Tuesday, May 31, 2011

three levels of stream restoration & riparian buffers

Stream restoration images (before and after) from Natural Resources Conservation Services Website (U.S. Dept. of Agriculture)

Three Levels of Stream Protection:

1. To restore a stream means to re-create meanders, stabilize soil and install gently sloping stream banks. Stream restoration is not always possible due to constraints such as utility crossings, structures or roadways.

2. To enhance a stream is to attempt meanders and gentle slopes where possible and to stabilize the soil.

3. To stabilize a stream is simply to secure the stream banks from further erosion because constraints limit other degrees of stream protection.

From: Charlotte-Mecklenburg website

Riparian Buffers:

A riparian buffer is the forested area next to a body of water that serves as a protective strip against pollutants and erosion. The establishment of a riparian buffer is actually one of the most effective and important steps to restoring a stream and should be incorporated in stream restoration projects whenever possible. Many considerations should be taken into account when implementing a riparian buffer, but with some small amount of guidance, the average homeowner can improve the short-term and long-term health of a stream greatly and with less of a monetary investment than other stream restoration techniques.

When designing a riparian buffer, consideration should be made to use native, site-appropriate species (fitting light, soil and moisture requirements). Also, the riparian buffer should be designed to include all levels of the forest canopy (this includes large trees, shrubs, herbaceous material and native grasses). Riparian buffers serve many functions for a stream such as reducing nutrient inputs, reducing stream bank erosion and the subsequent sedimentation, reducing thermal pollution, providing habitat to aquatic and terrestrial species, and providing a food source for aquatic macro-invertebrates. While serving all of these functions, riparian buffers can also be aesthetically pleasing, incorporating wildflowers and budding trees.

Riparian buffers can provide many long-term ecological functions for a stream ecosystem while requiring minimal effort to implement.

From Wildlands Conservancy website.

P.S. Check out my latest "urban wild" nature blog: Wild. Here. (2016 update)

Monday, May 16, 2011

roosting crows and supportive urbanites

Amber of Unstuffed Blog posted earlier this spring about the editorial regarding the crows of Alta Vista (Ottawa). What was heartening was reading some of the comments supporting the crows...

Rivereview park alumnus
9:13 AM on April 6, 2011

It is disappointing to see the "kill them" attitiude whenvever there is a conflict between wildlife and humans. I lived in Riverview Park for 15 years up until a year ago. Yes there are lots of crows compared to other areas. So lets find ways of working with the influx of crows. We have adapted to ever increasing numbers of people. A little balance is what is called for. It may be we have to adapt to the increased numbers. Crows aren't "creepy". That is an attitude that needs adjustment. If you take the time to get to know crows, they are fascinating - smart, loyal to their families and resilient. They are ominvores just like people. I think more education on efforts to co-exist would go a long way to helping the problem.

Well, I live right next door to those ol'crows at Baleena Park. In fact, I go to work around the time they are just getting up and starting to move about...I have yet to step in any poop, despite occassionally seeing some on my truck,which could have been left by the one of the large number of sea gulls in the area.

At night when the crows "come Home" from their day of scavaging and eating garbage it's cool to see them come into the neighbourhood in small squadrons all lining up on the roof tops waiting for their turn to park for the night in one of the tall trees.

In the morning, even though they can be a bit loud, it's cool to see them circling around and heading off to their business......Leave the crows be you anti-nature creeps and learn to enjoy what little nature is left in your city-ass lives!

Sheesh some poeple are just jerks.....

President of the Alta Vista Crow Lovers Club

1:15 PM on April 5, 2011

What's with the idea of tying an owl to bait crows ?
Or people suggesting we open shooting contests ?
Or culling geese ?
Or poisoning crows ?
Seriously, folks suggesting that have personal issues.
Is that how you treat people also ?

Can't anyone here just enjoy nature anymore ? Respect people and animals around them ? Not be violent ?
Ottawa used to be nice with the greenbelt, the surrounding woodlands and fields, the geese and birds and swans. It was a great and safe place to bring up kids with people who enriched lives rather than trying to take them away.
What happened ?

10:33 AM on April 5, 2011

It is very true that it is a necessity to clear crows away from areas where they can cause damage, and endanger people's lives, but is the best idea that the City Councillor can come up with for protecting the hospital helipad really one that involves torturing an innocent owl?

And how much of a necessity is it really to clear them completely out of the neighborhoods? Because they get into garbage bags? We have to protect our garbage from racoons anyway. Is the bird poop really a big issue? I see the great flocks of these birds everyday when they are roosting in the trees, flying overhead, and walking in the grass, but I have yet to notice any bird poop.

The presence of these birds does bring joy and pleasure to some people, who like to see a bit of wildlife where we live, to remind us that we are not just machines living on a paved earth. Do we really need to destroy a great part of nature just because it provides a slight inconvenience to some?

8:02 AM on April 5, 2011

I live near a crow's roost, and I can't believe what I am reading. I have never once considered them a nuisance.

I get that we need to keep them away from the helicopter pad, although the method seems very cruel to the owl. But other than that, people are just being silly.

The crows are fascinating to watch,and they do a fabulous job of cleaning up the neighbourhood of small dead animals, of which there is usually an abundance. We are also overrun with squirrels, bunnies,and field mice. Which, by the way, is what likely attracts the crows to these areas.Not to mention they clean up some of the garbage the filthy humans leave lying about.

I am overjoyed to feel like I can live amongst nature so close to the city centre. I don't get that the crows, or any other animal, are a nuisance (except when safety is a factor).

Neighbours who make a pastime out of complaining, now them, I would like to get rid of.

7:24 AM on April 5, 2011

Owls will attract agressive attention from a large murder of crows. i wouldn't want to be the owl that gets this job.

Nobody complained when people built houses on the crows homes. The crows are just returning the favor!

"Dear Residents of Alta Vista, We're not sure about how you redecorated our forrest, but thanks for all the garbage.

The Crows"


P. S. Read this post about Crow Planet written by Lyanda Lynn Haupt

Other Urban Bird Posts:

Barred Owl Visit to Parklette in Toronto (2014)

Urban Bobolink in Ottawa (2012)

The Pigeon Paradox (2012)

Urban Chimney Swift Towers (2011)

Purple Martin Nesting (2011)

Sunday, May 8, 2011

make your voice heard for biodiversity


Ontario Nature’s goal is to generate 10,000 signatures by the 22nd of May 2011 (which the U.N. proclaimed as the International Day for Biological Diversity) to request that federal, provincial and municipal governments to take action and stop the loss of Ontario's biological diversity by 2020. Right now they have over 5000 and a little over 10 days left. Why is it important for us to protect the biodiversity that we have in Ontario (and in the rest of the world)?

"Biodiversity boosts ecosystem productivity where each species, no matter how small, all have an important role to play. For example,
- A larger number of plant species means a greater variety of crops
- Greater species diversity ensures natural sustainability for all life forms
- Healthy ecosystems can better withstand and recover from a variety of disasters."
(Quote found here.) The continual increase in human population has meant a larger encroachment on wilderness every year - whether it's for dwellings, food or resource extraction. We may be on our way to the next mass extinction. It's up to us to protect what is left and enrich what we can.

Please sign the charter at Ontario Nature's website.

Angonoa Image is from the University of Manitoba

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Urban Bird Counts (Ottawa)

Just found out about the Ottawa Bird Breeding Count! It is headed up by the Geomatics and Landscape Ecology Research Laboratory at Carleton University: "A Volunteer Based, Scientifically Rigorous Survey of Birds in an Expanding City".

You can find out more about the Count and the GLEL at the website. They have a course for volunteers to learn bird songs. Listen to CBC radio interviews about the OBBC and about the Bird Song - Point Count Course.