Last month, Millbrook resident Jim Slavin introduced Council to the goals and intentions of the newest local environmental organization, the Millbrook chapter of Trout Unlimited Canada (TUC).
The branch is the newest member of this registered Canadian not for profit organization whose mission is the conservation, protection and restoration of Canada’s freshwater ecosystems and coldwater resources. A leader in water and fisheries protection, the 40-year old organization relies on science and research and the passion of volunteers and professional staff in local chapters across the country to guide their activities. The Millbrook chapter was launched in September by Scott Calder and his wife Cori Carveth.
To coin a local touchstone, it’s all about water. As Jim Slavin explained, TUC focuses on the quality and quantity of Canada’s streams and rivers, protecting and restoring animal habitat and fish populations through collaborative projects with landowners and volunteers, education efforts and advocacy work with provincial and regional groups with mandates surrounding fisheries management, habitat protection and the mitigation of environmental threats.
One of the ways to protect cold water resources is by maintaining healthy riparian growth. Coldwater streams are fed by groundwater and ideally remain at temperatures below 19 C. Healthy vegetation along the banks of these streams provide buffers, creating shade, filtering pollutants including sediment and nutrients and stemming bank erosion which help maintain cool temperatures.
In the few months since its inception, members have been to work. They participated in the rehabilitation of the vegetative buffer along the bank of the Millbrook pond, where they helped plant 250 trees. They have also established partnerships with like-minded organizations including Otonabee Regional Conservation Authority, Fleming College’s School of Natural Resources and Millbrook Valley Trails to coordinate data collection to help develop plans to maintain and enhance the health of the Baxter Creek watershed.
Part of TUC’s mandate is education, and members of the local chapter look forward to launching educational efforts directed at students and families, particularly those new to the community. To this end, they hope to engage local schools with the organization’s award-winning water education program designed to reduce water pollution. Called the Yellow Fish Road™ program, it illustrates the connection between storm drains and our rivers, lakes and streams, demonstrating how to prevent pollutants such as soap, fertilizer, litter, dirt, oil, pet feces and construction materials from entering storm drains to protect water courses. Its catch-phrase ‘Only Rain Goes Down the Drain’ is self-explanatory.
TUC’s collaborative approach to coldwater conservation seeks input from all stakeholders to work together to protect habitat; reconnect fragmented fish habitat; restore degraded habitat and at-risk native trout and salmon populations; and sustain conservation gains and public support for them by building an active community of angler-advocates. They look forward to engaging the community through specific projects and general education to protect our coldwater resources for future generations.
If history is any indication, the group should expect a receptive local audience for their message. To learn more about the organization, visit www.tucanada.org/millbrook-chapter/ or contact them by email at Troutunlimitedmillbrook@gmail.com. KG