Adopting a Park and Supporting the Watershed
BY Nancy Henley
ON August 26, 2014
We are a small group of three greater Hamilton citizens whose livelihoods and interests have exposed us to the importance of healthy watersheds and sustainable living. We have come together as a self-employed chef, a specialist in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry and an analyst in the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change to adopt a park in our neighbourhood (City of Hamilton - Adopt-a-Park Program). Why? Because there is a beautiful stream running through it and we want to connect ourselves and our fellow neighbours more closely to the health of a watershed (Friends of Rosebough Creek).

Our little Greensville park is located within the larger Middle-Spencer Creek subwatershed in Dundas that is one of 15 subwatersheds of Spencer Creek that drain a 278 square km. area into magical Cootes Paradise marsh and then subsequently into our great Lake Ontario. This is a dauntingly large area to consider in terms of watershed health so we decided to concentrate specifically on this one little tributary in Greensville; we wanted to be positive contributors to our larger environment. Plus, itʼs so peaceful to sit by a flowing stream, get your hands in the water and observe nature more closely!

Carefully turn over a submerged rock and there is lots to discover!

We have consulted with the Hamilton Conservation Authority Hamilton-Halton Watershed Stewardship Program regarding the creation of a master plan, a portion of which details no-mow areas in our park to increase shade/cover for animals like frogs and toads, turtles, etc. In areas that are too wet to mow, we are hoping to encourage the growth of non-invasive marsh species. We cannot wait to see more birds inhabit the parkʼs natural areas, like the secretive American Woodcock, recently spotted during a hike in our watershed. We also have plans, with help from the Hamilton Naturalists' Club, to make butterfly and bee gardens to encourage species at risk and pollination. Support from the City of Hamilton has allowed us to add benches to encourage relaxation and quiet observation in these busy disconnected times and we are looking forward to the addition of Carolinian shrub and tree species to provide more shade for all park inhabitants and to supplement a warmer climate. And last but not least, we are working with BARC to bring the Stream of DreamsTM program to our area.  
We have so much more to tell you...but we will highlight that very recently, we conducted a stream assessment of Rosebough Creek and several of the streams that feed into it with the help of students in the Stewardship Youth Rangers Stewardship Program.  
Stewardship youth ranger with the MNRF is taking the temperature of an upstream tributary that feeds into our parkʼs stream. This measurement allows us to gain insight into the overall health of the watershed in our neighbourhood and what plant and animal species we can expect to find. From this initial temperature reading, we will be able to track changes over time in our watershed. 
After analysis of all the data collected, we will now have a “year zero” understanding and database for our adopted creekʼs health. Temperatures collected indicate that we have a number of coldwater streams in our area which “are the primary systems within a watershed making their health extremely important to all the connected streams, rivers and ultimately, lakes throughout the watershed” according to the Stream Steward files
We collected loads of interesting data following the Ontario Stream Assessment Protocol, starting with a master map to identify the larger watershed area and its natural and man-made complexities; we discussed the types of stresses and encroachments occurring in our area. Additionally, we checked on several areas the water coursed above land, especially at man-made culverts, measured widths and depths of the waterways, took water temperatures and checked on water velocity. The stewardship team took samples of flora and fauna to analyze back at the office. Then, after all the hard work, hours spent wading through creeks and taking measurements, the story of our creek began to take shape.   
An ecological restoration student in the summer experience program with MNRF trawling for critters in the benthic zone (sediment zone) of Rosebough Parkʼs stream bed. We found a couple of hundred organisms from many species, (and none of them invasive) in a few seconds of trawling - the sign of a healthy and diverse ecosystem! 
Final results from the study indicate that Rosebough Creek is a pristine system with regards to the diversity of flora and fauna and the low occurrence of invasive species. Now it's up the Rosebough community to spread the story of our creek and connect our neighbours and friends to all the wonderful experiences our watershed has to offer.  
Author Bio - Nancy Henley
Nancy is a mother of three, a chef, cooking teacher and a nature lover. They all go hand in hand and she helps support sustainability whenever she can. Big thanks to Lorraine Moir (Norminton) and Neal Bonnor co-park adopters!
Nancy is a mother of three, a chef, cooking teacher and a nature lover. They all go hand in hand and she helps support sustainability whenever she can. Big thanks to Lorraine Moir (Norminton) and Neal Bonnor co-park adopters!

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