By: Elizabeth Wren, Halton Children’s Festival and Volunteer Coordinator with Conservation Halton.
Our Stream Team got together a few weeks ago to learn a little more about our watershed. We had a fabulous talk from Nathan Murray, Conservation Halton’s enforcement officer who talked about common violations such as the filling in of wetlands and selling illegal fill to landowners who get stuck with huge bills for the clean-up and remediation! What an eye-opener. I only wish we had more time to spend with Nathan.
In the afternoon we made our way down south from our office in north Burlington…all the way to the Burlington Waterfront and met up with John Hall, the Remedial Action Plan Coordinator for Hamilton Harbour. What exactly does he do you ask? Just about everything to do with the harbour, which we had a glimpse of on our tour. John took us around the bay providing a great deal of history about the harbour and current issues that we are dealing with.
Hamilton Harbour is an interesting mix of recreational trails, wildlife sanctuaries and heavy industry. It is also one of the most contaminated sites in the Great Lakes Basin mainly due to the pressures of being a heavily populated area. The good news in all of this is that this area has been identified and there are a number of committed, passionate people working to improve the health of the bay…and it is working! With collaboration from groups such as RBG, BARC and RAP John has resulted in a successful fish way leading into Cootes Paradise, one of the largest wetlands in the area and a popular spawning ground for Carp. By keeping the carp out the surrounding wetlands have had a chance to recover and are starting to resemble their previous naturalized states. This is some world class work we are witnessing in action!
At the end of the day our staff left more educated about local environmental issues and confident that we can make a difference working with the local community by sharing our stories and most of all our hope for a better environment.