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.

RVCA Water Conditions Statement - Flood Outlook Update

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

The most recent statement was issued on November 3rd: "More Rain Forecast for Sunday".

Rain forecast for Sunday could raise water levels again.  

In the order of 25 to 30 millimetres of rain fell on the Rideau watershed yesterday and this morning, less than was forecast. The rain was not enough to raise water levels significantly.

Rain now forecast for Sunday has the potential to be enough to raise the already elevated flows. Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry meteorologists have forecast 10 to 25 mm of rain on Sunday which could increase to a total of 40 to 75 mm if thunderstorms occur on Sunday night. The result could be localized with increased flows confined to small areas. Or the rain could fall more generally throughout the watershed which again raises the possibility of flooding low-lying areas that have already been affected in the Long Reach.  

The Tay in Perth remains a problem with flows limited to the Little Tay. This has caused high flows through Stewart Park. Monitoring of the construction site at the Haggart Island Dams will continue.

Flows in Kemptville Creek have continued to rise despite adjustments to the Oxford Mills Dam. Present flows are below typical spring flows but are ten times the normal for this time of year.

Residents are advised to stay away from rivers as the forecasted weather may rapidly increase river flows, and cause slippery river banks.  Parents are encouraged to explain these dangers to their children.

For water level and flow information in the Rideau system as well as the Ottawa River, visit the RVCA Streamflows and Water Levels webpage at:



Check the RVCA website for other updates and information.

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 …. !’

Watershed Discovery Day - August 19th in Perth

To Members and Friends, of Friends of the Tay Watershed

Join the Friends of the Tay Watershed with your water questions - whether on floods, drought, wetlands or programs for the care of watershed resources - at the 17th Annual Watershed Discovery Day, Saturday, August 19, at Perth's Farmers' Market, Crystal Palace, from 8:00 to 1:00.  Something of interest for the whole family; with interactive displays on the state of our watershed, with experts from Rideau Valley Conservation Authority, Town of Perth,  Watersheds Canada, Rideau Environmental Action League and Lanark Stewardship Council.  For the children, Story Hour at 11:00, book table and draw, see the water critters, and interact with the Fish Pond and Wetland display.  (More at http://taywatershed.ca/new.php)

Renew your membership, there or online, for 2017/18, and be eligible for the draw of two gift certificates to Maximilian's restaurant.  

Asking for lake users input!

Important research is underway on Big Rideau Lake by Dr. Steven Cooke's team at Carleton University. Those of you who attended the BRLA AGM last month will remember the fascinating presentation Dr. Cooke made to us about this work - looking at the black bass (largemouth and smallmouth) populations, and their health and movement throughout the lake as affected by the seasonal changes and fishing tournament activities.

Dr. Cooke's lab is now conducting a social science survey to characterize and understand stakeholder perceptions of the black bass population and black bass management in Big Rideau Lake. They are seeking input from lake users, and we encourage all BRLA members to participate.

Please take the time to fill out this short survey (takes 10 min) and feel free to share with your fellow lake users!