Earlier this month, Water Rangers members met up with middle school students from the Brila applied philosophy workshop for a tour of Brewery Creek in Hull. The workshop is offered each year at the University of Ottawa so that middle school students can get to experience what post-secondary education is like. All of our participants learned about the creek’s history, and had a chance to explore how community environmental stewardship might help this urban waterway.
Did we mention we went in the water?
With hip waders, of course; sometimes getting up close and personal with a body of water is the best way to explore what might be living there! While the creek hadn’t quite woken up for the spring yet, we still managed to find some signs of life, test the creek’s water quality, and enjoy the beautiful weather.
We spoke with an older resident of the area who told us about how he remembered Brewery Creek: the water used to be much higher due to the small hydroelectric station next to the current site of Les Brasseurs du Temps. Owing to the fact that a nearby meatpacking plant was had a drain with an outlet in to the creek, he told us that it used to support a significant population of large American Eels.
While the hydroelectric station no longer produces electricity and the water level is much lower, residents continue to use the creek for recreation and it has gradually become a popular spot for birding. We hope that the monitoring and civic activism that Sheila Jones and the Amies du Ruisseau de la Brasserie (Friends of Brewery Creek) are doing in conjunction with the Ottawa Riverkeepers will help ensure the creek is more sustainably managed in the future. With luck, better management of urban runoff will reduce E.Coli levels in the creek so that it is safe for above-water recreational uses like canoeing and kayaking!
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