Tuesday, February 27, 2007
I had trouble viewing the video at the Blip TV site but it's available here as well.
Sunday, February 25, 2007
Thursday, February 22, 2007
Review recommendations and provide input on the future of Crothers' Woods. This is the second and last phase of the public consultation for the Crothers' Woods Master Plan.
Wednesday, March 7, 2007
6:30pm - 8:30pm
City Hall (100 Queen St. West)
Committee Room 4
This is a followup to the public meeting last November. The consultants have been busy all winter and are now ready to present their draft report. I am sure this will generate a lot of interest.
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
A wintry marsh scene
Turkey Tail fungi (Trametes versicolor) growing on a log
A lonely White Pine (Pinus strobus) provides a little bit of colour against a beige background
Monday, February 19, 2007
As with any complex project there is the possibility of delays and this one is no exception. The latest word is that the proposed reopening of May 2007 has been pushed back to July. I don't know whether that will be July 1 or July 30 but I hope it is closer to the former. I miss the convenient entrance to the Don Valley trail system that the southern entrance provides. If I hear anything new I'll pass it along.
Sunday, February 18, 2007
As they become more popular these trails have attracted a variety of users including hikers and dog walkers. All this use has meant that the trails have become badly eroded and damaged, in some cases almost impassable.
The city after years of benign neglect realized that there was a problem and have decided to manage the situation, not by closing the trails but by trying to repair the trails so that they are able to last, called sustainable trails. This enlightened approach was taken based on experiences by similar municipalities in the the States and Western Canada where mountain biking activities have been around for longer periods.
Crothers' Woods also represents one of the last fragments of quality forest in the Lower Don Valley. Rather than deal with issues peacemeal the city decided to commission a management plan for the area which will include guidelines on how to manage all the diverse impacts on the area.
During this process, the city communicated with various groups and stakeholders to get input on the management plan. The mountain bikers up until now have been only loosely connected. The city said they would rather deal with a group than a bunch of individuals. This lead to the formation of a new group called the Toronto Off-Road Bicycling Group (TORBG). Their short term goal is to "represent off-road issues with the City of Toronto and the Toronto Region Conservation Authority for Crothers Woods Master Plan". Long term, who knows? A previous attempt to organize called the Don Valley Trail Users Club (DVTUC) failed. It will be interesting to see how long this group stays together.
The master plan is due to be published in March so we will see what happens then. Don Watcher will keep you posted.
Friday, February 16, 2007
Tanny was the chair of the Task Force from 1994-1998. It's interesting to note that Downsview Park is in the Don River Watershed although no streams currently run through the park - they have long since been buried by urbanization. Lost Rivers documents this quite well. Maybe Tanny can look into restoring some of these lost creeks.
Monday, February 12, 2007
I have been the stewardship team leader for the Nordheimer Ravine at Spadina and St. Clair for the past eight years since the two wetland sites were created in partnership by the city of Toronto’s department of Natural Environment in Parks, Forestry and Recreation, and the Task Force to Bring Back the Don. It is my pleasure each year to be a part of what occurs in the ravine and its constructed wetlands, aiding to assist the wild to become the everyday.
There are two restoration wetland sites used to soak up runoff, catch rain water and restore native wildlife species. The first, the Roycroft, has a shallow rain filled pond and is predominantly treed with aisles allowing for wildflowers and a raised berm along the walkway. It is considered a hardwood forest wetland.
The second the Glen Edyth is a meadow wetland with a meadow in front, and a large horseshoe shaped pond at the back filled from a stream in the ravine slope. The pond is sheltered by trees and shrubs.
Castlefrank Brook originally flowed through the ravine but in the 1970s the brook was buried in the storm water system in preparation for the Spadina Expressway that never was constructed.
Looking down from the slope west of the Glen Edyth wetland at the pond.
The main tasks of the stewards in the ravine each summer is to weed out invasive and nonnative plant and monitor plants that are growing for variety and status as nonnative, native or invasive. Over the years the number of native species has increased without planting and now there is little weeding in the wetlands proper. However, the path between the two sites and the meadow in front of the Glen Edyth still require weeding. The most invasive plants taken out are Burdock, Purple Loosestrife, Queen Anne’s Lace, Canada Thistle, Bird’s Foot Trefoil, and Japanese Knotweed. There is also a new patch of Dog-strangling Vine further west in the ravine near a small Skunk Cabbage wetland. We also remove Ragweed to prevent allergic reactions.
The sites and the ravine have become very plentiful in wild flowers, from Marsh Marigolds to asters of varying colors in the sites and outside, to Potato Vine, Michigan Lily, Turtlehead, Joe Pye-weed, and Vervain, and two varieties of rose amongst others. There are also ferns, and sedges, many cattails, arrowheads, and grasses.
In the summer of 2006 a request for proposed development on one segment of the ravine slope across the ravine from the Glen Edyth was taken to the Ontario Municipal Board. The decision is still pending. This particular slope is unusually healthy, and according to a Toronto and Region Conservation Area expert it is close to being old growth forest. Since European settlement it has almost always been forest. It was necessary to express to the OMB the importance of what occurs there both as restorative and innate to people and wildlife and protected as designated in the city’s planning act and by-laws.
Slope west of the Roycroft wetland.
Many animals inhabit or visit the ravine. Squirrels, Red-tailed Hawks, multiple varieties of songbirds, butterflies, bees and slugs, a few foxes and raccoons, and a one time sighting of traveling deer. It is also popular place with daily visits by dogs and people. It is also a fairly safe area. Despite isolated incidents a few years back, it has become a good place to stroll and read the educational signs set out by the city.
This posting and pictures are courtesy of Susan Aaron, stewardship leader at the Nordheimer Ravine wetlands. If you are interested in helping out in 2007, contact the city Summer volunteer program.
Sunday, February 04, 2007
Notice of submission
The latest step in one of the Environmental Assessments affecting the Don Valley is the one concerning transit improvements in the Don Mills Road/Don Valley Parkway corridor. The city has submitted a draft Terms of Reference to the Ministry of the Environment for review. The TOR can be viewed online or at any of the locations listed in the notice.