WRWEO Annual General Meeting

March 2, 2011

Tantallon Public Library from 7 pm – 8:30 pm

 

AGENDA

  1. General welcome and introductions – 5 minutes
  2. Approval of the February, 2010 Minutes (previously circulated) – 5 minutes
  3. Approval of Reports (previously circulated) – 30 minutes
    1. ChairsŐ report – Richmond Campbell & David Patriquin
    2. TreasurerŐs report – Robert McMahon (presented by Paul Berry)
    3. Trail report – Richmond Campbell
    4. Aquatic Habitat and Water Quality Report – David Patriquin
    5. Website report – David Patriquin
  4. Election of New Board – 10 minutes
  5. Keynote speakers: Garnet McLaughlin

ŇThe Future of The Bluff Wilderness Hiking Trail: How to Keep it Wild, Inspiring, and SafeÓ – 40 minutes

  1. AOB
  2. Adjournment

CO-CHAIRS REPORT

 

Today we celebrate the completion of sixteen years of volunteer service. The past year we have had the support of 61 members and have made significant progress in four main areas of work: The Bluff Wilderness Hiking Trail, Aquatic Habitat and Water Quality, Protection of the Five Bridge Lakes Wilderness Area (as a member of the Steering Committee of the Chebucto Wilderness Coalition) and Archival Website Development.

 

Since our work in three of these areas is described in some detail in the reports that will follow, in the interests of efficiency we wonŐt summarize them.

 

An area not covered in the reports is our role in the Chebucto Wilderness Coalition formed to promote protected status for the 20,425 acre candidate wilderness known as the Five Bridge Lakes Wilderness Area (FBLWA). When the Five Bridge Wilderness Heritage Trust was unable to persuade Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources to commit to a cooperative stewardship plan for this area, WRWEO took a leadership role in urging the formation of the Chebucto Wilderness Coalition (CWC) to seek formal protection of FBLWA. The coalition was formed in 2008 and quickly grew to over 35 community organizations. Through the efforts of CWC, Nova Scotia declared FBLWA an official candidate for protection in October 2009.

 

Public consultations were held by Nova Scotia Environment in the winter and spring of 2010 and they reported that of the 121 written submissions only 6 (less than 5%) were opposed and 85 (over 70%) were strongly for protection. That report cites the popularity of The Bluff Wilderness Hiking Trail as a factor in this result. One of the last steps is a socio-economic analysis, currently being prepared for the Nova Scotia Environment. We believe that in the near future Nova Scotia will designate this area as protected.  

 

From time to time we have written letters to our representatives detailing environmental concerns (rates of clear cutting, burning biomass for energy, preserving moose corridors, abiding by the 25 year plan not to develop adjacent to the Blue Mountain – Birch Cove Lakes protected area. These letters written on behalf of the Board were circulated to the membership for feedback and are available on our website.

 

We would like in conclusion to thank the current Board members of their hard work this year and the WRWEO members, all of whom have supported us by being members and in some cases generously devoted their time and energy to further various projects.

 

Respectfully submitted by: Richmond Campbell and David Patriquin, Co-Chairs, WRWEO

 

TreasurerŐs Report

 

The 2010 year was another very active period for WRWEO, with a number of trail improvements and upgrades being completed in addition to significant expenditures on repairs and maintenance of the trail system.

 

Despite the high level of activity, we have been able to keep administrative costs very low, with 95% of all proceeds collected by WRWEO being re-invested directly into the trail, related signage, and the associated trial parking lot.

 

Of this direct investment, subcontracted work was the largest expenditure for WRWEO in 2010, representing 84% of the total costs for the year. The most significant investment over this period was in subcontracted effort for stone tread work to treat select drainage areas.  This work alone represented 64% of the total yearŐs expenditures.

 

Insurance costs represent the next most significant expense for WRWEO at 2% of total expenditures.  Our membership and participation in the Nova Scotia Trails Federation allows WRWEO to gain preferential insurance rates, thereby ensuring that this necessary cost is kept to a minimal level.

 

Sources of funding for 2010 was received, and very much appreciated, from the Halifax Regional Trails Association (96% of 2010 funding), and the Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness (2% of funding) with the balance received from membership fees and donations (2% of funding).

 

WRWEO closed the 2010 year with funding received exceeding expenditures incurred by $6,369, bringing the general fund balance, which will support future trail operations and maintenance, to $8,183.  The closing cash balance for 2010 was $18,238, of which $10,055 will be applied to pay amounts owed to suppliers.

 

Thank you to the Halifax Regional Municipality and the Province of Nova Scotia for their financial support, and a special thank you to all WRWEO members.  While our membership fees do not represent the most significant source of funding for WRWEO, it speaks volumes with regard to the communityŐs support for our work as a worth while effort for the benefit of current and future generations.

 

Respectfully submitted, Robert McMahon, CA, Treasurer, WRWEO

 

Report on The Bluff Wilderness Hiking Trail

 

WRWEO completed building The Bluff Wilderness Hiking Trail in 2005, comprising 32 kilometres of trail in the shape of four stacked loops beginning at the headwaters of the Woodens River watershed. The trail is challenging, designed for experienced hikers, and very popular, being voted in 2008 by the national magazine Explore to be one of the eight best Ňurban escapesÓ in Canada. The purpose of the trail is to provide the Nova Scotians with a wilderness experience that will awaken in them a deep appreciation of the beauty of the land and water in and around our watershed so that all of us can work together conserve this treasure for future generations. For recent unsolicited praise, go to the link:

http://www.halifaxtrails.ca/index_files/BluffTrail.htm

 

Highlights of trail work, events, and plans are:

 

  • David Patriquin and Richmond Campbell led a nature walk in August on the Pot Lake loop of the trail. The walk was co-sponsored by the Halifax Field Naturalists and the Nova Scotia Wild Flora Society. It was listed as a Nova Scotia Park Event for 2010. More information may be found on our website: www.blufftrail.ca In June Hildi Konok and Barbara Klass met hikers at the trail head to get feedback on the trail; it was strikingly positive, especially about how well it is maintained.
  • WRWEO had a successful meeting with Halifax Regional Search and Rescue (HRSAR) on November 1 to discuss the best strategies for ground rescue given the remoteness of the far loops and the need to use water routes to access them. See the January 2011 issue of WRWEO Watch for more details.
  • Because helicopter rescues were required in two incidents (June 20 & October 5) WRWEO has provided HRSAR with GPS coordinates for possible landing sites. We have also produced a new map on waterproof paper with additional safety advice. These are available at The Trail Shop and Mountain Equipment Coop for a charge of $5 to allay trail maintenance costs. In five years we have distributed 2000 maps. The new ones have updated safety information and are easily reused.
  • Our main source of funding is the Halifax Regional Trails Association where we are members, attend monthly meetings, and seek advice. We are very grateful for this crucial support. We have also received funding from NS Health and Wellness and NS Environment has promised funding. Other funds come from membership fees and donations. We are members of the Nova Scotia Trails Federation; they allow us to buy trail insurance (for directors, liability, and volunteers) at less cost.
  • Capital work this year was primarily stone tread work to treat drainage areas. This process is low cost, durable, environmentally friendly, and aesthetically pleasing. We have treated to date 42 sites on the trail (22 in October). We have about 10 more to treat. We installed a dedication sign (photo on website) giving the words used on June 4, 2005 to commemorate the trail openning. Contracts of $1000 or more are awarded by tender. Cobequid Trail Consulting was the main contractor.
  • The primary maintenance work was brush cutting the two most remote loops. This work was done by Cobequid Trail Consulting. The trail head signs and a few others needed updating. This work was done by Anicom Signs and New Century Signs. Boardwalk repair was done by Community Forests Canada. Much other work, e.g., more boardwalk repair and dead fall removal, was done by volunteers.
  • In the interest of attracting younger volunteers to be involved trail work, we are planning a series of workshops in the spring to be led by Garnet McLaughlin. He gave a talk on trail work to members on November 23 and is our keynote speaker.
  • Paul Berry presented on Feb. 28 at the Western Regional Community Council on behalf of HRTA urging HRM Council to continue to fund capital trail projects.
  • A provincial trails conference in Cornwallis on October 1-3 was attended by four members of WRWEO. Paul Berry attended and became a qualified trail warden. Reports by Paul Berry and Nanci Lee are available on request.
  • Vandalism has been an issue at the trailhead when signs have been defaced. We reported the incidents to the RCMP and NSDNR and an article appeared on it in The Masthead News. Since then no vandalism has occurred.
  • WRWEO is seeking through HRM staff better signage for locating the trail parking lot at 2890 St. MargaretŐs Bay Road, such as signs along the roadway.
  • The primary purpose of the trail is wilderness protection. See co-chairs report.

 

 

Many volunteer hours are expended on trail work, including all the communication

for arranging for bidding on contracts, inspecting work on remote parts of the trail, preparing grant applications, answering correspondence with government, planning new projects, dealing with problems such as sign vandalism or ATV incursions, answering email inquiries, guiding hikes, and so on. The number of volunteer hours must be reported each year to HRTA: the total for the 2010-2011 budget-year is 1527 hours.

 

Finally, I would like to express special thanks for the continued support of Councillors Reg Rankin and Peter Lund, for the support of The Honourable Bill Estabrooks in addressing land issues regarding trail protection, for the work of The Bluff Trail Committee, especially Paul Berry, Jim Carwardine, Hildi Konok, Jim Muir, Barbara Klass, and Daniel Allaire, for website work, the HFN nature walk, scientific expertise, and general leadership of my co-chair David Patriquin, for the spontaneous trail clearing done by Dusan Soudek and his colleagues, and for the regular support of the BLT Trail Association, in particular the help of Catherine Klefenz in ways too numerous to mention. WRWEO is also grateful for the financial and moral support of HRTA, chaired by Holly Woodill, and their HRM support staff: Paul Euloth, Director of Regional Trails, Jessie Debaie, Dawn Neil, and Don Ambler.

 

Respectfully submitted, Richmond Campbell, Chair, The Bluff Trail Committee, WRWEO

 

Report from the Aquatic Habitat & Water Quality Committee for 2010

 

During the past year we began a comprehensive review  of information related to  the Woodens River syetem and to reassess  strategies for watershed management that have been formulated and partially implemented by WRWEO over the years. Step 1 has been to collate observations and reports on the Woodens River system as well as pertinent related studies,  and to make them available via our website: see http://wrweo.ca/AqHabWQ/index.html

 

It turns out that there is a lot of information about aquatic habitat, water quality and fish populations in the Woodens River system, as well as related information about lakes and streams in SW Nova Scotia that is highly pertinent to the Woodens River system.   We still seek informal observations and comments by residents and fishers on the status of the river system and its biota to round this information out and, possibly, to indicate  important factors influencing the health of the river system that have not been identified in the information compiled so far.

 

Step 2 was for the committee to make a preliminary assessment of the status of the brook trout  populations and habitat in the Woodens River as a starting point for broader consultation on how we might proceed to address water quality and aquatic habitat issues. The brook trout are a bell weather species, as well as being highly valued for recreational fishing. Our conclusions are reported in the latest WRWEO-Watch  newsletter (www.wrweo.ca/About/newsletters.html). We identified 10 challenges to the ecological integrity of the Woodens River system: medium to larger scale disturbances, steadily growing residential population, the sometime precarious conditions of the brooks and streams,  poor construction of culverts,  PCBs (now largely dealt with), increases in perch populations,  continuing acidification,  algal blooms, invasive species. Bob Chambers wrote an insightful article (ŇWhere have all the mayflies gone?Ó) in which he considers the possible causes for a precipitous decline in the spring mayfly populations, and the near simultaneous decline in trout in the Woodens River system, but not in adjacent river systems,  in 1989-90. He concludes that this decline cannot be explained by pH or oxygen changes, but that some sort of abrupt disturbance, possibly associated with blasting in the upper part of the watershed, may have been involved.

 

Of note also, are observations by Bob Chambers, reported on our website in 2010, on spring algal blooms that have occurred in Black Point Lake since 2003.  These blooms do not seem to be associated with anthropogenic inputs, rather BobŐs observations suggest they have  been stimulated by  inputs of phosphorus to a  stream as it passes from Lizard Lake through undisturbed, natural  habitat into Black Point Lake. 

 

WhatŐs Next? We seek input to and/or participation in the Water Quality and Aquatic Habitat committee by residents and fishers who have an abiding interest in these issues.   We  have reserved a room for a meeting of interested persons at The Tantallon Public Library on the evening of Tuesday, April 5th, 2011 at 7 pm. Please  register ahead of time by sending a message to wrweo@yahoo.ca or to our mail address (WRWEO, 3650 Hammonds Plains Road Suite 14, Unit 300 Upper Tantallon Nova Scotia B3Z 4R3) with your name, mailing address, e-mail address and phone number  so we  so that we can distribute related materials ahead of time and can contact you should there be any schedule changes. At this meeting, we want to receive feedbank on the issues and conclusions discussed in the newsletter, listen to other perspectives and to discuss what might  be appropriate and feasible next steps. 

 

Sheldrake Lake Aeration system

A meeting of  members of the Sheldrake Lake Homeowners Association with interests in the Sheldrake Lake Aeration Facility, and several WRWEO members

was held on the evening of June 21, 2010 to discuss the history of the facility, the results of  recent monitoring by Bob Chambers and the future of the facility. Bob ChambersŐ monitoring in 2009 showed that the system was not functioning as intended. Some relatively minor changes in the design of  the diffuser apparatus might rectify the major limitation but at this point  some repairs or modifications of the pump are required as well.  There seemed to be general consensus that it is worth resolving these problems if some funding can be obtained. (The system remains the only aeration system installed on any lake in Nova Scotia, thus observations on a properly functioning system would be of wider interest than just to residents of Sheldrake Lake.)  There is some indication from BobŐs observations that total phosphorus levels in Sheldrake Lake have declined since 1990-2000 but further monitoring is required. Bob ChambersŐ Aug 16, 2010 report on his monitoring of Sheldrake Lake is posted  at http://wrweo.ca/AqHabWQ/sheldrake.html

 

Committee: David Patriquin (chair), Bob Chambers, Brian Salnier, Tim McGee, Richmond Campbell

 

Report on the Website

 

The WRWEO website at www.wrweo.ca  was  revamped in 2009.  On the suggestion of a WRWEO member, we took out a second domain name, www.blufftrail.ca, which we use on some signage because it may be easier to remember than our acronym. The  site features a blog-type home page with regular postings of newsy items, and sections on Events, The Bluff Trail, Aquatic Habitat and Water Quality, the Five Bridge Lakes Wilderness Area, Maps and Articles, Archived Docs, Photos and Photo-reports, a MembersŐ section, and a page with Contact Info.  Hikers may be interested in a PDF copy of ŇA Guide to the Trails of the Woodends River WatershedÓ, a 27 page pamphlet with maps and descriptions prepared in 1996 by  John Danson, Michelle Doucette, Neal Lade, Anne Reyner, which is available under Archived Docs. A Password-Protected set of pages under the MembersŐ section provides access to WRWEO Minutes, AGM Proceedings, copies of letters written on behalf of WRWEO, and many documents that were posted on the old website. (A revised password will be distributed to updated membership in April, 2011.)  In 2010, many additions were made to the section on Aquatic Habitat & Water Quality. It is essentially a portal to all available information about the Woodens River system – we seek and welcome any  information  (or links to such information) that is not currently listed.  We also seek and feedback, comments and photos (or links to photos) relating to the Woodens River Watershed and the Five Bridge Lakes Wilderness Area and will post appropriate items with the senderŐs permission.  Please send comments and other information for the website to wrweo@yahoo.ca.  

 

Submitted by David Patriquin

 

Minutes of 2010 Annual General Meeting February 17, 2010

Present: Richmond Campbell & David Patriquin (Co-Chairs), Robert McMahon (Treasurer), Barbara Klass (Secretary), Hildi Konok, Paul Berry, Jim Muir, Tim McGee and some 25 others (list available on request).

Guests:                   Rt. Hon. Minister of Transportation Bill Estabrooks, Councilor Reg Rankin, Raymond Plourde (Ecology Action Centre), Peter Labord (NS Dept. of Environment).

               

The meeting was called to order at 7 p.m.

1)       Welcome

Co-Chair Richmond Campbell welcomed guests and members. 

                       

2)       Approval of 2009 AGM Minutes

Ż  Catherine Klefenz moved that the 2009 AGM Minutes be approved, seconded by Jim Muir.  Carried.

 

3)       Reports (See attachments):

a.       Co-ChairsŐ Report (Richmond Campbell)

b.       Trail Report (Richmond Campbell)

Questions Arising:

 1:  How do they get rocks in to repair muddy sections of the trail?

Answer:  It was explained the maintenance team use ÔfoundŐ rocks in the vicinity.

2:  How many people are using the trail?

Answer:  WRWEO does not yet have a device for counting users, but Tim is looking at options.  Rich said when he is out on the trail, he counts the people he meets – often 50.

c.        Aquatic Habitat Report (David Patriquin)

Question arising:

 1:  Is there any evidence that the aerator caused a decline in phosphorus levels?

Answer:  Not at this time.  During the last testing season the dispersion nozzle was not functioning as it should, and Tim has offered to fix it for the coming season.  David explained aeration is used in Europe and elsewhere and is considered valuable. 

Ż  Richmond moved that the reports be accepted, seconded by Dave Bryson.  Carried

 

d.       TreasurerŐs Report (Robert McMahon)

Ż  Robert moved that the Financial Statements be accepted as read, seconded by Jim Muir.  Carried.

 

4)       Election of New Board (chaired by Geoff Le Boutillier)

Rich said that all eight board members are re-offering, and as the organization is allowed 15 board members, nominations are welcome.

Slate of nominations:

Richmond Campbell and David Patriquin – Co-Chairs

Robert Mahon – Treasurer

Barbara Klass – Secretary

 

Hildi Konok (member)             Tim McGee (member)

Jim Muir (member)                     Paul Berry (member)

 

Jim Muir nominated Dr. Mark Reed to the Board

Nominations were closed with no more nominations made after three calls for further nominations. The above nominees were declared elected by acclamation.

 

5)       Keynote Speakers

Biologist David Patriquin spoke on the fauna and flora and, in particular, on old growth forests in the Candidate Wilderness Area.

Canoeist Dusan Soudek provided a pictorial tour of the nearly 10,000 hectares of barrens, woodlands, lakes and rivers in the Candidate Wilderness Area.

 

6)       Adjournment  The meeting was adjourned at 8.55 p.m.

SLATE OF NOMINATIONS TO THE 2011 WRWEO BOARD OF DIRECTORS

 

Richmond Campbell – Co-Chair

David Patriquin – Co-Chair

Robert McMahon – Treasurer

Barbara Klass – Secretary

Daniel Allaire

Paul Berry

Hildi Konok

Tim McGee

Jim Muir

Mark Reed

 

The By-Laws allow up to 15 persons to be members of the Board. Further nominations may be made from the floor at the AGM. If no more than 15 persons are nominated in total, they are declared elected by acclamation