RVCA Water Conditions Statement

The Rideau Valley Conservation Authority issues frequent statements about watershed conditions.

The most recent statement was issued on February 16th: "Warmer Temperatures and Rain Could Cause Unsafe Conditions on Rivers and Lakes Throughout Rideau Watershed".

Significant rainfall forecast for Monday and Tuesday along with melting snow can be expected to cause river flows and lake levels to rise.

Going on iced over waterbodies is not advisable for the next several days until levels decline and colder temperatures can restore the integrity of the ice. As the snowmelt and rain runoff moves through the Rideau system, the ice cover can be expected to shift and, in some places, break up. This could lead to ice jamming at culverts and bridges which could cause localized flooding. Ponding water on the surface will make walking on the ice treacherous.

Parents should ensure that children understand the hazards of playing around watercourses in the winter and all watershed residents are advised to stay off of the ice on rivers and streams and avoid icy and snow covered streambanks where footing can be unpredictable.

Conservation Authority staff will continue to monitor conditions and issue further statements as conditions warrant.v

Check the RVCA website for other updates and information.

Opportunity for Grad Students

BRLA has partnered with several research and environmental organizations to conduct significant research focussed on the Rideau Canal and Trent-Severn Waterways, including Big Rideau Lake. This offers an opportunity for a number of graduate students to become part of some very important and interesting research work. 

The projects are very diverse in nature (e.g., turtles, fish, macrophytes, water quality, hydrological mapping, sedimentology, social sciences, and more!), and there is flexibility for students to help define the scope of each project. These projects will be part of up to eight graduate student theses work, and the work will be based out of Carleton U, Ottawa U, or the Université de Sherbrooke depending on the project. 

These positions offer very exciting and interesting work with a great group of collaborators; as one of these projects' sponsors, we would appreciate our members help in spreading the word!

For full details on the projects, click the link below.

Cow Island plans for summer 2018!

Planning is full steam ahead for our summer recreation programs! More information will be posted as soon as its available, so check back regularly.

Cow Island Day Camp

Camp will run for 5 weeks again in 2018 - Monday to Friday, 9 am to noon. Beginning Monday July 2nd, ending Friday August 3rd.


Sailing Camp

Sailing Camp will run for one week, August 13th to August 17th. Registration opens March 1st.

Updated In-Water Work Timing Guidelines Announced

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry Kemptville District Office has recently reviewed and updated its In-water Work Timing Guidelines. These guidelines are intended to provide the timing for in-water work related to an activity, in order to protect fish during spawning and other critical life stages. 

The timing restrictions on Big Rideau Lake (in the areas covered South Burgess and South Elmsley Townships) cover the period from October 1st to June 30th.

Click here to read the detailed announcement.

Temporary Closure December 18-21 at Narrows Swing Bridge

County Road 14 at Narrows Swing Bridge will be closed for repairs due to an issue found on one of the swing bridge abutments. Parks Canada staff and engineers from Public Services and Procurement Canada reviewed the issue and noted that, while there is no immediate public safety concern, repairs should start as soon as possible. 

Detour Route
The closest alternate vehicle route around the Narrows Swing Bridge is along North Shore Road. Travel North Shore Road to Highway 10, then south on Highway 10 to Highway 42. Highway 42 will take you south-east into Crosby.

Click here for more information.

Explaining Black Bass Management on our Lake

With the support of our association, an ongoing project is working to collect information to help improve the management of black bass on Big Rideau Lake. For some great insights into this project - how it works and what it could mean for lake stakeholders, take a look below at the video the team has recently released.

Big Rideau Lake is among the most heavily “fished” water bodies in all of eastern Ontario with bass fishing tournaments occurring from season opener to late fall. Dr. Steve Cooke’s lab at Carleton University, led by MSc. student Alice Abrams, utilizes fish tracking devices to monitor post-tournament dispersal and seasonal distribution of largemouth and smallmouth bass. 

Have you taken the survey yet? One component of the research is soliciting feedback from lake users. Click the link to give your input about bass populations and management on Big Rideau Lake.

Voting opens October 10th for Aviva Community Fund

The BRLA Environment Committee has submitted a proposal to the Aviva Community Fund for a research study grant - and we need your help!

If awarded the Community Resilience Aviva Community Fund grant, the BRLA will begin a research project in partnership with Carleton University, where we will be looking at the causes of some of the issues many of us have observed recently on our beloved lake:

  • Key Big Rideau Lake food chain species [golden shiner] have almost vanished over the past 3 years.
  • A significant decline of a once robust nesting and transient loon population.
  • There is a [scientifically] revolutionary and substantial change in water focused raptor local ecology.
  • A robust Double Crested cormorant colony on Big Rideau Lake had 100% mortality of chicks in 2017.
  • There is recent vast and unusual over production of lake algae with little identification of impacts, causative factors and possible solutions.

Click here to read our full proposal.

Now comes the real challenge – we MUST show our community’s support of this project. Your support is a vital component of our campaign. We’re counting on you!

Voting opens Tuesday October 10th, and ends Thursday October 19th. Each registered person has 18 votes and we ask for your support by casting all 18 in favour of the BRLA project, reference # 17-364.


1. Register NOW to vote on the Aviva Community Fund page  -https://www.avivacommunityfund.org/voting/project/view/17-364

2. When voting opens on Tuesday October 10th, cast your 18 votes for the BRLA proposal. Voting closes October 19th; please don't miss this short window of time.

Remember, all 18 votes can be cast at once, there is no need to spread your voting over several days. And all 18 votes can (and should!) be cast for one project - ours!

3. Spread the word!  Ask your family, friends, neighbours, co-workers, anyone you can think of, to register now; remind them on Tuesday when voting opens, then follow up before voting closes on October 19th to make sure they voted.

Closing up the cottage tips

For many cottage owners, Thanksgiving typically signals the official end of the cottage season. In an effort to make the task of closing up as easy as possible, Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority is offering up some advice on how to help avoid unnecessary expense, frustration and environmental problems. As a tip, keep a list of things you do to close up the cottage so that reversing the list in the spring will be as snag-free as possible.

Click here to read more.

6th annual Heritage Symposium in Smiths Falls celebrates ‘Living on the Rideau Canal’

The sixth annual Heritage Symposium will centre on “Living on the Rideau Canal”.

The event, put on by Heritage Smiths Falls, will be held at the station theatre from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 6 at the Station Theatre, located at 63 Victoria Ave. in Smiths Falls.

Presenters include:

Manuel Stevens, retired Parks Canada planner for the Rideau Canal;

Fiona McKean, owner of the Opinicon Resort at Chaffey’s Locks;

Ken Watson, author of several books on the Rideau Canal;

Anne-Marie Forcier, former executive director of the Rideau Heritage Route Tourism Association currently operating Rideau Tours at Chaffey’s Locks;

Joe Adams, journeyman’s carpenter, Rideau Canal Gate Shop, Parks Canada.

Admission is $20, or $10 for students.

RSVP at least three or four days before the event scheduled on Oct. 6.

To RSVP, email gsmith@smithsfalls.ca.


Canada 150 'Paddle Down the Tay' this weekend

The Friends of the Tay Watershed Association are holding a Canada 150 event - 'Paddle Down the Tay' - on Saturday September 16th.


The guided visit starts at 10:00am, at Perth's Last Duel Park, and will tour 10 kms. of the Tay to Beveridge Locks.  Along the way, paddlers will:

  • be introduced to local flora and fauna by Shaun Thompson, retired biologist with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources; over 40 species of birds have been documented here over the years (https://www.taywatershed.ca/documents/BirdSightings_TayCanal.pdf
  • visit historic sites, including the Last Fatal Duel in Canada, and Lock Five of the 1834 Tay Canal
  • take a brief stop at RVCA's Perth Wildlife Reserve dock and Tay Marsh viewpoint
  • be introduced to one of the most diverse streams in the region
  • optionally, join the International Coastal Cleanup Day; cleaning up our waterways and oceans ( https://oceanconservancy.org/trash-free-seas/international-coastal-cleanup/ ). Note, individual participation in the cleanup on this tour is optional (materials supplied).  
  • enjoy refreshments and a get-together at Beveridge Bay, after locking through Upper and Lower Beveridge Locks.

Transportation will be available, back to Perth to pick up vehicles (please advise if need ed). There is no cost for this trip (and no charge for the locks, thanks to Parks Canada’s Canada 150 Program). 

Please confirm by e-mail or telephone – at:    
Telephone:  (613) 264 0094 or 267 2079
The Friends of the Tay Watershed Association

‘We all live downstream …. !’