The 8th annual Watershed Stewards Appreciation Day was hosted on Sunday, October 2, 2016 by Conservation Halton (CH) and Hamilton Conservation Authority (HCA), at Kelso Conservation Area in Milton. In attendance were property owners from the CH and HCA watersheds that have been recognized as “Watershed Stewards”; landowners who have been recognized for their protection and enhancement of private land.
Despite the rainy weather, the group enjoyed lunch, cake and presentations from David Hulsman (representing Field and Stream Rescue Team), Joanne Tunnicliffe (representing the First Unitarian Church) and Wendy Derrick (representing Fern Hill School). Attendees were later inspired by Ruby Pajares who came to speak on behalf of Lake Ontario Waterkeeper. Promoting their cause for ‘swimmable, drinkable, fishable water’, Ruby introduced the Watermark Project, a web based initiative (https://www.watermarkproject.ca/).
Scott Peck, Director of Watershed Planning & Engineering with the HCA remarked, “We cannot conserve without the cooperation and engagement with the people who own and live on the land. Our stewardship projects and land stewards play an extremely important role in land conservation.”
Hassaan Basit, Conservation Halton Chief Administrative Officer added, “Collectively as a group, these stewards are helping Conservation Halton and Hamilton Conservation Authority protect more than 3000ha of natural areas and over 160km of streams. It’s remarkable!”
With vibrant fall colours beginning to show and the rain having passed, participants ended their day to enjoy free access to both Kelso and Rattlesnake Point Conservation Areas to explore.
The Hamilton and Halton Watershed Stewardship Programs work with landowners in the watersheds of Hamilton Conservation Authority and Conservation Halton, providing advice on environmentally friendly ways of managing properties with natural features such as woodlots, wetlands, meadows and creeks. The programs are now operating in their 22nd year since inception.