BRWP launches Riverwatch program

Post date: Jan 4, 2011 5:17:14 PM

Originally posted May 7, 2009

Late in 2007, the Bonnechere River Watershed Project (BRWP) received $21,000 from the Ontario Trillium Fund (OTF) for a pilot project to develop a website that would focus on issues and information of greatest interest to residents ( Based on a workshop held in Renfrew in early 2008, it became evident that water levels, flows and quality, and the health of wildlife populations were of most concern. The report of the BRWP workshop was included in an international symposium held at Carleton in the fall of 2008.

This March, the BRWP was approved by OTF for $135,800 over 2 years to continue to Phase II of the project. At the Annual General Meeting on May 6, the BRWP launched the “Riverwatch” program which will focus on the ecological health of the Bonnechere River and its tributaries. The BRWP has gathered a diverse team to put this project in motion. Greg Almond (from Ottawa), the web developer for Phase I, will continue in this role and has also agreed to act as the Project Manager. Jessica Danard (a newcomer to Renfrew County) has stepped in to the role of Co-ordinator for the Riverwatch program with a focus on stream assessments and volunteer training and support. Summer student Virginia Robinson (Beachburg) will be assisting the Riverwatch Coordinator throughout the summer and returning to her second year in engineering at University of Ottawa in the fall. Amanda Brown (Pembroke), the BRWP Co-ordinator, will be helping with developing the stream assessment strategy and training the team and volunteers. Supporting the Riverwatch team is a group of volunteers who will provide expertise, contacts and support; Kathryn Lindsay (Renfrew), the new Chair of the BRWP, will act as the Riverwatch program Lead. Mark Jones (Eganville) and Jim Slavin (Renfrew) will focus on public engagement workshops and John Almstedt (Lake Clear) on links with other watershed organizations such as the Lake Clear Cottagers Association and the Ottawa Riverkeeper.

Jessica and Virginia will be conducting water quality assessments throughout the summer. However given the large size of the Bonnechere River watershed, they need the help of others to survey the many lakes and streams. So an integral component of the Riverwatch program is the involvement of volunteers as Citizen Scientists. On Saturday May 30th , the BRWP will be running their first Water Quality Assessment Volunteer Training Workshop from 10-2 at the Legion in Eganville. The hands-on workshop will train volunteers how to complete a stream assessment including a method based on insect identification. Space is limited for this free workshop so if you are interested in attending, please contact Amanda Brown (BRWP Co-ordinator) at 613-732-9870.