 bird species at or near their northern breeding limit in our region have shown range shifts northward over the last 20 years. In Algonquin Park, 80 species of birds (68% of those analyzed) are now arriving earlier in the spring, and 31 species (26%) are leaving later in the fall than they did 40 years ago.

Current climate models predict that by 2050 the Ottawa Valley will be about 3o C warmer and 6% wetter on an annual basis than it is today. In turn, changes in habitat suitability are expected to cause a 20% turnover in species composition of birds, mammals and amphibians (based on ranges of 271 species analyzed). Of that, half is from species being gained as the region gets warmer and wetter, the other half from species being lost through northward shifts in their climatic envelopes.

(To read this entire article from the Renfrew Mercury, click here.)

Renfrew Mercury, June 2013

The Benefits of Healthy Shorelines

By Joscelyn Coolican and Kathy Lindsay

In Renfrew County, we are blessed with many streams, lakes and rivers and most of us are fortunate enough to enjoy life by water whether at a public beach, park, camping ground, cottage or waterfront residence. We appreciate the aesthetic, social, and recreation value of being by the water. But in addition, healthy shorelines (the area where the water meets the land) also provide ecological and economic benefits. Natural shoreline is the easiest and least expensive way to prevent loss of land and property from erosion caused by flooding, surface runoff, ice push and waves (including boat wakes). Areas with a healthy shoreline sustain less damage than those without. The roots of plants, shrubs and trees form a web that holds the waterfront together. A healthy shoreline also provides a visual screen, shade and shelter from wind and enables our watershed to better respond to future stresses associated with climate change such as heat waves, more frequent and intense storms, droughts and flooding, all of which we have experienced this past year.

(To read this entire article from the Renfrew Mercury, click here.)

Renfrew Mercury, May 2013

Considering the Value of Fresh Water

By Kathy Lindsay and Allyson Quinlan

The Bonnechere River Watershed Project (BRWP) has been talking with locals for the past fifteen years about what they value most about living in the Bonnechere valley: fresh water. To understand freshwater, we need to know about watersheds. A watershed is the land area that is drained by a river, its streams and creeks (tributaries) and its lakes. It’s like a large bowl in which all the water that enters the system (from above as precipitation and from below as groundwater), collects at the lowest point, and flows collectively to an exit point. The watershed for the Bonnechere River encompasses an area of 2400 km2 (nearly half the size of Prince Edward Island) with its headwaters in Algonquin Park and its exit point, 145 km away, at its confluence with the Ottawa River, just downstream from Renfrew. How do we know that? By using a geographical information system (GIS) to analyze contour maps of topographic (terrain and elevation) information surrounding the river. Thus, watersheds are defined by natural boundaries which cut across administrative units, such as townships and counties.

(To read this entire article from the Renfrew Mercury, click here.)

Renfrew Mercury, April 2013

The Bonnechere River Watershed Project has plenty in store for you this summer

By Cheryl Keetch

We’re thrilled to be able to introduce you to this exciting new monthly column, brought to you by the Bonnechere River Watershed Project. Each month from now through December you can look forward to hearing what’s on our minds, as stewards of your Bonnechere River watershed home.

First, let’s get you up to date, we’ve been a busy organization recently! In collaboration with the Ottawa River Institute, we’ve been working on a projected entitled Nature in Your Neighbourhood. Through this project, we’ve been able to offer many presentations and events across the watershed that have promoted an appreciation of our local neighbourhoods and all the wonderful natural features that are here for us to enjoy. We published the Bonnechere River Watershed Nature in Your Neighbourhood Guide that is available on-line on our website, or locally at libraries, municipalities and information booths. (

To read this entire article from the Renfrew Mercury, click here.