2015 Nov AGM – Presidents Report

The major water pollutant concern this past year has been the proliferation of Canada Geese adding to the already very large duck population.  This large number of waterfowl is out of control.  One Canada Goose produces two pounds of excrement every day which pollutes the river and the sidewalk around the river.  I attended a Parks Board meeting in September where I was invited to talk about e-coli levels AREA had measured over the years.  Our existing transplanted bulrushes at the east end of Lake Victoria are working in absorbing water borne e-coli nutrients.  These plants grow up to six feet tall which proves they are working but it is an uphill battle indeed as the water fowl population upstream is far too high.  At the September Parks Board meeting it was approved to investigate and come up with a more affirmative approach to control geese population and encourage migration.

The major bulrush planting this year by Upper Thames Conservation (UTRCA) occurred July 9th, 2015 and involved the construction of three large rectangular log cribs which were then placed on the existing underwater shoal.  These cribs were then filled with transplanted bulrushes.  This strategy is defined to defeat the fast flowing Spring runoff which have washed away transplanted bulrushes in the past.  We know from past experience that once the plantings are established with their root systems firmly anchored into the river bed then the Spring runoff is not as great a problem.

You will have seen that the recreational fishing pier has been constructed on the North Shore.  This initiative provides shaded aquatic life habitat and physical support to the shoreline.  As reported last year, this is a Fisheries and Oceans project which was supported financially by AREA and the Rotary Club of Stratford.  We have been recently approached by UTRCA and the Rotary Club of Stratford to offer support (not financially) to Rotary’s application to the Guardian Foundation for a similar North Shore crib wall project.  These types of structures are excellent in providing shade and habitat to encourage expansion of aquatic wildlife.

I was invited to reapply to be a member of the Energy and Environment Committee as AREA’s representative again for the next two years so I have done this.  I think it is useful for us to be aware of other group’s environmental activities and correspondingly inform them of ours.

We hope that you will continue to support AREA in the past by renewing your membership and encouraging others to become members.  Thank you for your support.


2014  Nov AGM – President’s Report

Additional rip-rap stones were installed along the periphery of the east pad (between Festival Bridge & Railway  Bridge) to avoid the effect of spring run-off flooding and washing away any newly installed bulrushes.  UTRCA has installed basking logs on this same large east pad.  This will be an enhancement for aquatic and bird life.  This will also help to slow down the flow speed of the Spring run-off.

AREA and The Rotary Club of Stratford were requested by UTRCA to support them financially in their application for funding from the Departments of Fisheries and Oceans.  UTRCA was successful in securing Project Funding.
The project will be done in two parts.  The first part is the Lake Victoria north shore Recreational Fishing
Enhancement.  The project will provide stability to the immediate shore area and provide proper shade conditions for the fish. The second part is the Bank Erosion Control  which involves the planting of natural vegetation
(bulrushes) on the shoreline.  All this kind of naturalization of the north shore helps to improve the water quality and offsets the need for expensive sterile stonework reinforcement proposed by consultants to the city a few years ago.

As an environmental enhancement group AREA would like an all natural shoreline erosion control design with no sterile rock or concrete edging.  This would not only improve the river environment but also save taxpayer dollars.
We are delighted that the City Parks Department has decided to plant and allow growth of shoreline plants on the south shoreline as well.

We have located a new good source of bulrushes locally for replanting.  Unfortunately, this year has seen very high water levels in the river due to heavy rains making replanting impossible.  Sometime in the future when river levels are lower, we will be able to undertake planting in an 8′ x 8′ log square (that will be constructed by ULTRA) on the east pad.  This will provide further protection to this area, along with the benefits of cleaner water, and enhance aquatic and bird life.

I was recently invited to be a member of the Energy and Environment Committee as AREA’s representative so I have been attending those monthly meetings.  I think it is useful for us to be aware of other environmental activities.

We hope that you will continue to support AREA as in the past by renewing your membership and encouraging others to become members.  Thank you for your support.



2013 Nov AGM – President’s Report

The highlight of the year was the planting of bulrushes at the western end of the project site close to the shoreline.  This planting extended from the main drain outlet and all along the shore of the Festival Bridge.  AREA volunteers and Upper Thames River Conservation Authority (ULTRA) staff were on hand and we were especially delighted that the staff members of Manestage Hairdressing Salon of George Street were also involved and were a great help.  This event occurred on Monday, July 15 and was reported in the Beacon Herald.

A much less satisfactory event was the loss of almost all of the bulrushes planted last year at the outside edge of the larger east pad.  Unlike the existing plantings of years past, their root systems were just not established well enough to withstand this year’s fast flowing spring run-off.

To avoid a similar loss, the new plantings are up against the shoreline and are also reinforced with coconut fibre coil staked in place.  It has been decided that the best approach for the larger eastern pad is to increase the height of the rip-rap stones to resist the spring thaw run-off and to plant behind this barrier up to the shoreline working outwards from the shoreline.  We are constantly reminded that completing a project of this nature is a slow process.  But eventually it will be complete and I think before this decade is out, all the planting will be done and well established.  Meanwhile, the river is slowly getting cleaner so that is encouraging.

The next step will be to have the rip-rap stones added while the ground is hard.  In this way we will be ready for the next Spring/Summer plantings.

The membership fee at $10.00 has always been the same since 2001 because quite often members will add a voluntary donation (we are not a registered charity).  I will propose that we leave the membership fee unchanged.  We trust and hope you will continue to support AREA by renewing your membership.