Thursday, June 4, 2009

Water Related News

They do exist

Throwing salt in the game of developers anxious to break ground on the Hanlon Creek Business Park was the announcement that a salamander collected near Laird Road is part Jefferson Salamander. The endangered salamander has long been believed to have a habitant within the borders of the proposed development, but evidence, aside from odd sightings and conjecture, has been rather scarce. But the DNA analysis done on this salamander proves that a full-blooded Jefferson male has been in the area and recently.

"This discovery is the result of our rigorous, ongoing monitoring program in this area. The City remains committed to protecting the habitat of endangered species, and we will work closely with the Ministry of Natural Resources," said Mayor Karen Farbridge in a press release.

The City's been monitoring the area using the services of Natural Resource Solutions Inc. The release went on to say that no salamanders were observed in the Hanlon Creek Business Park area during surveys conducted this spring, but one salamander was found while crews were monitoring amphibian movement on the other side of Laird Road. Under the presumption that salamanders don’t recognize man-made borders, DNA extraction and analysis was performed on a tissue sample by Dr. Jim Bogart from the University of Guelph. Bogart confirmed that the individual salamander was a hybrid. However, genetics indicate that a pure Jefferson salamander is present.

So what happens next? Well, the City of Guelph and Ministry of Natural Resources has yet to formulate a plan. Bogart told the Guelph Mercury that decisions can’t really be made until the salamander’s breeding ground is discovered. "We don't know where the breeding ponds are," Bogart said. "It's pretty hard to protect an area if you don't know the general habits and the habitat."

Bogart added that according to the Jefferson Salamander Recovery Strategy, which he actually helped write thank you, if a Jefferson salamander is on site, then a 300-metre buffer from development must be built and vernal ponds, or temporary pools of water created by the seasons, must be preserved. All this for a salamander? You bet, last summer construction on a $57 million road project was halted in Kitchener when Jefferson salamanders were discovered.

Keeping water water everywhere

Guelph City Council voted to adopt the policy recommendations of Water Conservation and Efficiency Strategy Update (WCESU) at last week’s Council meeting. The policy recommends formally endorsing the three water reduction goals of the City’s Water Supply Master Plan (WSMP), the formation of a Water Conservation and Efficiency Advisory Committee to provide ongoing public consultation throughout strategy implementation, and an enhanced public education program. One of the effects will be further rebates for the installation of water-efficient toilets, washing machines, humidifiers, outdoor water timers, rain barrels, as well as grey water reuse systems snd the like. “Local residents and businesses do an excellent job of conserving water, and the recommendations in this strategy will help support those efforts even more,” said Mayor Farbridge.

Curtain rises on main stage again

All but one of June’s performances on the main stage of the River Run Centre will go forward as temporary accommodations have been made for safety following the Victoria Day long weekend’s mysterious flood. A full restoration and any necessary equipment replacements will happen in July and August when there are no events scheduled. The flood, which unleashed between 6 to 8,000 gallons of water in the vicinity of the stage, forced the cancellation, postponement or relocation of the entire remaining slate of performances for the Centre’s mains stage for May. An exact cause is still not known, but the safe bet is an equipment malfunction, rather than a human cause.

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