RBC funds City Stream Watch

MEDIA RELEASE

CONSERVATION AUTHORITIES RECEIVE  A  $50,000 RBC BLUE WATER GRANT IN SUPPORT OF THEIR POPULAR CITY STREAM WATCH PROGRAM

OTTAWA, June 23, 2014 — Thanks to the generosity of RBC’s $50,000 donation the hugely successful City Stream Watch Initiative is now expanding to include streams across Ottawa West.

The City Stream Watch program gathers environmental information on the aquatic and riparian conditions of some of Ottawa’s most neglected urban and rural creeks. Volunteer, “citizen scientists” are trained to collect technical information on creek conditions and health. Volunteers also participate in special stewardship initiatives that include shoreline planting, stream clean-up events to remove garbage and invasive species removal projects.

“We are very grateful to RBC and their Blue Water Project for stepping up to fund this important partnership program,” said Jennifer Lamoureux, RVCA Biologist. “We are delighted to see this project expand west through the Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority (MVCA). It means more city streams will benefit from this science to stewardship approach.

For the past 12 years, the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority (RVCA) has been implementing the program on streams in the Rideau watershed. With this funding, the project is ready to expand into the neighbouring Mississippi watershed.

“Our support for the popular grass roots program not only reflects our confidence in the terrific work conservation authorities are doing in our community around watershed management, but reflects RBC’s commitment to water and the indispensable role that it plays in our lives, and the urgent need to protect it,” said Glen Kelsey, regional vice president, Rideau Lakes & Valley, RBC.

The expanded program will provide monitoring and assessment to an additional 50 kilometres — meaning more than 400 kilometres of Ottawa’s urban creeks are being observed and tended to as part of a coordinated review cycle. Monitoring the creeks allow Conservation Authority staff to identify other special stewardship projects that will enhance the creeks’ natural features.

“This funding will allow staff to coordinate the volunteers who make this program a success,” says Lamoureux. “Over 1,300 volunteers have participated in this program since it started in 2003 — this amounts to over 11,000 hours of volunteer hours that have been invested in our local communities. It is the rewarding, hands-on nature of the work that makes it so popular. People love to connect with their local stream, get their hands dirty and make a difference.”

“The City Stream Watch program is an opportunity for staff to see features of the watershed not accessible from road crossings or aerial photography. During our first sampling week on Huntley Creek we discovered a waterfall and observed nesting snapping turtles,” says Kelly Stiles, MVCA City Stream Watch Coordinator. “Working closely with volunteers and landowners also helps us better understand the community features of the watercourse while adding more in stream collection points for science based analysis. This creates a holistic view of the health and importance of the water body.”

About City Stream Watch Program
The City Stream Watch Program is made possible thanks to City of Ottawa, Heron Park Community Association, MVCA, South Nation Conservation, Ottawa Flyfishers Society, Rideau Roundtable, RVCA, National Defense HQ – Fish and Game Club, Ottawa Stewardship Council and the National Capital Commission.

About RBC Blue Water Project
The RBC Blue Water Project is a historic, wide-ranging, 10-year global commitment to help protect the world’s most precious natural resource: fresh water. Since 2007, RBC has pledged nearly $41 million to more than 700 charitable organizations worldwide that protect water, including the grants announced today, with an additional $8.8 million pledged to universities for water programs. In 2013-2014, the RBC Blue Water Project will focus on supporting initiatives that help protect water in towns, cities and urbanized areas. For further information, visit www.rbc.com/bluewater.

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Media contacts:
Jennifer Lamoureux,
Aquatic & Fish Habitat Biologist
Rideau Valley Conservation Authority
613-692-3571 ext. 1108
jennifer.lamoureux@rvca.ca

Kelly Stiles
Aquatic Habitat Biologist
Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority
kelly.stiles@mvc.on.ca

Christopher De Vito
Communications Director
RBC Royal Bank
613-564-2120
chris.devito@rbc.com

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