Lower Trent Conservation is celebrating its 50th anniversary! To celebrate this milestone, we will be releasing a ’50 in 50′ historical blog series throughout the year – 50 articles highlighting some of the achievements, milestones and events of the past 50 years.
Our relationship with the Trent River stretches back thousands of years – indigenous people used the river as an ancient canoe highway, fur traders and lumberjacks relied on it as a commercial transportation corridor, and today recreational boaters travel the river daily.
The realization that the natural resources along the Trent River were not inexhaustible unless managed and protected began to take hold in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. With the passing of the Conservation Authorities Act in 1946, the mechanism for the protection and management of local natural resources was put in place. The Act allowed for the “carrying out of conservation work on the basis of a river valley under the supervision of the municipalities within that valley”.
As early as 1955, discussions were being held regarding the possibility of forming a Conservation Authority for the entire Trent River watershed. Led by the Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 110 of Trenton, a conservation committee began the job of establishing a Conservation Authority to deal with concerns with industrial and sewage waste, weed control and garbage dumping along the Trent River. Unfortunately, due to the watershed size (14,000 sq. km. stretching from Algonquin Provincial Park to the Bay of Quinte), it was deemed too large to form one conservation authority for the entire Trent River watershed.
Through the 1960s, the Legion’s Conservation Committee turned its efforts towards forming a watershed-based organization focused on the Trent River downstream of Rice Lake. However, it would take almost ten years of hard work and dedication by this group of conservation-minded individuals to make progress.
Finally, on April 30, 1968 with over one hundred people in attendance, and after a lively discussion, the majority of the municipalities voted in favour of the establishment of Lower Trent Conservation. An order-in-Council from the Province of Ontario for the formation of the Conservation Authority was received on May 16, 1968. Its watershed management area was determined to include the watersheds of the “Trent River, its tributaries Rawdon, Squire, Percy, Salt, Cold and Mayhew Creeks, and such streams as Brighton, Colborne and Shelter Valley Creeks” that flow into Lake Ontario.
Today, 36 Conservation Authorities provide watershed management programs and services across the Province.