FOPI Staff 2017/05/02

Hello FOPI members,

We would like to thank you all for your support in the past year, and looking into 2017 it is time for membership renewals! Attached is the form for membership renewal; note that the email on the form is outdated, please use this email (fopistaff@gmail.com), or mail directly to 1395 Sault Street, Orleans ON, K1E 1G8

We are very excited for the upcoming summer season on Petrie Island. Our summer students are currently planning events and preparing for our opening in the next few weeks. Unfortunately due to extensive flooding the island is inaccessible by car at the moment, but we are hoping to open once the flooding recedes.

On April 21st, grade 7 and 8 students from Ashbury College came to Petrie Island to help with an Earth Day Cleanup. Because the island was flooded, they ended up cleaning the shoreline across from the island, but still had a lot of fun and collected 20 bags of garbage.

In late April a few of our volunteers ventured out into the waters to check the flooding levels on the island. As you can see in the pictures below, the flooding is almost up to the floor of the Nature Centre. Although many structures have shifted, most are still in good condition. We will definitely be needing extra volunteers in the next few weeks to help clean up the damage from the flooding.

More updates to come about the programming in late May once we are open. If you have any questions feel free to use this email address. We hope to see you out on the island very soon!

Ashbury students in grades 7 and 8 helping with a shoreline cleanup across from Petrie Island on April 21st 2017
The plane from the playground next to the Nature Centre took a little trip after the flooding – it really can fly!!
Flooding near the Nature Centre in late April 2017

Paul LeFort 2017/05/02

As of 0800 today, the water at North Service barricade is about a meter closer to the bottom of the slope than it was at the highest water two weeks ago. That means no access is practical, not even to Yves’ marina, and there are no serious options for using our boat or canoe. There is no convenient way to reach the outer areas, as water is now three feet deep in the picnic area, on the access road past the culverts, and in front of the trail shed. Water will also surround the interpretive center, and be up two feet inside the work shed.

Al and I (and Steve, if he feels safe in an inflatable) may paddle out as the weather clears to inspect for lost items. In the longer term, if access to the marina area returns, I might go in and bring the jonboat and engine back to the marina so that some of us can go in and clean the mess in the immediate area of the interpretive center.

The Ottawa River Regulation Planning Board’s last press release is clear, and is even more true today: reservoirs are full, and at this point, the water is expected to rise further, regardless of weather conditions, as the spring freshet has begun.

OTTAWA/GATINEAU, Friday April 28, 2017 –The Ottawa River Regulating Committee cautions that water levels and flows along the main stem of the Ottawa River between Mattawa and the Montreal region will remain high for a sustained period of time. Well above normal April precipitation combined with snowmelt runoff have resulted in recent peak levels not seen in the last 20 years in many locations. Current meteorological forecasts are calling for additional rainfall of 30-60 mm over much of the Ottawa River basin. This additional precipitation is expected to once again increase levels that had been in decline.

Current weather forecasts predict very significant precipitation beginning Sunday, April 30th into Monday, May 1st. These weather conditions could cause rapid increases in levels and flows between Mattawa and the Montreal region. The increase in levels and extent of possible flooding will depend on the amount of precipitation received, the tracking of the storm as well as the amount of snowmelt in the north.

With current forecasts, northern snowmelt runoff combined with precipitation is expected to fill most northern reservoirs in the next few days. As a result, the capacity to retain additional runoff from the headwater areas in the north will be diminished.  

Paul LeFort 2017/04/28

Greetings from P3. Al and I performed a circumnavigation (walk is the wrong word here).

One can drive carefully (washouts) up to the culverts. Water is two feet deep past the culverts, so Al got in over his boots, being a little crazy, and  I used waders, being prepared. Same problem for access to the picnic area from the parking lot.

Damage assessment:

  1. The water came up and touched the cottage floor, but did not go over the floor. We may assume it will dry nicely, but should test under linoleum anyway. Front verandah is intact. Lost: one rain barrel.
  2. Both the airplane and Thomas the Tank engine are gone, and did not land on any downstream beaches. Ditto most of the “fence logs”.
  3. The big bridge on Muskrat is hanging by sheer luck.
  4. The old crib that was beside Muskrat is now in front of the turtle blind.
  5. Turtle blind needs complete rebuild.
  6. Water rearranged content of work shed, flooding over the chain saw on the bottom shelf. I started it on the third pull.
  7. No water damage in schoolhouse, but it was wet at some point.
  8. Trail shed lost its steps, all six bags of concrete are set, and the water reached over the lawnmower engine. Like the chain saw, it will start first pull. Mud everywhere in there.
  9. Platform at Holland will need repositioning.
  10. All bench platforms are secure but floating around on their anchors.
  11. There are now only two planting boxes, both moved about 30 feet into the landscape. The bug hotel is gone as well. Won’t miss it…
  1. Sarah’s boat is safe, as noted before.
  2. No damage was noted from loose tree trunks, although the piles were reorganized and some floated away. The river was kind enough to completely level out the north branch of the trail to the western area.
  3. Wildlife report: not that many birds, too many geese, one garter snake with a woolen hat wearing a lifevest.

If the weather holds out (unlikely), we will be able to walk in with boots next Wednesday. The Regulation Board says the reservoirs are full, and expects the river will go up again as snowmelt and the coming rain do their thing.

Paul LeFort 2017/04/24

No change in the last two days. The water has dropped, but not visibly.

Dozens of the curious and loyal continue to visit the Trim Road barricade daily, many of them people who visit the island almost daily under normal circumstances.  They bring cameras and binoculars and enjoy the large number of birds present, along with a few muskrats and beavers. A captive audience for a membership drive…

Owner Yves and staffer John boated into the marina again today and are performing some duties. It seems that a few of the stored ice huts are flooded.

When waters recede, the City will have to clear and repair the access road before barricades are removed for the general public. By then I’m sure some os us will have gone out to inspect, either by human-powered boat or by human-powered boot (Steve: pun intended).

Waters are being held back in the upstream reservoirs (kilowatts will be distributed to taxpayers over time). If we do not have the kind of rain in Mat that April showered us with, things should be “normal”, meaning the regular spring freshet situation: no land access to Muskrat and Holland trails.

I don’t think any of the power outlets inside or outside the two buildings are low enough to have shorted out the power and popped the breakers.

 

Paul Lefort 2017/04/21

River continues to rise to unprecedented levels. Gained a few feet longitudinally on the access road.

I had an exchange of emails with Yves Grandmaître, who has known the island since childhood and remembers floods in years long past. He was unequivocal: there will be a few inches of water over the floor of the Interpretive Center. Assume a nice clean ground surface in our work shed, and some swollen plywood flooring at the Petrie Island Trailmaster Lodge & Resort. Also assume that some of the ash trunks left by Forestry will be wandering. Hopefully some of the branches will travel to the nether reaches of the Ottawa. Steve and I will be taking bets on where the wrecked timber crib off Muskrat will end up after Noah decommisions the ark.

(Ozile’s runaway canoe was retrieved, in case anyone noticed it east of the barricade)

The photo here was taken May 1, 2013, when water was under 43.5 m ASL. We are now over 44 m. I trust we chained the bench platform.

I was unable to inspect any distant locations from North Service due to thick fog. I have no intention of trying to take the kayak out to the cottage until the current slows down or the water allows us to reach beyond the causeway.

http://ottawariver.ca/river-levels-flows.php   – updates around 1400 hrs daily.

Bill Bower (25 Sep 2016)

Twenty years ago you wouldn’t have found any of these three butterflies around Petrie Island or around Ottawa for that matter.

All three were found down the Bill Holland Trail within about 300 – 400 yards of one another. I found the Buckeye on Sept. 15th.  Their northern range would be northern New York State and Southern Ontario, Sightings around Ottawa  over the years have been few and far between. One year there was a small colony located in the Ottawa area which meant that a female with eggs made it this far north. They would not have survived the winter. All old sightings were made in September as well. There has never been a sighting reported from Petrie Island that anyone can remember.  I wonder with global warming has anything to do with it.

common-buckeye-at-pi-15-sep-2016-4 compton-tortoiseshell-at-pi-10-jul-2016 hackberry-emperor-at-pi-7-jul-2016-1

 

2014 Year End Summary (draft)

Friends of Petrie Island 2014 Year End Summary

2014 was a very successful season which saw  626 visits by school children from 10 schools and  715  Junior  Naturalists and parents attended 35 sessions. The nature centre had over 7000 visitors in 2014.  The Rideau Canoe and Kayak club’s second year of summer kayaking camps were a hit and we look forward to collaborating with the club again for a third summer. Over 100 volunteers contributed over 1000 hours on environmental projects for the Ontario Trillium funded Native Flora Program.   The adult nature tours were also a success with 67 people attending the four events. Full report on FOPI activities can be reviewed on the Studies and Reports page under Committee Reports. In 2015, we  will be completing our 2nd year of a Trillium grant which will include tree wrapping for protection from beavers,  removal of invasive species, planting of shrubs and trees to prevent shoreline erosion along the river and improving our wildflower garden.   If you would like to volunteer for any of these activities please email: floraprogram2014@petrieisland.org.

Katherine Forster 3 May 2014

Great Turn Out for Jane’s Walk: Turtles at Petrie Island on Saturday May 3rd!

On an early May Saturday Al Tweddle and Eva Kasanda hosted 41 intrepid Jane’s Walkers on a Turtle Trail walk and talk. This year the Ottawa River cooperated allowing the visitors access to the island and the Grand Maitre Nature Reserve. The tour started in the Interpretive Centre, providing shelter from some light rain and allowing visitors to learn about the efforts of the Friends of Petrie Island and the wildlife that lives on the island. Outside one brave Map Turtle (Graptemys geographica) showed his (or her) face and Eva Kasanda introduced the group to a pet Red Eared Slider (Trachemys scripta elegans) turtle (courtesy of Bill Bower) and she talked about the dangers of releasing this type of non-native species into the wild.

The tour finished up with a visit to the Experimental Turtle Nesting Site. Al and Eva received lots of great questions and comments and FOPI is looking forward to hosting more walks and talks this year! Promotion of this event and other Jane Walks were seen in Apartment 613, Green Living Ottawa and the Ottawa Citizen! Thanks to everyone who came out!

Al Tweddle and Erika Rose 25 May 2014

At 11 am Sunday, we attempted to enter Petrie Island but found the road was closed and water levels were still high. We managed to get to the nature center wearing rubber boots and noted that 50% of the picnic area was under water. On our way in we saw 3 painted and 4 mapped turtles basking along the
turtle trail. We saw 2 geese and 3 goslings swimming through the picnic area. The Bill Holland (BH) trail was completely flooded in the picnic area portion. We ventured to the end of the BH trail by boat, landing where the beaver loop begins. We spotted two muskrats along our boat ride, as well as a heron along the river shore. Along the loop we found a beaver lodge, which
is new this year. Portions of the beaver loop are too flooded to walk through.

We proceeded to the sand dune at the west end of the trail, on our way passing a collection of Bladder Nut. As we approached the Ottawa River shoreline we found that the sandy beach along the River Trail was completely under water.

Water levels have receded since their peak on Thursday the 22nd. We
expect the road to be open in the next day or so. Rubber boots are
recommended on the trails – however in some areas water levels may go above
the top of your boots, watch your step!

Figure 1. A
beaver caught eating dinner !

 

Figure 2.
Flooded picnic area at Petrie Island.

 

Figure 3.
Eva, one of our monitors trekking through the flooded picnic area.

 

Figure 4. A
muskrat seen along one of the nature trails!