The largest watershed in the Blue Mountain Watershed
The Beaver River watershed is the largest watershed in the Blue Mountain Watershed. It contains diverse valley lands and Niagara Escarpment topography which provide a wide range of natural environment and habitat for flora and fauna, attracting many visitors to the area to enjoy the natural heritage features; to experience great hiking and fishing; to actively participate in winter sports such as skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling; and photographing the natural wonders of this unique area.
The large agricultural sector is of great economic benefit to the Town and comprises some of the best orchards in Canada.
The Beaver River flows into Georgian Bay, the source of drinking water for The Town of The Blue Mountains and the Town of Collingwood. Therefore, preserving the level of water quality in the Beaver River is important to us all.
In 1999, the Watershed Trust received grants totaling $200,000 for our “Beaver River Water Quality Improvement Project”. Under the direction of Mr. Ray Robertson, Manager of Grey Agricultural Services, the three-year project was completed in 2002. About 45 individual projects such as livestock exclusion fencing, livestock/machinery stream crossings, alternate livestock watering systems designed to keep livestock out of the watercourses, stream bank stabilization, buffer strips and fisheries rehabilitation were completed. The goal was improvement to the water quality in the Beaver River and its tributaries. Landowner contributions of materials, machinery and labour were essential to the success of the project. It was a great community effort.
A landowner survey done several years ago revealed that water quality was the most important environmental issue within our community. Landowners are for good reason very concerned about the quality of their drinking water, and realize the importance of a healthy watershed.
We see proposed aggregate developments as serious threats to the quality of the surface water and groundwater, but also of doubtful economic benefit as they will detract from the natural beauty of the area which attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists and vacationers to this area. Environment Canada found that up to 28 jobs per $1 million spent were created through habitat conservation projects, while Grey infrastructure projects created less than 10 jobs per $1 million spent. For more information, see http://www.fur.ca/files/economic_impact_analysis_7_09_10.pdf.
We opposed the new Walker Aggregates Duntroon and MAQ quarries because of their strategic location at the headwaters of the Beaver River. The headwaters are located in the Niagara Escarpment, an UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, and within the Provincially Significant Rob Roy Wetland complex. The largest known colony in North America of the American Hart’s Tongue Fern, a plant species of special concern resides within these two properties. There are butternut trees which are listed by MNR as threatened; and bobolink, a threatened bird species have been observed on the MAQ site and have habitat suitable to them on the Walker property.