Hydrology is the study of water, where it is distributed on earth, how it moves and how it is distributed via the water cycle. A look at the hydrology of a watershed may look at factors affecting water resources, water quality and overall health and sustainability of the watershed for humans and wildlife.
The Lay of the Water Over Mississippi Lands
By Cathy Keddy
The Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists’ (MVFN) public lecture series, Biodiversity and Vital Connections for Fauna, Flora, and People, continues April 21 with the seventh presentation, “The Lay of the Water Over Mississippi Lands.” You do not need to be an expert to enjoy these lectures—just bring your curiosity or appreciation for the environment and wild nature.
How often do you give a thought to a glass of water? Well, if you live in Lanark, the answer may be quite often, however for most of us the answer is likely to be, rarely if ever. Most of us take this essential resource for granted—the water that comprises 70% of our body mass, expecting always to have an unending supply to do everything we wish. We even have the luxury of using water fit for drinking to flush our toilets! On average we use 300 l of water each day! Compare this to the water ‘footprint’ of the average citizen of Mozambique (4 l/d), Cambodia (15 l/d), England (149 l/d), Japan (374 l/d) or the US (575 l/d).
Here in the Mississippi Valley, why do we have such a plentiful supply of good, clean water? The answer lies in the lay of the water over and under the lands of the Mississippi watershed. Watershed . . . catchment area . . .drainage basin . . . whatever term we use, water, the essential element of all life in our area enters the Mississippi River Valley we call home, spends time in it, and then leaves.
From its headwaters above Upper Mazinaw Lake till it reaches the Ottawa River, the Mississippi River, over 200 km in length, is associated with over 250 lakes and countless wetlands. With 19 constructed dams (average of one every 10 km!), its flow is governed largely by human desires. Covering an area roughly 3765 km2 (3/4 the size of PEI) the lands of the watershed include large forests, small tracts of agricultural land, limited industry, and the many small towns and villages we know so well. The surface geology ranges from a thin veneer of till over Precambrian rock in the northwest (great for groundwater infiltration), to thick Champlain Sea clays near the outlet (great for surface runoff in a storm event).
At MVFN’s upcoming presentation, speaker Patricia Larkin will explore water diversity and tell us about the lay of our water and how land cover, surficial geology and flow influence its quality and quantity for our use and the health of our natural environment. Larkin is an award-winning environmental educator who delivered the successful MVFN-sponsored Engaging Grade 8’s in Source Water Protection program in local schools in 2009. Larkin currently is a member of the Mississippi-Rideau Source Protection Committee and recent winner of a Tri-Valley Conservation Award for her work in protecting local waterways and fostering an understanding of water as a resource.
Learn the lay of your water, and develop an appreciation for it. Wet behind the ears about water? Then bring your hard, heavy, fresh, and stagnant water questions to this presentation “The Lay of the Water Over Mississippi Lands,” Thursday April 21, 7:30pm., Almonte United Church Hall, Almonte. All are welcome ($5 fee for non-members). For further information please contact MVFN’s Program Chair Cathy Keddy at 613-257-3089.
December 6, 2007
FIRST SOURCE PROTECTION COMMITTEE MEETING FOR MISSISSIPPI-RIDEAU
The first official meeting of the newly-formed Mississippi-Rideau Source Protection Committee (SPC) will be held on Monday, December 17 at the Baxter Conservation Area near Kars. The 15-members of the Committee and Chair Janet Stavinga will be on hand to “meet and greet” the public from 6 – 7 pm followed by the first SPC business meeting starting at 7 pm. The meeting is open to the public and everyone is very welcome to attend.
The SPC represents the major municipal, business and interest group sectors in the huge area of the Mississippi and Rideau valley watersheds. They are charged with guiding and supporting the source protection planning process over the next five years of research, technical study, public consultation and development of municipal drinking water source protection plans.
Representing all watershed municipalities are Scott Bryce (Clerk/Treasurer, Village of Westport), Alex Cullen and Christine Leadman (Councillors, City of Ottawa), Paul Knowles (CAO, Carleton Place), and Eleanor Renaud (Councillor, Township of Elizabethtown-Kitley). Representing economic sectors are Richard Fraser (agriculture), Peter McLaren (agriculture), Domenic Idone (aggregates), Beverly Millar (small business) and Jim Riopelle (golf courses). Representing public interests are George Braithwaite (rural general public), Carol Dillon (Friends of the Tay Watershed), Patricia Larkin (non-governmental organizations), Randy Malcolm (Algonquins of Ontario) and Mary Trudeau (Ottawa Riverkeeper).
The formation of the local Mississippi-Rideau Source Protection Committee is a result of the Clean Water Act (CWA) which was passed by the Ontario Legislature in December, 2006. The CWA is part of Ontario’s response to the Walkerton tragedy of 2000. The CWA prescribes a process of watershed-based research, analysis and actions rooted in good science, public participation and sustained effort for keeping Ontario’s sources of drinking water safe. The province is divided into 19 Source Protection Regions for purposes of source water protection. Each of these 19 regions has a Source Protection Committee directing the production of Source Protection Plans to protect primarily municipal drinking water sources in their area. The Mississippi-Rideau is one of those 19 regions.
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For more information: (on Tuesday Dec 11 please)
Mississippi-Rideau Source Protection Region
613-692-3571 ext 1147 or 1-800-267-3504 ext 1147