My Watermark is the Nottawasaga River in Ontario.
I’m the Ontario Biologist with Trout Unlimited Canada (TUC) and work with a small team out of Guelph. Our Guelph office is a satellite station of the main office in Calgary. TUC is a national, not-for-profit organization. Our mission is to conserve, protect and restore Canada’s freshwater ecosystems and their coldwater resources for current and future generations. All of the work TUC does is directed toward achieving this mission. Our work is guided by science and research and fueled by the unending passion of our volunteers and professional staff. We often collaborate with a variety of different partners, including local municipalities, conservation authorities the federal and provincial government and our TUC chapters to implement rehabilitation restoration projects.
I grew up on a tributary of the Nottawasaga River, called the Pine River. My dad, brother and I would frequently fish the Pine and other Nottawasaga River tributaries, the Noisy and Mad Rivers. My Dad would take us to all his favourite fishing holes.
My birthday falls near the end of April and that always coordinated with the start of trout opener. It was a tradition for us to get up bright and early to fish together. It was great to have that time together and listen to stories about my Dad fishing at that same spot when he was young. I think these times together is what probably instilled my love for ecology and ultimately lead me to pursue a career in environmental science.
Currently, the Nottawasaga River is still fishable, however, it is evident that these tributaries could use some work due to local agricultural practices, the rivers have received an overabundance of silt and sediment which can affect the aquatic life that inhabits these areas. Brook Trout, for instance, require highly oxygenated water with gravel beds to effectively spawn. If the riverbed is too silty, it may be hard to find appropriate substrate to spawn in, which could lead to a decrease in population.
I would love to start a local TUC chapter on this watershed to focus on restoration initiatives where I grew up. I would love to see it back to the state that it was intended to be.