Managing Our Watershed

 Headwaters Management

Our AGM of 2016 featured a discussion with Quinte Conservation (QC) and the audience about watershed and headwaters management. Members of the FSR board met with Quinte Conservation in February to discuss what resources might be dedicated to critical areas of the watershed, particularly the headwaters. QC was starting to prepare their new watershed master plan to go to the municipalities. So this was a good time to make a presentation to municipalities regarding the importance of protecting the watershed.

Frog on kayak

Approaching Kennebec Lake​. Noreen’s kayaking buddy
Photo: Noreen Dertinger

Presentations on the Watershed

June 22, 2017 – Salmon River Watershed in “great condition” and Friends wants to keep it that way presentation.

Gray Merriam and Susan Moore made presentations to the municipalities of North and Central Frontenac (in April & May, 2017), focusing on the importance of watershed values and the headwaters, to assist in their planning processes. FSR offered help with resources.

FSR made a presentation to the Frontenac Stewardship Environmental Forum in April, 2017, about how to promote the importance of the headwaters in a watershed.

In January, 2017 – Susan Moore (FSR) and Lawrence O’Keeffe (from Friends of Napanee) did an interview for the County Naturally show at 99.3 County FM in Picton – on Watersheds, the importance of Headwaters and the history and activities of both groups.

Quinte Conservation

The Watershed Master Plan
Oct. 2017: They are just beginning to work on the plans for their three watersheds: the Salmon, Napanee and Moira. We can expect an outline or draft plan for the Salmon in early 2018. They will ask for consultation with local groups and they will call on us when the plan is more developed.

Quinte Conservation Presentation on 2016 Drought

Friends of the Salmon River AGM
Nov. 9, 2016 in Roblin

Terry Murphy, General Manager, and Christine McClure, Water Resources Manager, from Quinte Conservation (QC) provided a brief overview of water management options and the decision-making process for the Salmon River.  An open discussion of river conditions, levels and dam operations followed, including questions from the general audience and some collated/prepared in advance by moderator, Steven Moore. This presentation follows from a tour of the Salmon River with Terry and Christine, and also a tour by four FSR members.

The drought in summer 2016 was unprecedented and caused upset for families and businesses throughout the watershed. The Salmon River watershed and those to the east almost entirely reached Level 3 Low Water conditions, whereas those to the west and north were not affected as badly. Quinte Conservation monitored rainfall and stream flow, documenting below normal precipitation in all but August and October, which did not make up for the lower than normal levels overall. During the period of April to October 5, 2016 was the worst drought on record.

Quinte Conservation owns a number of dams on Salmon River but there are also some private dams. Christine shared pictures of various streams and dams throughout the watershed. As shown, only some of the dams owned by QC are operable and even of those, some are limited in their ability to moderate drought conditions, thus there is not a lot of flexibility in how water levels are managed.

READ MORE on the Question & Answer session… on this page.

Meeting of FSR with Quinte Conservation (QC) on Jan 25, 2017

FSR proposal to QC: that they spend the bulk of their resources on defined Headwaters portions of their watersheds – – because that is the source of most of the downstream services.

Terry Murphy, General Manager of Quinte Conservation, reported that they are preparing a Watershed Master Plan, an overall plan to manage water systems in their entire catchment area, including the Moira, Napanee and Salmon watersheds. The municipalities will soon receive a Table of Contents for this document.

They are also creating a new document – a Drought Plan for Quinte Conservation.

Actions planned by FSR:

1/ Presentations to take to the Municipal Councils in the Salmon watershed. Coordination with the timing of the Watershed Master Plan. Focus will be on :

  • Suggestions for sustainable planning to preserve healthy ecosystems
  • The importance of headwaters and relegating more resources there

The Municipal Councils in the Salmon watershed include:
Addington Highlands, Central Frontenac, Stone Mills, Greater Napanee and Tyendinaga

2/ Education and Landowner Stewardship

  • Find ways to assist landowners in their roles in watershed stewardship
    e.g., help start forest management plans & encourage plans that enact stewardship, such as protecting creek and river shores and lowland forest, not just timber production
  • Shoreline protection with more shading by tree and shrub canopies
  • Help supply trained tree markers to private forest owners before harvest
  • Help identify and control invasive species
  • Encourage cooperative education in our communities (educational workshops, demonstrations, and bus tours)

The headwaters areas are the most important parts of any watershed because they affect everything downstream.


What happens at the top of the Salmon will be felt all the way to Shannonville.

Sunset over the Salmon River

Sunset over the Salmon River
Photo: Noreen Dertinger


A larger cooperative Stewardship arrangement, with the Conservation Authority as organizer – along with the municipalities (planning departments), ministries, NGOs, and local community groups.