Conservation Handbook 2

Table of contents

1. Introduction 5 1.1 Riversbend 5 1.2 The Jock River 5 1.3 The Riparian Forest 6 2. Wildlife of the Jock River 9 2.1 Species at risk 11 3. Protect the river 13 4. Protect the forest 15 5. Protect the wildlife 18 6. Important information 20 6.1 Additional information 21 4 5

1. Introduction

1.1 Riversbend 1.2 The Jock River Riversbend is a quiet residential enclave The Jock River is located south of Riversbend, located north of the Jock River. Residents of this and is a diverse aquatic ecosystem that provides community will be able to explore and experience habitat for a wide variety of animal and plant all that the Jock River has to offer, while also species. The Jock River headwaters are located having the opportunity to contribute to its in the Montague area of . The river protection. This Homeowner’s Handbook provides flows through various communities in Lanark residents with information about the natural County including Beckwith and Franktown. Near features that exist near their community, while Ashton, the river turns east and flows towards also describing ways that they can act as good the City of , passing through Richmond, stewards of the environment. , and . The Jock River is a 6 7

major tributary of the larger , and make their home at the water’s edge. Lastly, the the two rivers meet about two kilometers east riparian forest helps to protect the river from of Riversbend. noise, pollution, and other forms of disturbance. It is important to maintain this forest cover in order to preserve the health of the river 1.3 The Riparian Forest ecosystem. Trees growing in the forest near A ribbon of riparian forest is present along the Riversbend include White Cedar, White Ash, banks of the Jock River. This forest has been Green Ash, Sugar Maple, American Elm, and preserved in order to help protect the ecology Manitoba Maple. of the river. Trees growing along the river edge help to protect the aquatic environment from sedimentation and erosion, while also helping to filter and absorb stormwater flow. The forest also provides habitat for a variety of wildlife, including many bird, mammal, and amphibian species that 8 9

2. Wildlife of the Jock River

The Jock River is a diverse aquatic ecosystem Fish: that provides habitat for a wide variety of animal • Muskellunge and plant species. This includes thirty-six (36) fish species, as well as multiple species of migratory • Northern Pike birds, reptiles, amphibians, and mammals. Here • Large Mouth Bass are some of the wildlife species found living within and around the Jock River close to Riversbend. • Small Mouth Bass

• Bluegill

• Pumpkinseed

• Rock Bass

• Brook Stickleback

• Brown Bullhead 10 11

Mammals: Birds: 2.1 Species at risk Butternut trees Butternut Trees are found in forested areas along • River Otter • Great Blue Heron Snapping turtles the Jock River. Butternut Trees are an Endangered The Jock River provides habitat for Snapping • Beaver • Belted Kingfisher Species in and are disappearing primarily Turtles, which are listed in Ontario as a Species due to an invasive fungal disease known as the • Muskrat • Turkey Vulture of Special Concern. Snapping Turtles are found Butternut Canker. Riversbend has contributed to living within the river, and they may be seen Reptiles and amphibians: • Spotted Sandpiper the recovery of this species by providing funding sunning themselves on exposed rocks, logs, to support the Ontario Butternut Recovery • Snapping Turtle • Red Winged Blackbird or other perches in the spring and summer. Program. Working in conjunction with the Forest In May and June, turtles will sometimes leave • Midland Painted Turtle • Tree Swallow Gene Conservation Association and the Rideau the river and nest nearby in areas of loose soil, Valley Conservation Foundation, Riversbend has • Northern Watersnake • Mallard sand, or gravel. provided contributions that support the archiving • American Bullfrog • Common Loon Residents can help protect Snapping Turtles by of healthy Butternut specimens and the collection watching for them on roadways, especially in of Butternut seeds. • Northern Leopard Frog • American Goldfinch May and June. • Green Frog 12 13

3. Protect the river

• Homeowners can help preserve the river’s • It is best to wash your car at a car wash water quality by being careful not to allow any facility, in order to prevent pollutants and potentially harmful substances to wash away detergents from entering the sewers. Similarly, into the sewer drains. Residents should be automotive maintenance should be conducted aware that although the community design at a garage, in order to avoid spills of oils and includes measures to protect water quality from other automotive liquids. stormwater runoff, ultimately the sewers and • To help recharge groundwater supplies and streets drain to the river. improve water quality, residents can build and • Chemicals such as detergents, solvents, oil, maintain rain gardens. Rain gardens that are and fertilizers should not be allowed to flow planted with native wildflowers, sedges and into the river or sewer drains. In addition, pet grasses typically require less watering than wastes, garbage, loose soil, and other debris lawns or gardens with exotic species. Installing should not be allowed to blow away into rain gardens also helps to attract wildlife, and the river or to enter the sewers. provides food for native birds, mammals, and 14 15

insects. Links to resources that provide detailed • Respect the shoreline as a natural feature. The information on how to plant a rain garden are forest along the shoreline has been preserved 4. Protect the forest included on Page 21. to help protect the river. You can help maintain The trees and other plants found within the Stay on pathways – wandering through the this function by avoiding walking along the • • • Consider installing a rain barrel at the riparian forest are intended to be preserved. forest outside of designated pathways will shoreline with pets and by not establishing trails downspout from your roof. Rain barrels collect Residents should not cut trees, collect fire wood, damage the ground cover vegetation. along the shoreline. The shoreline should be rainwater, which can later be used to water remove plants, gather flowers, or otherwise alter left to grow vegetation, which helps to prevent • Landscape with native plants, or at minimum, your garden. Rain barrels also help to protect the natural forest. Residents should also not erosion and stabilize the banks. species that are known not to be invasive. Non- the river by reducing stormwater flows, which ‘clean’ the forest, and should leave woody debris, native trees, shrubs, and other plants should be can cause erosion and carry pollutants to • Keep your drains, culverts, and gutters clear of rocks, and even dead trees where they are. avoided to reduce the potential for non-native the river. debris so that they will drain properly and not Avoid depositing yard waste or other garbage species to colonize the riparian forest and convey excess material to the river. • within the forest. All yard wastes should be other natural areas found along the Jock River. bagged and put out for collection by the City. Native plants also typically require less watering Yard wastes collected by the City are composted. and are more useful to native wildlife. Links to resources that provide detailed information on how to garden with native plants are included on Page 21. 16 17

Examples of native trees and shrubs which could be planted in Riversbend include:

Native shrubs: Native trees: Plants to avoid:

• Nannyberry • Sugar Maple • Lily of the valley (Convallaria majalis) • Red Osier Dogwood • Red Maple • Periwinkle (Vinca minor) • Meadow Sweet • White Cedar • English ivy (Hedera helix) • Red Elderberry • Black Cherry • Day lily (Hemerocallis fulva) • Bur Oak • Amur maple (Acer ginnala) • White Pine • Black locust (Robinia • White Spruce pseudoacacia) • Basswood • European linden (Tilia cordata)

• Honeysuckle

18 19

5. Protect the wildlife

• In order to protect native wildlife, domestic pets • Use organic methods of pest control. Avoid should be kept on leashes whenever walking the use of chemical herbicides and pesticides, near natural areas. which may negatively impact native animals including bees. • Cats should not be allowed to wander through natural areas, as they are a leading cause of • Do not feed wild animals, including ducks and death for wild birds and small mammals. geese. Food provided to ducks and geese by humans is often not good for their health, and • Pick up after your pets, as their waste can feeding these wild animals should be avoided. carry bacteria and viruses that may impact native animals. Also, their waste may pollute the • Never collect or capture wild animals, even river if not properly disposed of. if you only intend to keep them temporarily. Handling wild animals such as frogs, turtles, • Drive carefully and watch for wildlife. In particular, snakes, etc. can injure or even kill those animals. be aware that turtles may be found on roadways near the river, especially in May and June. 20 21

6. Important information 6.1 Additional information Ottawa Field Naturalist Club Fletcher Wildlife Garden Ottawa’s leading naturalist group, providing local Living in Riversbend will provide homeowners Rideau Valley Wildlife Sanctuary information on wildlife and birds, opportunities to Provides local and practical information on how many opportunities to appreciate the beauty 613-258-9480 report sightings, and local stewardship activities. to garden with native plant species in Ottawa, of the Jock River. With your help, the natural www.rideauwildlife.org/orphaned-or-injured- and how to attract wildlife to your garden. http://ofnc.ca/ environment surrounding your new home can wildlife/ be preserved and enjoyed long into the future. https://ofnc.ca/programs/fletcher-wildlife- Ontario Reptile and Amphibian Atlas If you want to learn more about nature in Ontario garden/make-your-own-wildlife-garden Wild Bird Care Centre Provides a field guide, range maps, opportunities and how you can help conserve the environment, 613-828-2849 Atlas of the Breeding Birds of Ontario to report sightings, and stewardship activities for additional information can be found online at the Ottawa Humane Society Ontario’s Reptiles and Amphibians. following websites. Provides range maps, breeding information, Emergency Line: 613-725-1532 and opportunities to report sightings for https://ontarionature.org/programs/citizen- http://www.ottawahumane.ca/services/get-help- Ontario’s Birds. science/reptile-amphibian-atlas/ for-a-sick-or-injured-animal/ https://www.birdsontario.org/atlas/index.jsp 22 23

Species at Risk Ontario E-Bird

Ontario’s provincial website that provides The world’s leading resource for birdwatchers. information on species at risk within the province. Provides information on birdwatching, local bird sightings, and opportunities to report sightings. https://www.ontario.ca/page/species-risk-ontario https://ebird.org/home City of Ottawa - Avoiding Problems with Wildlife Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry

Basic information and tips on how to avoid Protecting Ontario’s biodiversity while promoting problems with wildlife around your home and economic opportunities in the resource sector neighbourhood. and supporting outdoor recreation opportunities. https://ottawa.ca/en/residents/water-and- https://www.ontario.ca/page/ministry-natural- environment/plants-and-animals/animals- resources-and-forestry -wildlife/avoiding-problems-wildlife