By Pauline Kerr
Shannon Wood and Wayne Brohman of the Saugeen Valley Conservation Authority made a presentation to Municipality of Kincardine council on May 22 on what the conservation authority is doing in the watershed, especially in Kincardine. SVCA was formed in 1949 with the primary purpose of flood and erosion control and the first major capital project was for flood control in Walkerton. Wood described the SVCA’s work in environmental planning and regulations as “keeping people away from the water and the water away from the people.” To date, there have been 19 flood and erosion control structures completed across the watershed, costing a total of $13,343,445, to protect 1,119 buildings, homes and businesses and approximately 4,500 people. Of special interest to the Kincardine council members was the work Saugeen Conservation is doing in this municipality. The Municipality of Kincardine (Penetangore River Watershed), became a member of SVCA in 1971, and since then, the area has benefitted greatly. “The Penetangore is your watershed,” said Wood, telling council it is 185 square kilometres in size, 29 kilometres in length, and falls a total of 112 metres from the headwaters to Lake Huron. The Penetangore empties 5.2 bathtubs full of water into Lake Huron every second. Since 1971, close to $6 million in capital projects have been completed in the watershed. “We’ve been involved big time in slope stability and erosion control,” Wood said. “In fact, it’s the biggest project we’ve ever done.” The Kincardine Slope Stability and Erosion Control Project cost $4.3 million to protect 23 businesses and four dwellings. The project was undertaken in response to the real threat of buildings falling into the river. Mayor Anne Eadie said the project that interested her the most was saving the buildings. “Don Smith gave me a tour once,” she said. She commended Saugeen Conservation for its work. “You do very well, considering the size of the watershed,” she stated. Coun. Laura Haight noted the conservation authority was well funded in the 1970s when the work began; that isn’t the case now. Wood said funding has been reduced by about 48 per cent. Other information included in Wood’s presentation included the fact a key part of flood control involves flood warnings; a total of 27 automated gauges measure various parameters across the watershed. Initiatives undertaken by Saugeen Conservation include tree planting. Although a bit late this year because of the wet weather, planting continues. In 2018, 80,000 trees were planted, Wood told council. Stewardship services involve working with a number of local groups including in the Kincardine area on a variety of initiatives. SVCA also conducts successful agricultural programs including the popular Coffee, Crops and Donuts program. Education is a key component of SVCA’s work. There are close to 90 different curriculumbased programs. In 2018, a total of 11,700 kids participated. Wood made special mention of community outreach and recreational programs, in particular the popular horse camping project at Saugeen Bluffs, Stoney Island (in this area) and formal tours of the Greenock Swamp.