Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley

Ground Water Protection Policies recommended by MVFN, 2002
StreamHere is the final wording arrived at regarding protection of groundwater resources in Mississippi Mills, which was submitted Thursday, September 12, 2002 to the Mississippi Mills Official Plan Steering Committee. Many thanks to the dozen or so members who sent in comments and suggestions.Provincial Policy Statement

2.4  Water Quality and Quantity2.4.1  The quality and quantity of ground water and surface water and the function of sensitive ground water recharge/discharge area, aquifers and headwaters will be protected or enhanced.

MVFN Recommendations

Identification and inventory

Identify and delineate size, quantity, quality and location of all aquifer systems including headwaters and sensitive ground water recharge/discharge areas within the boundaries of Mississippi Mills, as well as those shared with adjacent municipalities.

Conduct an inventory of all current users of groundwater and amounts used, related to each specific aquifer. Inventory shall be updated every five years.

Develop an agreed upon criteria for assessing sources of discharge/recharge areas on private property.

Protection and Management

New industrial, commercial and institutional development requiring use of ground water shall necessitate an environmental impact study (EIS).

Protect,  through buffer zones, site plan controls and other control mechanisms,   all groundwater ecosystems.

Conduct an assessment report on all potential and known threats affecting the health of groundwater, including cumulative impacts. This report shall be renewed every five years.

Development activities and land uses which impact the land’s capacity to absorb rainwater into existing aquifer systems, shall be restricted.

Groundwater, as a renewable resource, must be managed sustainably. No extraction from an aquifer system shall be allowed which consumes groundwater at a greater rate than can be replenished by that system.

All development activities and land uses which may cause contamination of groundwater including recharge/discharge areas, shall be disallowed.

No new extraction of groundwater activities shall be allowed unless applicant can prove such water taking will have no detrimental impact on existing uses.

Private landowners impacted by enforcement of regulations concerning protection of groundwater and recharge/discharge areas shall be considered for compensation.

The municipality shall recognize and cooperate with landowners as stewards of their own environment.


Provincial Policy Statement    2.4.1

Having Regard-Environmental Commissioner of Ontario Annual Report 2001/2002

Changing Perspectives-Environmental Commissioner of Ontario Annual Report 1999/2000

Caring for Your Land-A Stewardship Handbook      University of Guelph

Natural Heritage Planning Policy in Ontario-A Review of County and Regional OPs

Natural Heritage Reference Manual-For Policy 2.3 of PPS     OMNR

Input from Canadian Evironmental Law Assocation, Ducks Unlimited, Federation of Ontario Naturalists and numerous comments from MVFN members.

Submitted by Cliff Bennett on behalf of MVFN    

Continue reading...

Press Release
Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists
August 24, 2002
Written by Cliff Bennett

Mississippi Mills Moves to Protect Turtles

Turtle CrossingAt several noted locations along the roads of Mississippi Mills, turtles cross over with great regularity during the summer, in a migratory move to traditional feeding and nesting sites. Many don’t make it; they get run over by vehicles. In a move to save as many of these important wetland creatures as possible, Mississippi Mills Council recently passed a motion to approve the installation of turtle crossing signs at specific active locations throughout the municipality.

The initiative to encourage the crossing signs came from the organization Turtle S.H.E.L.L. and was supported by the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists (MVFN). The initials S.H.E.L.L. stand for safety, habitat, education and long life. The mission of Turtle S.H.E.L.L. is to protect our indigenous turtle species from extinction through education, habitat awareness and placing of road signs at migratory sites. Many signs are already in place in the Bancroft area and throughout Leeds Grenville and the organization is presently negotiating with the County of Lanark for signs along County Road 16. Turtle S.H.E.L.L. has published a booklet on turtles for use in schools entitled “Let’s Talk Turtles”.

The president of the group, Ottawa resident Michele St.Cyr, approached local officials with details and sign design in April of this year, after key locations were identified by MVFN. Signs are already in place on Clayton Road and will soon be installed on Cedar Hill Road and Bellamy Road. Locations indicate major turtle crossing areas within a km. of the signs.

Mississippi Mills Council is to be commended for taking this initiative to help protect this important wildlife species. The move shows the municipal leaders care about the environment and its natural creatures. Three species of turtles common in our area , the painted, snapping and Blandings will now be better able to maintain their numbers if motorists pay attention to the signs and help keep the mortality rate low.

What should you do if you come across a turtle on the road? Turtles cannot hear well and can only look forward. They sense danger through vibrations but are too slow in movement to get out of the way of fast moving vehicles. Some concerned people stop (in a safe manner) and carefully move the turtles off the road, in the direction they were heading. Snapping turtles though, are often too large and too dangerous to move by hand and should only be helped by inserting a shovel or similar rigid material under it to help it over the road. Turtle S.H.E.L.L. can be contacted by calling 613-446-4995 or by e-mail at

Continue reading...

Press Release
Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists
April 23, 2002
Submitted by Cliff Bennett

MVFN Holds Successful Spring Bird Count

WoodpeckerAn exercise in saturation birding occurred on Sunday, April 21 when twenty -one members and friends of the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists met in Appleton to take part in the club’s first annual Square Bashing bird census. The skies were clear but a brisk northern wind reddened everyone’s face and hands. Organized by MVFN Past -President Cliff Bennett, the event was an introduction to the second year of the five year Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas (OBBA) programme.

The whole province is divided into ten km. squares for the purpose of conducting the OBBA. MVFN has undertaken to cover one of these sections, identified as the Appleton square.The early morning Sunday birders were divided into six teams and each team was assigned a series of twelve point counts. With topo map and count sheets in hand, they set off to stop at each point, count everything heard or seen, compile their results and return to base. With so many counters in the field at one time, very few birds escaped notice.

The final tally for the count include forty-eight species of birds, totaling 3265 individuals. Collecting the highest score were Canada geese, with 2034 counted, followed by red-winged blackbirds, a mere 228. In spite of the cold wind, most birds were active with their mating rituals. An exception was a colony of purple martins in Appleton. They were huddled by their holes on the leeward side of the martin house, soaking up the sunshine but not moving one feather.

Over the next two months, individual birds listed at specific points in the square will be followed up, in the search for successful breeding evidence. During the 1980 ‘s OBBA , ninety-seven species were confirmed breeders in the Appleton square. So far, during the first year’s efforts, MVFN has listed twenty-seven confirmed as breeding. Special thanks go out to all those who took part in Sunday’s square bashing exercise.

The next MVFN event, Saturday, May 11, will be a walk in the forest to study edible wilds, conducted by noted authority on the subject, Martha Webber. For more information call Sarah Coulber, 256-2162 or visit the MVFN website at

Continue reading...

Press Release
Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists
April 04, 2002
Cliff Bennett

Sewage lagoons are wonderful places to spot water and shore birds.

{wp-gallery-remote: gallery=0; rootalbum=2312; showalbumtitle=true;}

The Almonte Lagoons, noted in Clive Goodwin’s definitive revised edition manual “A Bird-Finding Guide to Ontario”, is within the membership area of Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists (MVFN). With this in mind, MVFN established a trail and observation tower.

The trail to the tower, with entrance from the 8th Conc. of Ramsay, in Mississippi Mills, Lanark County, goes along a cultivated field and through an abandoned pioneer farm yard. The tower, named the Potvin Tower after the donators, is a three level playground structure and overlooks the western lagoon. With a spotting scope as well as binoculars, birders can easily scan the surface and shores as well as the surrounding countryside. View photos below.

Erected in 1996, the trail is open to all interested naturalists. Although the whole area is posted with no trespassing signs, birders are most welcome as long as they accept entrance at their own risk. A new sign stating so is posted on the main gate, across from the Auld Kirk Cemetery.

Directions. From Almonte, travel west on County Road 16, Wolf Grove Road, one mile, to Ramsay Conc. 8. At this intersection you will find the famous heritage Auld Kirk church. Turn north, go about 200m and park alongside the road. You will see the sign on the main gate with an arrow to the trail entrance, about 20 m further.

Remember to leave nothing behind but your thanks.

Take nothing away except pictures.

Good birding!

Continue reading...