Stratford Log Crib Wall Project
City of Stratford, Upper Thames River Conservation Authority, Rotary Club of Stratford, Avon River Environmental Association, local schools, Strtford Civic Beatification and Environmental Awareness Committee, CARE Stratford, and RBC Blue Water Project join forces to create a Log Crib Project along the Avon River
Since 1992, the Upper Avon River Conservation Club has planted treed buffers along the Avon River and its tributaries. The club has used the 1952 Avon Valley Plan as a guide for their conservation activities. A theme of “neighbours helping neighbours to improve the health of the Upper Avon River watershed” has been followed by club members.
To date, 6,000 native trees and shrubs have been planted on 25 different farms in the Upper Avon River watershed. These trees help improve the environment by providing shade for the streams, reducing wind and water erosion, filtering and taking up nutrients, providing habitat for birds, and producing oxygen.
More than 600 volunteers have helped during the past 14 years. The main core of planters is drawn from friends and neighbours in the Upper Avon River watershed. In addition, others have been encouraged to come out and help. Other participants have included the Meadowrun Fish and Game Club, Boy Scouts, Nature Roots, students from North Easthope School and Hamlet School and the Environmental Club from Stratford Central Secondary School.
Adopt a Watershed Project along the Avon River
Environment Canada – Ontario Region is working with the Upper Avon River Conservation Club and the UTRCA to pilot an Adopt a Watershed Project on the Upper Avon River, upstream of Stratford. The objective is for rural communities to adopt their local subwatershed in order to increase awareness of water and air quality issues, biodiversity and protection of species at risk in the rural landscape.
Interviews with rural residents are being completed by members of the Upper Avon River Conservation Club, with guidance from the UTRCA. The interviews will provide insights into the Club’s experience in raising environmental awareness. The plan is to use the Upper Avon River Conservation Club as a model for other Adopt a Watershed projects in Ontario.
The Adopt a Watershed concept is in keeping with the International Joint Commission’s recommendation to include local expertise and initiatives at the watershed level for the mutual benefit of the Great Lakes.
Brook Trout Reintroduction – A Measure of Success!
Improvements made to tributaries of the Upper Avon River by the local Conservation Club have provided conditions suitable for the reintroduction of our native Brook Trout. During the fall of 2012, 24 Brook Trout of various sizes were transferred into one of these tributaries. In the spring of 2013, 60 fingerlings raised by the Thames River Anglers (TRAA) at their Komoka hatchery were released in another tributary. This spring, approximately 500 fingerlings from the TRAA hatchery were released at each site.
Follow up monitoring results for the 2012-13 releases were a little disappointing as only one of the transferred fish was located. Results from sampling early in the summer of 2014 were much more promising. At the site where fingerlings were released the last two years, sampling a small section of stream yielded about a dozen of this year’s fingerlings and two 15 cm trout, indicating that at least a few of the 2013 introductions had survived. At the other stream, about 60 fingerlings and three trout measuring an estimated 30-35 cm were captured. The results indicate that the Brook Trout have not only survived but thrived, based on their rapid growth.