Lower Trent Conservation is celebrating its 50th anniversary! To commemorate this milestone occasion, we have released our ’50 in 50′ historical blog series. This special series features 50 articles highlighting some of the achievements, milestones and events of the past 50 years. We hope you enjoy them!
In 1982, the Conservation Services Program available to landowners was expanded to include streambank rehabilitation in addition to the reforestation activities that had been offered for over five years. The Conservation Services Program was considered a way the Conservation Authority could work towards achieving its early water and related land management goals. The Program made these two valuable conservation services available to watershed landowners for very little cost.
Extensive inventories were undertaken in 1981 for the Rawdon Creek and Shelter Valley Creek watersheds by summer technical staff. Areas experiencing significant erosion and topsoil loss, dams and stream obstructions, cattle access problem areas, and marginal lands suitable for reforestation were identified and prioritized.
Following a number of successful pilot projects on Shelter Valley Creek in 1981, the streambank rehabilitation program was implemented in earnest in the spring of 1982. Private landowners stepped up to the challenge and embraced stewardship to improve the local watershed. Agreements were signed and Lower Trent Conservation covered 90% of the project cost with the landowner paying 10%. Rehabilitation techniques included planting shrubs, installing rock rip rapping, constructing log cribs along streambanks, clearing in-stream obstructions, limiting livestock access to streams, and establishing buffer strips and grassed waterways.
In the first four months, 38 sites with nine landowners on Shelter Valley and Rawdon Creeks were completed. As the years went on, many more creeks were inventoried, sites were prioritized, and rehabilitation plans were developed to fix the identified problems.
Many landowners benefited, including members of the Cold Creek Improvement Association. The association consisted of a voluntary group of 30 to 40 cooperating landowners dedicated to the natural rehabilitation of the Cold Creek watershed. Projects comprised of streambank erosion protection, tree and shrub planting, livestock exclusion fencing, machine and cattle stream crossings, construction of manure storage facilities, and creek obstruction removal.
The Conservation Services Program was discontinued in the mid 1990s as a result of significant provincial funding cuts. Watch for an upcoming blog that explains how new landowner stewardship programs were restored in 2010. (Land Stewardship Renewed – 2010)