Grand River watershed remains under a watershed conditions statement

The Grand River is seen from a bridge at sunset in Wellington County with buildings in the distance.
A section of the Grand River that runs through the downtown core of Fergus, Ontario, taken in September 2020. Photo by Kayla Kreutzberg.

The entire Grand River watershed remains under a watershed conditions statement regarding water safety due to the unsafe conditions in local waterways.

Cam Linwood, communications coordinator for the Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA), said this is mainly because there are still elevated flows throughout the watershed.

“There is also a bit of ice in the river still and with that ice there is always the potential that it could jam up and create flooding around that ice jam,” Linwood said. “So, we’re always a little bit more cautious at this time of year when there is still ice in the river.”

Linwood said the entire Grand River watershed has had the benefit of mother nature on its side recently because the rainfall that they were anticipating did not happen.

“While we did get the warm temperatures, we had a lot of sun that came with that too, so, a lot of that snowpack that we were a little bit worried about actually evaporated,” Linwood said. “The runoff was certainly reduced from that and without the rainfall we really didn’t get the substantial flows we were expecting.”

He said the GRCA has been able to use their reservoirs to contain some of the downstream flows and they have helped offset some of the potential risk that was there.

Linwood said the GRCA are seeing a lot of people getting outside more, due to the pandemic.

“We want to make sure people are staying safe, so, staying well back from those local waterways,” Linwood said. “An issue we saw […] throughout the winter was people getting out on some of those local water bodies that still had ice on them, that ice is certainly not safe at this point in time, and we want to make sure that people stay safe and stay well back.”

He said if people are out walking with their pets, they should make sure they are on a leash and keep them well back from bodies of water.

Linwood added that banks adjacent to rivers and creeks are also very slippery at this time and, when combined with cold, fast moving water, pose a serious hazard.

The watershed conditions statement will remain in effect until Monday, March 22.

Cam Linwood, communications coordinator for the Grand River Conservation Authority:

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