By Chris Jones/The Oshawa Express
With its 60th anniversary now in the rearview mirror, the Central Lake Ontario Conservation Authority recently took time to look back at its 2018 accomplishments.
CLOCA was founded in 1958.
“It is refreshing that after 60 years we are still pioneering new programs, projects, technology and finding new partners to ensure our work continues to be relevant and meets the needs of our watershed communities,” outgoing CLOCA chair and Whitby Mayor Don Mitchell wrote in his year-in-review message.
Some projects CLOCA undertook over the last year include the Lake Ontario Shoreline Hazards Management Plan, where the organization began working on an update to the 1990 Lake Ontario Shorelines Management Plan.
The nearly 30 year-old plan oversees management of the Lake Ontario shoreline of the CLOCA, Ganaraska and Lower Trent Conservation Authority watersheds.
The review notes there is “anticipated financial and technical benefits to working collaboratively with these Conservation Authorities to cover a larger geographic area.”
The newly updated plan was approved in 2018 and will receive federal funding from the *National Disaster Mitigation Program, and from Durham Region as well.
The Darlington Provincial Park and McLaughlin Bay restoration project steering committee received the Ontario Parks Board Ecological Integrity Award.
Done in partnership with General Motors Canada, the restoration project incorporated seeding and planting native meadow species to increase biodiversity of an existing meadow, to attract pollinators and birds.
The conservation authority also held several successful events, including the 21st annual Durham Children’s Watershed Festival, which welcomed 4,033 Grade 4 students and 752 teachers and adult volunteers.
The organization also hosted the Purple Woods Maple Syrup Festival, which saw more than 10,000 visitors over a 12-day period.
CLOCA’s 2016-2020 strategic plan reached its midway mark last year.
This document includes 45 action points which will map the future of the organization.
According to the review, CLOCA completed 15 of the 19 tasks it committed too last year. The four tasks that were not completed are in various stages of progress, or have been deferred due to other priority actions.
As a history reference, when CLOCA was founded, NASA had just been announced, the microchip had just been discovered, and Sir Edmund Hillary had just reached the South Pole.
“Closer to home the lost villages of Ontario were permanently flooded as part of the completion of the St. Lawrence Seaway and Power Project and the microwave relay network now permitted coast to coast transmission of television signals,” Mitchell wrote in his yearly message.
Mitchell said CLOCA now uses the same technology to map the watershed the Apollo 13 used to map the moon’s surface.
“This technology is now a tool in our toolbox to help us update our watershed plan mapping, and assist us with modeling Lake Ontario’s shoreline,” Mitchell said. “From laptops, to smart phones, portals and web sites and secondary products like our storyboards, we are seeing the potential for improved data management and sharing, communication and innovation in every aspect of our business.”