Grants available for community conservation projects

Grand River Conservation Foundation grants are now available


Applications are now being accepted from community groups and schools for Community Conservation Grants given out by the Grand River Conservation Foundation and the Grand River Conservation Authority.

Each year grants of up to $1,000 are awarded to qualified groups (must be a registered charity), or up to $500 for elementary schools, undertaking conservation projects in communities throughout the Grand River watershed. Eligible projects must be tangible and available for the use or benefit of the entire community.

The deadline for receipt of grant applications is May 2. The award recipients will be selected this summer with the cheque presentation taking place this fall. A final report may be requested of grant recipients within one year, or upon the successful completion of the project.

Applications can be downloaded from or by contacting the foundation in Cambridge at (519) 621-2763 ext. 2373 or by e-mail at [email protected]

Ken Kirkby speaks at Grand River Water Forum

Grand River Watershed Water Forum in Cambridge on Friday, Sept. 17.

Ken Kirkby, a noted Canadian painter, businessman and conservationist, is the keynote speaker at Grand River Watershed Water Forum in Cambridge on Friday, Sept. 17.

Kirkby lives in B.C. and has repeatedly achieved what he has been told cannot be done. One of those achievements is working with a group on Vancouver Island to bring fish back to a nearly-dead river, but he also brought inukshuks to the attention of people around the world and had a hand in the creation of Nunavut.

“In my opinion, Ken and his association on Nile Creek have done the near impossible – bringing back pink salmon, coastal cutthroat and coho to an almost dead river,” said Jack Imhof a member of the Water Forum planning committee and the national biologist for Trout Unlimited Canada.

Nile Creek, on Vancouver Island is not much bigger than Whitemans Creek near Brantford, but more than 100,000 fish returned to the river during last year’s salmon run.

“Ken’s message to local communities concerned about their river is universal. You can make a difference as a person in restoring your local river to health. Agencies can come and go, but local people feel the loss of a river the most and therefore have the most to gain from its restoration.

Don’t let them tell you it is not possible,” Imhof said.

The theme of this year’s water forum is “Inspiring Grand Transformations: Our Preferred Future” and it is about what individuals can do for local conservation, no matter whether they work as volunteers or as staff members for organizations.

Two panel discussions will examine the future and how the resources of the Grand will be managed sustainably. Ontario Environmental Commissioner Gord Miller will take a look back at 10 years of water forums, while the annual GRCA Watershed Report will also be presented.

Water Forum takes place at the head office of the Grand River Conservation Authority, 400 Clyde Rd., Cambridge from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Registration is open to everyone.

“This is the 10th anniversary of water forum and we are really hoping to attract a wide range of people. We normally have over 300 people at this event. You don’t have to be an expert or a professional in order to find it worthwhile, especially in light of this year’s keynote speaker and theme,” said Ralph Beaumont, Manager of Environmental Education and Marketing. “Lots of individuals have a connection to the Grand River and its tributaries in many different ways. They really can make a difference to this watershed.”

For more information or to register for Water Forum, check or call 519-621-2763, ext. 2315. Water Forum registration is $100 plus HST and the student/senior rate is $55 plus HST.

Fishing Grand River Country New Edition

Discover some great fishing on the Grand River this year.

The GRCA has just released a vastly updated version of its popular Fishing Grand River Country book.

Essentially an entirely new book, it was researched and written by noted angler Stephen May on behalf of the GRCA, and published by James Lorimer and Co. Ltd.

The book contains 160 pages, in full colour, with detailed information on fishing in all parts of the main Grand River and its major tributaries.

The Grand has more than 80 species of fish – representing 50 per cent of all fish species found in Canada.  Being a river so close to major cities, the Grand has become a major recreational fishery of exceptionally high quality.

The book highlights all of the major sport fish species, including the best times for fishing, river character and access points.  There are even special sections on urban angling opportunities, and fishing within Grand River Conservation Areas.

Fishing Grand River Country is a must have for both novice and experienced anglers.

Proceeds go to help with fisheries habitat improvement work on streams within the Grand River watershed.

To get your copy of Fishing Grand River Country, ask for it in local stores, or it’s available in the Online Store section of the GRCA’s website at

The book sells for $24.95.

Take a Kid Fishing Day May 8th

‘Take a Kid Fishing Day’ May 8 at Belwood Lake Conservation Area

Junior anglers can learn from the pros at the Shimano Take a Kid Fishing Day at Belwood Lake Conservation Area near Fergus on Saturday, May 8.

The event is free for registered participants, although they will have to pay park entry fees, which are $2.50 for children and $4.50 for adults.

There will be two half-day sessions, with space for 120 people in each. The morning session will go from 8:30 a.m. to noon, with the afternoon session running from 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. Kids in both sessions can join in the free barbecue lunch from noon to 1 p.m.

The day is designed to get new anglers, between 8 and 14, involved in fishing and help them improve their skills. Children must be supervised by a parent or guardian.

The children will take lessons and then try their new skills at the stocked pond in the conservation area. They’ll learn how to cast, rig lures, tie flies, identify various fish species and their habitats and learn how to catch more fish. Archery lessons are also available.

For more information and to register, call Belwood Lake Conservation Area at (519) 843-2979 or
e-mail [email protected]. The conservation area is at 8282 Wellington County Road 18, four kilometres east of Fergus. The event brochure is available in the Calendar section of the GRCA website at Look for the listing in May events.

Event sponsors are the GRCA, Shimano, Bass Pro Shops, Rapala, Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters TackleShare, Friends of the Grand River, Berkley, Wellington County Stewardship Council, KWC Bassmasters, Mitten, GayLea, Storm Lures and the Canadian Bass Anglers Federation

Stewardship efforts receive financial boost

The Community Stream Steward Program (C.S.S.P.) has secured funding from federal and provincial government agencies as well as private sources, for numerous stream restoration projects within its catchment area.

Hosted by the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (O.F.A.H.), the C.S.S.P. educates and engages individuals and groups to act as stewards in restoring community streams, with associated benefits for healthy fish and wildlife populations.

“Landowners are willing and committed stewards of our water resources. The Community Stream Steward Program (C.S.S.P.) assists them in undertaking projects by providing training and financial support, which are key components to success,” says C.S.S.P. Coordinator, Erin Carroll. “We are grateful for these grants that acknowledge the value of stewardship initiatives such as planting shorelines, stabilizing banks, improving fish habitat, installing livestock fencing and creating alternate watering sources for livestock.

Every project, large or small, contributes to a healthier ecosystem.”

Environment Canada’s Lake Simcoe Clean-Up Fund is contributing $96,000 to the second phase of C.S.S.P.’s Lake Simcoe clean-up plan. Several shoreline restoration projects will be planned and implemented on lake tributaries.

The RBC Foundation is providing a $55,000 leadership grant to the C.S.S.P. through its RBC Blue Water Project, a wide-ranging, multi-year program that helps foster a culture of water stewardship globally.

The provincial Species at Risk (S.A.R.) Stewardship fund is providing the C.S.S.P. with $40,000 to aid in protecting six species at risk—Redside dace (Threatened), Channel darter (Threatened), Atlantic salmon (Extirpated), American eel (Endangered), Blanding’s turtle (Threatened) and Wood turtle (Endangered). With assistance from the C.S.S.P., landowners and volunteers will undertake stream restoration projects in the watersheds within Northumberland County, Peterborough County, the City of Kawartha Lakes and Region of Durham.

The Ontario Wildlife Foundation (O.W.F.) is contributing over $9,000 to support C.S.S.P. initiatives. The O.W.F. is dedicated to the conservation and enhancement of Ontario’s fish and wildlife habitat through research and restoration.

The C.S.S.P. is a multi-partner initiative that is focused on creating a sense of community by assisting dedicated individuals and groups in restoring local streams. To learn more, visit

With over 100,000 members, subscribers and supporters, and 660 member clubs, the O.F.A.H. is the largest private, nonprofit fish and wildlife conservation organization in Ontario, and the voice of anglers and hunters. For more information, visit

GRCA parks getting ready to open

Grand River Conservation Authority Most Grand River Conservation Authority Parks will open for the season on Friday, May 1 at noon.The GRCA operates 12 conservation areas, eight of which offer camping, with about 2,500 camping sites.Opening on May 1 will be Byng Island (Dunnville), Brant (Brantford), Pinehurst (Paris), Laurel Creek (Waterloo), Conestogo (Drayton), Guelph Lake, Elora Gorge and Luther Marsh (Grand Valley.)Three parks have earlier opening dates. Belwood Lake (Fergus) opened on April 9 and Rockwood is opening Friday, April 24. Those two parks have stocked trout ponds so have opened early to allow anglers to start fishing when trout season opens at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, April 25. Shade’s Mills (Cambridge) also opened Friday, April 24.One other park, Elora Quarry, will open in mid-June.A season-long alcohol ban is in effect at Elora Gorge. Early season bans, from May 14 (Victoria Day weekend) to June 21, will be in place at Byng Island, Guelph Lake and Laurel Creek. Alcohol is banned in all parks during the Victoria Day and Labour Day weekends.