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Eden Mills successfully installs naturalized opening in Eramosa River weir

Eramosa River Naturalization Project spearheaded by Eden Mills Eramosa River Conservation Association
20200915_EdenMills-cross-vane complete - 12 inch
The naturalized opening of boulders, called a cross vane, at the top of the East Branch of the Eramosa River. Photo provided by EMERCA

The village of Eden Mills, known for its action on environmental issues, has accomplished their goal of installing a naturalized opening in the weir at the East Branch of the Eramosa River.

After several years of project consultation and planning, the Eramosa River East Branch Naturalization Project came to fruition on Sept. 14. A fully functional, maintenance-free boulder opening connects the upper pond with the East Branch.

The naturalization project was spearheaded by the Eden Mills Eramosa River Conservation Association (EMERCA) who lease the property along the Eramosa River shoreline from Charles and Anna Simon. EMERCA hired R&M Construction to install the boulder rock vane to the exact specifications of the engineered drawings created by Water’s Edge, ensuring that all design objectives were met.

“It was a pleasure to work with Harry Reinders of R&M Construction and his professional crew on this project. They used their extensive expertise to build the rock vane in just a few days. We are very pleased with their work.” said Marilyn Baxter, EMERCA President.

Charles and Anna Simon, property owners, are “pleased with the simple, elegant design” of the naturalized opening in the dam at the East Branch. “This maintenance-free natural design meets all the objectives of the Eden Mills Working Group – to allow fish passage and maintain flow in the East Branch during the drought times in the summer, while protecting property downstream from increased risk of flooding” said Charles Simon.

Adjacent downstream property owners, Ed Langevin and Norah Menzies had this to say, “We are so pleased that this has actually happened! The work of replacing a metal weir and naturalizing the opening of the East Branch of the Eramosa River ensures equitable flow in both branches of the river to create and maintain a healthy aquatic habit.”

About a dozen people visited the completed project site and the most common comment about the new opening was ‘it looks so natural!’ When the vegetation is fully regenerated in the spring, the site will look magnificent.

All the stars aligned to implement the project in September 2020. To list just a few:

  • This project was undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada through the federal Department of Environment and Climate Change.
  • A total of $20,000 was raised through the generosity of local residents and local grantors: Wellington County, The Guelph Community Foundation, and the GCF Musagetes Fund.
  • R&M Construction was available to do the work before the end of September (a requirement in a cold-water stream ecosystem).
  • The rare Charitable Research Reserve has added the ‘Eramosa River Conservation Corridor’ to their land trust priorities and are in negotiations with the Simons to acquire the property.
  • A new group called the ‘Guelph-Eramosa Ecosystem Committee’, lead by Sadie McQuinn, chose for their first project to rescue and replant native plants at the site, with donations of plant material from Shaun Booth, owner of ‘In Our Nature’.

Essential to the success of the project was the enthusiasm of the volunteers who prepared the site in advance, and cooperative, supportive adjacent landowners along with the Eden Mills community endorsement.

Eden Mills Eramosa River Conservation Association (EMERCA) is a community-based, environmental charitable corporation created in 1990.




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