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Toronto's Urban watersheds and Conservation startagies

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abhiram vyas

on 15 November 2015

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Transcript of Toronto's Urban watersheds and Conservation startagies

Toronto's Urban Watersheds and Conservation Startagies
By: Abhiram Vyas
Don River was a clear, cold stream teeming with fish.
Emptied into Ash bridge's Marsh- a haven for fish, waterfowl and many animals.
Surrounded by forests and lush meadows, all rich with wildlife
Don R runs through one of the
most urbanized
river watersheds in Canada.
Don's 360 square kilometre watershed lies within the city of Toronto and its sprawling suburbs.
much of the life it once supported is gone
200 Years ago
What is name of the watershed you live in?
Formed 12,000 years ago by advancing and retreating glaciers.

The moraine gets its name from its rolling hills and river valleys extending 160 km

30 per cent forested and is one of the last refuges for forest birds in all of southern Ontario

The headwaters of all of the watersheds in Toronto originate in the moraine

supplying drinking water to more than 250,000 people
Contains the headwaters of 65 river systems -35 in the GTA alone!
Hooded Warbler is a threatened species in Canada
2012
Further Problems...
Abandoned aggregate pits are sometimes used as dump sites for commercial fill coming in from the GTA
At one site on Lakeridge Rd. in Scugog, there was evidence of heavy metals and petroleum hydrocarbons above permitted levels in the fill near a vulnerable aquifer
“Water grabbing”
-golfcourses taking water
-hence depleating water resources of the moraine
Highway 400 , road and pipelines
-slices through moraine preventing animal movement
projected population growth of another 4.5 million people in the Greater Toronto Area
in the next 20 years
1/2 of Don R watershed is
devoted to housing

1/5 devoted to industrial,
commercial and institutional development
Oak Ridges Moraine...
Rich source of sand and gravel
significant source for mineral aggregate industry of GTA

THREAT:
LAND DEVELOPMENT ON AND BELOW ITS SURFACE
(particularly in HEAD WATERS
OAK RIDGES MORAINE
S
A
N
D
G
R
A
V
E
L
R
O
C
K
WHAT IS LEFT OF IT?
DOES ANYBODY CARE???
?
1960s DVP constructed
- reduced natrual areas in watershed through the DON R
1960: DON RIVER POLLUTED AND NEGLECTED
1890 plan to "improve" DON R
Red shoulder Hawk Disappearing from GTA
WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF WE

ON TOP OF THE MORAINE?
BUILD INFRASTRUCTURE
"RAINBARREL for the GTA"
The moraine's sands and gravel deposits act like a giant sponge absorbing rain and snow melt.
...SO THERE IS HOPE
future
PROJECTS
Lawrence Avenue Weir Mitigation
north of Lawrence Avenue was a major barrier to fish

In 1999, the weir was modified by reshaping the grade of the river
After more weirs are modified,Salmon will be able to access the northern reaches of the East Don River in the Oak Ridges Moraine
Don Valley Brickworks
internationally significant natural and cultural heritage site
and most diverse regeneration effort ever undertaken in the Don River watershed
largest
Mud Creek - re routed, cleaning the water that enters Don River and providing a habitat for birds, fish, and mammals.
Naturalization of Don River
transform the existing mouth of the Don River including the Keating Channel, into a healthier, more naturalized river outlet to the lake
Toronto and Region Conservation (TRCA)
"They finally had a funeral for the Don River yesterday. Judging from the smell of the ‘deceased,’ it was long overdue."
~The Toronto Telegram
-Pollution Probe held a Mock funeral: Funeral for the Don" in 1969
12,500
Lake Ontario’s glacial
precursor,
the larger Lake Iroquois
11000 BC
tundra-like plain,
nomadic hunters stalk
caribou and mastodon
.
9000 BC
branches of the Don
link form one rive
r
First Nations villagers grow
hundreds of hectares of corn
in the upper watershed
Fish for salmon (Don Like a Market place)
1400 AD
e
stablishment of new Town of York west of the Don,
by John Graves Simcoe, Upper Canada’s first Lieutenant-Governor,
(1793)

Simcoe impressed by the valley’s “excellent Timber” and a “Situation admirably adapted for a Naval Arsenal and Dock Yard.”
1700s
1834: Land clearing and erosion along the banks of the Don clog the harbour with silt
.
1831:
Toronto Mayor William McMurrich travels to Cleveland for the funeral of assassinated U.S. President James A. Garfield.

Sees how Cleveland’s Cuyahoga River had been straightened to serve the city’s industrial heart, he pushes to have the Don similarly “improved.”

The subsequent Don Improvement straightens much of the lower river, but cost overruns and dredging problems leave parts of the waterway too shallow for large freighters.
1800s
c
Despite the improvement, the Toronto Daily Mail brands the river a “pestilential channel,”
1900s
1959: Flemingdon Park, north of the Forks of the Don, is promoted as Canada’s first "apartment city"

1951: Construction begins on Toronto’s Don Mills, a community whose meandering streets and single-family homes become the template for Canada’s post-war subdivisions.


1931: Oil-slicked ice on the
Don ignites, destroying a footbridge
.
1969 :
Funeral of Don
1989:
Inspired by an article in Toronto magazine, 500 people attend a forum on saving the Don. The city sponsors the citizen-driven Task Force to Bring Back the Don. Volunteers and public agencies launch extensive efforts to regreen the watershed, restore wetlands and improve fish and wildlife habitat.
BIOGEOCHEMICAL TIMELINE of DON
Wet Weather Flow Master Plan
$1 billion over 25 years
raindrops off the express lane, diverting them into the ground and the undergrowth, where they’ll be cooled and cleaned before slowly recharging the city’s rivers

disconnecting eavestroughs from storm sewers on 350,000 homes, and instead directing their downspouts into rain barrels, lawns and gardens.
Use permeable landscape for pathway
400,000 cubic metres of fill is being used to construct the low-lying landform
equivilent to 40 000 dump trucks
245 acres
clean soil taken from construction sites within the Greater Toronto Area
I evoke the Earth which gives shelter to all the searchers of truth, to those who are tolerant and have understanding, to all things strength-giving, nutritious; the source of creative spirit, we depend on you, O Earth!

O Earth, in the villages, forest, assemblies, committees and other places on Earth, may what we express always be in accord with you.

~ Prithivi Sukta, Atharva Veda
http://www.mwilson.on.ca/Don/DonFAQ.html
http://trca.on.ca/protect/environmental-assessment-projects/
http://trca.on.ca/protect/watersheds/don-river/projects--plans.dot
40 Steps to a new DON
Don watershed Task Force
Full transcript