Friends of the Don East has launched a major initiative, believed to be the first of its kind, to engage residents and community groups in the protection and regeneration of Taylor Massey Creek, which flows though the eastern edge of Scarborough and the heart of East York.
The backbone of the Taylor Massey Project is a large section of the FODE website that contains:
- Extensive background information on the Creek
- Fifteen customized location maps, most in a series of Reach Fact Sheets so that people can read about their section of the watercourse
- Over fifty aerial photos showing every metre of the water-course, and
- A call for the creation of the Taylor Massey Trail, with additional aerial photos of the Warden Hydro Corridor, in which part of the trail should be located.
A couple pauses on the bridge in Warden Woods. See the Events listing for details of a birding walk in Warden Woods on May 16.
One of the main goals of the Project is to engage local residents in the City's Wet Weather Flow Master Plan to protect and improve the Creek. Because so much of the City is paved or consists of rooftops, billions of litres of rain and meltwater are conveyed through more than 4,500 kilometres of storm sewers to over 2,600 outfalls in local creeks and streams. This run-off pollutes local streams and the waterfront, threatening public and ecosystem health. In addition, the volume of run-off can erode stream-banks, damages aquatic habitat, and causes both localized basement flooding and discharges of sanitary sewage into local creeks where the storm and sanitary sewers are combined.
The Wet Weather Flow Master Plan proposes many ways to deal with the impacts of this run-off in a 25-year, $1 B Plan, with approximately $60-100,000,000 worth of construction to occur within the Taylor Massey watershed between 2008 and 2012.
Unfortunately, much of the initial planning for the WWFMP was overly-focused on pipes and concrete, lacking both a broad watershed perspective of Taylor Massey Creek and any complementary, detailed knowledge of local features worth protecting and improving.
FODE has realized that a comprehensive watershed perspective on Taylor Massey Creek could serve us all well: Councillors, staff, local residents, watershed activists, and those who like to ensure the best cost/benefit from City expenditures.
Now, with the launch of the website, anyone can have access to detailed information about the Creek, ensure local features are protected and improved, and voice their support for the creation of the Taylor Massey Trail. While the Project website offers a comprehensive watershed perspective for Taylor Massey Creek, it is a work in progress, and only one part of the Taylor Massey Project. Other aspects of the Project include:
- Communications: Ensuring the distribution of At the Forks to several thousand homes in neighbourhoods that back onto the Creek, while continuing similar distribution patterns to homes along the East and West Don Rivers.
- Event Co-ordination: Helping to co-ordinate and/or publicize events in the Creek. There are five events planned for this spring and summer in the Taylor Massey watershed.
- Program Delivery: Offering the Natural Yards Pledge, as well as other programs to help people participate in watershed protection. While the Wet Weather Flow plan will concentrate on riparian (stream-bank) plantings to be affected 2008-2012, FODE has identified 25 priority non-riparian areas that can be planted now to in-crease the forested areas of the Taylor Massey ravines. The list of potential planting sites is being presented to Councillors and City staff now, and it will be on the website soon.
Yes, Taylor Massey Creek needs some pipes and concrete to deal with stormwater run-off that should never have been permitted to run into the creek in the first place. But it also needs engaged individuals and community groups to ensure that it is improved in a way the community wants: that its eroded banks are restored, its edges re-planted, its forest canopy expanded, and that a Taylor Massey Trail connect both the different sections of the watercourse and the communities around them to each other.
How to Get Involved
- Become familiar with the information on our website.
- Come out to Taylor Massey events listed in the Calendar.
- Consider joining or forming a Reach Stewardship Group, as described on the website.
- Register your support for the creation of the Taylor Massey Trail. Submit your electronic signature on the web page dealing with the Trail.
- Invite FODE to make a presentation on the Taylor Massey Project to your organization. Simply email us at email@example.com.
- Become a member of FODE. Help us ensure the best possible future for Taylor Massey Creek.
Your support of, and participation in, the Project will be welcome.
FODE is pleased to announce significant updates to the Another Yard for the Don program. The highlight is the Natural Yards Pledge whereby homeowners can register their intentions to maintain their yards in accordance with a set of environmentally-friendly guidelines.
The Pledge guidelines include: reducing the use of artificial fertlizers and pesticides, composting household and garden wastes, practising water conservation including downspout redirects. People can access the Pledge on the FODE Web site, print it out, complete it and fax it back to FODE.
The Pledge is seen as an alternative to the successful garden visits and judging which FODE conducted in the past five years. It is hoped that more people will sign the Pledge than FODE volunteers could have possibly judged under the old Awards program.
In addition, FODE has offered the Pledge to a nascent city-wide Natural Yards Alliance, something FODE championed over the winter and which was the subject of a recent meeting of key community organizations, hosted by the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority.
The new Yards program also includes an expanded resource library on the Web site, and links to sister organizations involved in yard naturalization. The new program refers people to the City of Toronto for information on disconnecting their downspouts, to LEAF for backyard trees and shrubs, and the North Toronto Green Community for Green Garden Visits. Each are important components in dealing with Wet Weather Flow and establishing a greener city.
Congratulations to the Gold Award winners from the FODE 2003 Yards program: Kate Chung and Doug Buck (Individual category), The Bain Co-operative (Institutional), and Northlea Public School (School category).