8.0 Glen Tay Catchment: Actions/Opportunities
Educate waterfront property owners about fish habitat requirements, spawning timing and near-shore and in-water activities that can disturb or destroy fish habitat and spawning sites.
Work with various partners, including landowners, Friends of the Tay Watershed Association and Rideau Lakes and Tay Valley Townships on fish habitat enhancement projects in the Tay River watershed, building off of new knowledge and the recommendations as described in the report "Fish Habitat of the Tay River Watershed: Existing Conditions and Opportunities for Enhancement" (2002) prepared by MNR, RVCA, Parks Canada, and DFO.
Remove equipment, garbage and debris from past milling operations that remain along the shoreline and on the bed of the Tay River at the site of the old Bowes Mill dam.
Work with approval authorities (Lanark County, Leeds Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit, Mississippi Rideau Septic System Office, Rideau Lakes Township, RVCA and Tay Valley Townships) and landowners to consistently implement current land use planning and development policies for water quality and shoreline protection adjacent to the Tay River and headwater streams in the catchment (i.e., a minimum 30 metre development setback from water).
Explore ways and means to more effectively implement and enforce conditions of land-use planning and development approval to achieve net environmental gains (particularly with respect to rehabilitating or protecting naturally vegetated shorelines and water quality).
Encourage Committees of Adjustment to take advantage of technical and environmental information and recommendations forthcoming from planning and environmental professionals.
Ongoing education and dialogue regarding the regulatory floodplain, its implementation and the effect it has on development continues to represent an opportunity to assist the public in understanding the importance of planning, which respects this natural hazard.
Municipalities in the Tay Watershed are encouraged to strengthen natural heritage and water resources official plan policies and zoning provisions (pertaining to water setbacks, frontage and naturalized shorelines and wetland protection) where deemed appropriate.
Work with Rideau Lakes and Tay Valley Townships and agencies to ensure that development approvals along watercourses take into consideration the protection of fish habitat (including the near-shore nursery and spawning habitat).
Utilise RVCA subwatershed and catchment reports to help develop, revise and implement official plan policies to protect surface water resources and the natural environment (including woodlands, wetlands and shoreline cover).
Establish RVCA regulation limits around the 100 percent (840 ha.) of wetlands in the catchment that are unevaluated. Doing this will help protect landowners from natural hazards including mitigating surface water flow by storing water during periods of peak flow (such as spring snowmelt and heavy rainfall events) and releasing water during periods of low flow (this mitigation of water flow reduces flood damage), as well as contributing to the stabilization of shorelines and to the reduction of soil erosion damage through water flow mitigation and plant soil binding/retention.
Take advantage of the RVCA Shoreline Naturalization Program to re-naturalize altered creek and stream shoreline identified in this report as “Unnatural Riparian Land Cover". Target shoreline restoration at sites on the Tay River and along its tributaries, shown in orange on the Riparian Land Cover map (see Figure 53 in Section 4.4 of this report). Other stewardship opportunities in the catchment may be determined based on septic system inspections and surface water quality monitoring results.
Promote the use of bioengineering methods (using native shrub/tree planting, fascines, live stakes) as a shoreline erosion mitigation measure as well as a cost effective alternative to shoreline hardening (with rip rap, armour stone, gabion baskets, walls).
Educate landowners about the value and importance of natural shorelines and property best management practices with respect to shoreline use and development, septic system installation and maintenance and shoreline vegetation retention and enhancement (Lanark County, Leeds Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit, Mississippi Rideau Septic System Office, Rideau Lakes Township, RVCA and Tay Valley Township).
Consider further investigation of the Fair instream biological water quality rating on the Tay River in the catchment as part of a review of RVCA's Baseline and Benthic Invertebrate surface water quality monitoring.
Offer funding provided by the RVCA Rural Clean Water Program to landowners with potential projects that could improve water quality on the Tay River and its tributaries (e.g., livestock fencing, septic system repair/replacement and streambank erosion control/stabilisation). Concentrate efforts at septic systems requiring remedial work or replacement, including the six identified as needing additional maintenance/remedial/replacement work since 2004.
Educate waterfront property owners about septic system care by providing information about sewage system maintenance (i.e., when to pump out septic systems and holding talks) through initiatives such as the Septic Savvy Workshop and services provided by the Mississippi Rideau Septic System Office.
Reduce pollutant loading to the Tay River in the catchment through education about the application of shoreline, stormwater and agricultural best management practices; also consider using low impact development (LID) methods to improve the quality and reduce the amount of stormwater runoff directly reaching the river ecosystem. This will be particularly beneficial in areas with extensive impervious surfaces (i.e., asphalt, concrete, buildings, and severely compacted soils) or on sensitive shoreline properties (with steep slopes/banks, shallow/impermeable soils).
The Friends of the Tay Watershed Association has developed the Tay Net (Tay Waterway Communication Network) over the past two years to provide early notice of significant changes in water level along the Tay River. Tay Net is now developing it into a ‘Riverwatch’ program for the waterway.