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Friends of Kingston Inner Harbour Annual General Meeting, Thursday, November 14, 2019 President’s Report

This report simply reflects the highlights of this year’s work as all of what we have done is readily available on the webpage –
For a full account click on the About tab and then the Monthly Updates tab.

Feb 25: Meeting w. Turtles Kingston re Ministry and Commercial Fishermen (Feb update)
April 16/17 : Turtle Workshops for Public with Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre
April 27: Turtle Awareness Table, Earth Day Celebration w. Ollin
May 4: Jane’s Walk: Inner Harbour Past and Present
May 12: Volunteer Training for Citizen-Science Turtle Monitoring
May 16: Pitch to Awesome Kingston for funds for Nest Covers (unsuccessful)
May 18: “Reconciliation in the Watershed” Workshop in partnership w. KAIROS Peterborough
May 22/23/24: Volunteer Training for Citizen-Science Turtle Monitoring
June 5: World Water Day Celebration with the Limestone Board of Education
June 11: Building Turtle Nest Covers w. Amherstview Public School & Limestone Board of Ed.
June 22: Turtle Awareness Table at the Skeleton Park Arts Festival
June 23: Cataraqui Boatyard Project Display at the Skeleton Park Arts Festival
June 27: Wheelchair Rally with the Kingston Community Health Centre
July 5: “Drink Beer Save Turtles” Fund Raising Event at Spearhead Brewery
July 6: Turtle Awareness Table at the Use Your Heart to Change Your Footprint Event
Aug 3: Turtle Awareness Table at the Princess St. Promenade
Oct 2: Turtle Awareness Table at Queen’s Sustainability Week Event

a) Stop Bill 101. Ford Government’s attack on environment (Jan update)
b) “Engage for Change” City Initiative
c) “Your Stories Our Histories” City Initiative
d) Legal Art Wall: (March, April Newsletters, mid July update)
e) Commuter Challenge, June 2-8
f) Kingston Water Walkers July 4
g) Sustainable Kingston
h) City’s Climate Emergency & Climate Action Plan

a ) “Density by Design” City Initiative (including discussion of Frontenac Heritage Foundation’s ongoing efforts vs, high rises in Kingston’s historic downtown – and Kingston’s housing issue in general outlined in detail in Sept newsletter)
b) Tannery Issues (including April 16 motion for Peer Review of Environmental Impact Statement, information in the Aug newsletter and update and upcoming scheduled meeting)
c) Belle Park, Belle Island and Shoreline Reparation Initiatives – given 20 million from the federal government (mid-Oct update)
d) North King’s Town Working Group including 3rd Crossing Concerns re Process and Turtles
(mid Aug and mid Oct updates)

a) Freshwater Future Grant for Radio-Telemetry and possible impacts on the Third Crossing:
We received a grant or $1500 USD in the spring of 2018 to do a radio telemetry study for 2 turtles in Kingston’s Inner Harbour – attaching antennae to two turtles and checking their position with a receiver over the course of the summer. The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry insisted that we increase our sample size to 6 and we also had to secure the appropriate permits for the work. The result was the need for an extension of the grant until Dec, 2019. We were grateful for the cooperation and support of Dr. Stephen Lougheed of Queen’s University to help us obtain the necessary permits through Queen’s and for the opportunity for our hired student/consultants to work with Lesley Rudy, one of our previous volunteers who is now working on her M. Sc. with Steve Lougheed. The results of the work have been surprising. We now know that many of the turtles go up to Kingston Mills probably to hibernate there. We are grateful that Matt and Kenny put together the following letter to the City’s Third Crossing Team documenting their findings. Most certainly the city will need to take their findings into account. We are also extremely grateful for their very professional work creating capture/release protocols, collecting and inputting the data, and creating wonderfully descriptive visuals.

Comments on Detailed Impact Assessment (DIA) for the proposed Third Crossing by Consultants Kenny Ruelland and Matt Keevil
“FKIH radio telemetry observations of four female Northern Map Turtles suggest that the reach between Highway 401 upstream to the Kingston Mills dam is a primary overwintering site for Map Turtles captured in the Inner Harbour in July and August. Prior to the radio-telemetry study and incidental observations by boat, FKIH suspected that the primary overwintering area for Map Turtles was somewhere in the river south of Belle Park, close to the Davis Tannery property as indicated in the Third Crossing Detailed Impact Assessment (DIA). This had been inferred based on walking surveys documenting concentrations of basking Map Turtles at the Tannery shoreline in April at the beginning of the active season. Because of the new data we have collected, we now suspect that most Map Turtles in the Inner Harbour must traverse the proposed Third Crossing site in late summer or fall and again in early spring in order to migrate to and from their primary overwintering site. With the third-crossing being directly in their route, we cannot be sure how this will negatively affect the seasonal movements of this species at-risk.
Six female Map Turtles were fitted with transmitters during July and August. One transmitter fell off in late August and we have been unable to detect a signal for another after 9 September. Between 13 August and 2 September the remaining turtles moved approximately 6 km from the Inner Harbour area downstream of Belle Park to the Kingston Mills/401 reach. Over the same period, we observed a pronounced increase in basking Map Turtles in the Kingston Mills/401 reach while incidental observations of adult and older juvenile Map Turtles declined in the Inner Harbour to the point that we essentially ceased encountering them there in September.
On 23 August we observed five Eastern Musk Turtles during 60 minutes of directed searching in the Kingston Mills/401 reach with several others observed opportunistically on other occasions. Similar sampling at several sites downstream of the 401 in late August failed to detect Musk Turtles although we had been able to find them earlier in the active season. This suggests that they are also present in large numbers in the Kingston Mills/401 reach towards the end of the active season and this is consistent with the possibility that this species also uses this area for overwintering. However, there are no longitudinal survey data for Musk Turtles available to establish a spatio-temporal trend in habitat use for this population. Given that Musk Turtles, like Northern Map Turtles, are constrained to overwinter at sites with relatively high dissolved oxygen, we provisionally presume that it is likely that Musk Turtles in the Inner Harbour also undertake migrations for overwintering that may intersect the proposed Third Crossing site.
Other turtle species present in the Great Cataraqui River include Painted and Snapping Turtles which are less constrained by dissolved oxygen levels during the winter. There is a complete lack of data on their overwintering sites. While most individuals of these species may not migrate across the Third Crossing route, we are concerned that some may overwinter at the proposed site and may be displaced or killed during construction.”
Submitted by
Kenny Ruelland Matt Keevil
Reptile & Amphibian Conservationist Research Consultant, FKIH PhD. Candidate, Boreal Ecology, Laurentian Univ.
613-483-6929 705-618-4453

b) Lesley Rudy’s Nest Study 2018/2019/2020 and Demographic Study 2019/2020
2018 nests checked throughout April-June 2019 for overwintering hatchlings
2018 nests excavated in June/July 2019 to determine success/outcome
New (2019) nests identified (with help from Kenny and Matt) and sensors placed in June/July.  33 nests are in the study in park and surrounding area.  There are also 10 nests for comparison in rural locations.
2019 nests checked from mid-August to early November.  9 nests with 2-11 hatchlings each emerged this fall.
Will repeat in 2020.
Plan to collaborate on international nest-site selection study.
Goals are to determine success rate, emergence timing and hopefully detect cues that might trigger emergence; and to compare these findings with other locations. 
Demographic study:
First year 2019
Lots of help from Kenny and Matt, thank you!
Over 100 unique turtles identified and marked. 
Will capture again next year and look for re-captures.
Goal is to estimate population size and structure. 
Lesley will be happy to discuss results and their potential meaning in more detail when more data is available and has been properly analysed, likely in 2021.

c) Citizen-Science Turtle Monitoring, 2019
Once again, a dedicated crew of volunteers was involved in monitoring turtle behaviour and alerting our student consultants to where nest covers should be placed.

d) Mark/Release/Recapture Protocol
For the first time this year our student/consultants worked with former volunteer, Lesley Rudy to institute a mark/release program where turtles were captured, marked, released, and future sightings documented. Over 150 turtles were marked which involved drilling two tiny holes in their shells and marking their shells with sharpies. Observations of over 170 nests were documented. Data currently under analysis

Although we raised $10,000 in donations and another $2000 at the Drink Beer Save Turtles fund raising event, the turtle projects actually cost another $10,000 because we needed to pay our consultants for a much longer period -well into November rather than ending mid July – and we had to pay for repairs to a boat. Sadly, as a result, we cannot continue this program. We are hoping that Kenny Ruelland and Lesley Rudy in Dr. Stephen Lougheed’s Lab will be able to apply for grants to continue this work. Thanks so much to Jean Clipsham for stepping up to help Kenny with grant application and status as non-profit and possibly charitable organization of its own.

Algonquin Birch Bark Canoe Build
We are very excited about an Algonquin birch bark canoe build that is being planned for April. We have applied to the Kingston Association of Museums for a grant of $20,000 to cover the cost of Algonquin Traditional Knowledge Keeper, Chuck Commanda, to organize a community build in the Inner Harbour in April, 2020. Part of the grant will also be used to pay Dave McCallum to create a video of the two week project.
The build will include students from the River Program, the Limestone Boards’s alternative Indigenous school, inmates from Joyceville Minimum and the Henry Trail Halfway House, and students from RMC’s Aboriginal Leadership Opportunity Year (ALOY) program as well as interested citizens.
In addition, on June 13 we are hoping to work with members of Kingston’s Indigenous community to have an official Launch Day and blessing of the boat as well as educational workshop activities showcasing Algonquin culture. We have applied to the Community Foundation for a grant for this but planning is still in the early stages. In addition, for the four days following the official Launch Day, we are hoping to pay Ontario Recreational Canoeing Association (ORCA) trained students to take people out in the Inner Harbour in birch bark canoes.
Grant applications have been submitted to the Kingston Association of Museums and to the Community Foundation for Kingston and Area.

Catarqui Boatyard Project
Inspired by Joe Calnan’s work in heritage boat building and his ongoing relationship with Tom Wroe of MetalCraft Marine, we have forged ahead with plans for a yearly heritage build in Kingston’s Inner Harbour, Canada’s oldest continuous boat building location from contact to the present. Members of this group include Joe and Tom along with Andy Sopers (sail maker) Dave Shortt (Brigantine sailor) Maurice Smith (Curator Emeritus of the Marine Museum) and chair, Dave More.
The city has said we can have some space in the Inner Harbour for a more permanent building when funds allow and Jerry Shoalts of Shoalts and Zaback Architects is designing a building for us for free. The Algonquin Canoe Build will be the first project. We are hoping that next year we will build a traditional “batteau”. The ultimate aim is to build a replica of the “Frontenac”, La Salle’s boat.
We had a first public launch of this idea at the Skeleton Park Arts Festival and 50 people signed up who were interested in helping out. A great start. If any of you would like to help out with this project that would be wonderful. It will be fun. We will be contacting the following:

Indigenous Groups:

Family Council, Language, Health, Housing Land: Indigenous Consulting:
Apagidiwag, Algonquin Families Council Pytor Hodgson/Three Things Consult
Kingston Native Language Nest, KCHC Terri Brennan/ Inclusive Voices
Tipi Moza Kingston Georgina Riel/Riel Consulting
Hwy 15 Land Council

Education: PolitIcal/Cultural:
River Program, Limestone DBS Metis Nation of Ontario
Indig. Education & Reconciliation Lead, Limestone DBS
Indig. Consultants at other three Local School Boards Nat. Indig. Peoples’ Day Kingston
Indigenous Education Advisory Council, Limestone DBS Ont. Native Womens’ Association
Aboriginal Teacher Education Program, Queen’s Univ. Katarokwi Grandmothers’ Council
Faculty of Health Sciences, Queen’s University Thunder Women
Kingston Aboriginal Community Information Network Kingston Water Walkers
Indigenous Counsellors, St. Lawrence College Two Feather Drum Circle
Aboriginal Leadership Opportunity Year, RMC KAIROS Peterborough
Canadian and Aboriginal Studies, Univ. of Ottawa Belle Island Caretakers Circle
Indigenous Studies, Trent University Engage for Change, City of Kingston
KACIN (Kingston Aboriginal Community Information Network)
Prisons, Correctional Service of Canada:
Aboriginal Liaison, Joyceville Minimum,
Elders, Joyceville Minimum,
Indigenous Programmer, Henry Trail Halfway House.

Non-Indigenous Groups

Tourism/Business: Nature/Water/Parks
Downtown Business Improvement Assoc. Kingston Field Naturalists Frontenac Arch Biosphere
RTO9, Ont. Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport Nature Conservancy of Canada
Trailhead Frontenac Provincial Park
Ahoy Rentals Murphy’s Point Provincial Park
MetalCraft Marine Thousand Islands National Park
Ontario Rivers Alliance
Accessibility/Active Transportation: Rideau Waterway Land Trust
Kingston Municipal Accessibility Advisory Committee Friends of the Rideau
Kingston Community Health Centre Rideau Trail Association
Hotel Dieu Hospital The River Institute
Easter Seals Ottawa River Keeper
Mama Bears Water Keeper Alliance
Kingston Coalition for Active Transportation Beatty Water Research, Queen U.
Heritage/Historical Great Lakes Commons
Kingston Historical Society Freshwater Future
Frontenac Heritage Foundation K7 Kingston Waterfront
Marine Museum of the Great Lakes Water Access Group
Wolfe Island Historical Society Turtles Kingston
Akoka:ra Wolfe Is. group interested in Indig. issues

Boating/Water Sports: Education/Youth
Wolfe Island Boat Club Pathways to Education
Brad Brennan, Limestone Board and Boat Club Four local school boards
Kingston Rowing Club Leahurst College
Cataraqui Canoe Club Kingstown School
Kingston Dragon Boat Club Kingston Gets Active
Rideau Roundtable Naval Reserve
Paddle Canada Sea Cadets
Canadian Voyageur Brigade Society Boy Scouts and Girl Guides
Kingston Wreck Diving Kingston YMCA
Canadian Canoe Museum Boys and Girls Club
Dolphin SCUBA Club

Political/Community: Arts:
Mayor, MP, MPP and City Councillors Kingston Arts Council
Senior’s Centre Modern Fuel
McBurnewy Park Neigbourhood Association Tett Centre
Portsmouth District Community Association Skeleton Park Arts Festival
Barriefield Village Association
Williamsville Community Association

Perhaps it should be mentioned that I was offered the YMCA’s Peace Award for 2019 to be presented at an official YMCA fund-raising lunch on Friday, November 1. Actually I declined and suggested that Steve and Katie Koopman would be better recipients. I don’t honestly feel that “Peace” has been the main focus of the work of the Friends of Kingston Inner Harbour even though I had to agree that I fit all the criteria they were looking for. Steve and Katie were gracious and appropriate recipients speaking about their work with the Girls Rez hockey team and it fit well with the very moving keynote speech by Indigenous actor,Tom Jackson.