The Rideau Valley Conservation Authority is looking to promote its stewardship programs in Merrickville-Wolford, focusing on the subwatershed.
Forestry Program Manager Scott Danford says that each year they target a specific section of the Rideau River Subwatershed. This year they are focusing on the Middle Rideau Subwatershed which begins at Rideau Lakes, flows through Merrickville-Wolford and turns into the Lower Rideau at Burritts Rapids.
Residents of Merrickville-Wolford who own property long the Middle Rideau Subwatershed are eligible for a number of stewardship programs and grants aimed at getting landowners involved in keeping the water clean and healthy.
The Shoreline Naturalization Program offers subsidies to those who wish to naturalize their shoreline by planting shrubs, grass, wildflowers and aquatic plants in a buffer zone between the land and water. This helps to limit the amount of runoff from fertilizers and pesticides, soil particles, road salt, vehicle fluids and other substances that may affect the health of the river.
Another program specifically targets farmers by providing them with subsidies for creating barriers between livestock and their portion of the Middle Rideau Subwatershed. The Rural Clean Water Programs subsidizes those who wish to put up livestock restriction fencing or set up a system where the animals can still drink the water provided by the Middle Rideau without actually coming in contact with the river. This is in an effort to help control the amount of animal waste that enters the water, and contribute to improving the health of the Rideau River as a whole.
A tree planting program is also offered by the RVCA to landowners regardless of whether they are on the Middle Rideau Subwatershed or not. People with 0.4 hectares of land are eligible for 90% subsidies on tree planting costs, which Scott says comes out to roughly 15 cents per tree. The program includes site preparation and planning, as well as tree planting and tending. In order to take advantage of the program, landowners must be willing to purchase a minimum of 500 trees.