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A Gift of Fresh Water

Posted Oct 22 2008 6:14pm
Canada is blessed with an abundance of fresh water. Our community and others around here were built on waterways as they provided transportation, water supply and power. There are a number of interesting mills that stand today as monuments to the past.

Last weekend, I passed through this little town. The land here was purchased in 1832 by a Scottish immigrant. He built a dam across the creek and over the next twenty years established business with a saw mill, grist mill and distillery, all powered by water propelled wheels. The town is now a bedroom community for the nearby city, but the dam and pond remain, a home for swans and ducks and a small park.

One hundred years later, in 1932, people recognized the damage that had been done to the watershed by deforestation, alteration of water flow, and poor waste management. A local conservation authority was formed to address issues related to the health of all the creeks and rivers that formed the watershed of the Grand River on its journey to Lake Erie. Several large dams have been built to control spring flooding and to regulate summer flows. Reforestation has been ongoing and beautiful trails and conservation areas have been designated for our enjoyment. The water quality is vastly improved with water treatment facilities. Four distinct birding areas have been identified as nesting and migratory locations for a large number of different species, including several rare and endangered ones.

Every spring, volunteers comb the banks and waters of the rivers, cleaning up debris and garbage left by careless people. It is astounding to see what is dumped in the water, from tires, car parts and furniture to smaller litter items like plastic bags and fast food containers. I like to think that most people are responsible and caring about the environment, but it is sad to see that some do not value our natural heritage at all.

I love looking at the local streams and rivers and try to plan most of my walks near them.

The Grand River Conservation Authority ’s motto is “Conserving our Future”, and I do want to be part of that.

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