Our most recent projects are described below. We’ve also included three detailed reports from past projects.
Carleton University – Environmental Science Projects
In fall of 2017 OSC is sponsoring projects in Carleton University’s Environmental Science Program as an external partner. Led by Dr. Steven J. Cooke, the Group Research in Environmental Science Project course for third year students is undertaking four out of five projects submitted by the OSC. The students are tackling a diverse array of topics related to local environment issues that are a focus for the OSC and other partner organizations:
Urban Forest Management Plan
On 28 June 2017 Ottawa City Council approved the Urban Forest Management Plan, which provides for a strategic and planned approach to caring for and enhancing our city’s wooded areas such as in parks, on streets, in natural areas, and on private property. We have been a Key Stakeholder during the public consultation process; you can read our comments on the draft plans here. The OSC will be a member of the new External Urban Forest Working Group to help the City implement the plan, and is a named partner in three of the Plan’s recommendations:
– #22 – Expand community engagement, public education, and marketing of urban forestry,
– #23 – Develop and implement an urban forest outreach and engagement strategy, and
– #25 – Promote and facilitate the development and implementation of Neighbourhood Stewardship Plans.
Stewardship of Urban Natural Areas
The City of Ottawa has numerous natural areas, parks or “woodlots”, which are under stress (e.g. from the emerald ash borer) and/or neglected. Each year the OSC, in partnership with the City of Ottawa, picks a City-owned urban or suburban natural area on which to direct stewardship activities. Some areas may require multi-year commitment depending on the area’s size and the scope of required stewardship. At the end of the project, responsibility for sustained stewardship activities are taken on by a community group and/or school.
Please read about our Stittsville project in Kemp Woodland, a forest with cedar trees over two hundred years old, where we’re working with Sacred Heart High School.
In 2015 we added a new City-owned woodlot, Chapman Mills West, in Barrhaven. Our community partner is École secondaire catholique Pierre-Savard.
Butternut Recovery Program
For spring 2017, the RVCA’s Butternut Recovery Program allocated 50 Butternut trees to the OSC to plant in areas where large numbers of dead ash trees have been removed. Butternut trees are a native Species at Risk (Endangered status) due to a canker fungus that kills the trees. The Recovery Program collects seed from regional Butternuts that seem resistant to the canker and then offers the resulting seedlings to landowners across Eastern Ontario. We worked with City of Ottawa foresters to determine suitable planting sites in Stittsville, Barrhaven, and Kanata, and a golf course in Manotick, and local schools and community groups to do the planting. Read more about our Butternut planting and partners.
Bat Boxes for Golf Courses
The City of Ottawa awarded us a grant for materials to build bat roosting boxes. Boxes were donated to interested golf courses, who agreed to install them properly on their links and monitor them for habitation. The boxes attract roosting bats, who eat large numbers of biting insects. In Ottawa the bats most attracted to roosting boxes are the Little Brown Bat (a Species at Risk) and the Big Brown Bat. Sixty boxes were built by Sacred Heart High School in Stittsville. The students received community service volunteer hours for their work.
The Ottawa Stewardship Council acknowledges the financial support from the City of Ottawa’s Community Environmental Project Grant Program (CEPGP).
The Species at Risk (SAR) Handbook for the City of Ottawa
The City of Ottawa has many natural, green spaces both rural and urban/suburban. These areas support a large variety of plants, insects, and wildlife some of which are considered Species at Risk. To raise awareness of these species living within the City’s boundaries and to provide a general reference the Ottawa Stewardship Council, in conjunction with key contributors and partners, has created an illustrated Species at Risk Handbook. The Handbook provides a photo, description, and habitat for all native species currently listed under both the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA) and the Ontario Endangered Species Act (ESA), 2007 living in the City of Ottawa.
Carp River Green Banks Program
The OSC funded the purchase of over 1000 trees and shrubs that were planted in May 2014 by volunteers and MVCA staff along the Carp River and one of its tributaries. The expected impacts of this project include filtering agricultural runoff from entering the Carp River and stabilizing the banks to prevent further erosion. Both of these issues contribute to the poor water quality. The shrubs/trees planted will also create new habitat for wildlife with food and shelter.
A Few More Past Projects
In 2013 the OSC translated the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resource’s “Preparing for Emerald Ash Borer: A Landowner’s Guide For Managing Ash Forests” into French.
In the spring of 2013 the OSC constructed bird and bat boxes, which we handed out to interested landowners from our booth at the Ottawa Green Living Expo 2013.