I'm a summer co-op student at Lake Ontario Keeper and it is every student's dream to conduct hands-on activities while at the placement. Well, my dream came true today. I went on an exploration of the Lower Don River, from Bloor to Queen, with Eric. It was sunny and hot, yet there was still a slight breeze.
It was an adventure right from the moment that we had arrived at the bridge above the Don Valley. For those of you who are like me and are unfamiliar with the Don area, the Don River is sandwiched between the two sections of the DVP. And to arrive at the riverside, we had to first slide down the steep hill. We then dodged the oncoming traffic as we made our way across the highway.
Our only guide for locating the pipes were the GPS co-ordinates from a previous exploration. Thus we began our search by traveling along the side of an abandoned railroad tracks while following our GPS.
We foraged through the chest-high stinging nettles before we found our first pipe. Stumbling through those weeds was a feat in itself as they are named stinging nettles for a reason?their scratches cause a burning and prickling sensation.
We were able to observe many pipes. However because this was the summer time, the overgrown weeds had concealed many of the pipes that were visible on the last exploration that was conducted in February see Visit to Don River by Rheanne Carpenter. Of the pipes we did observe, most of the water was stagnant. A large factor for this was because the lack of rain lately.
It was truly upsetting to see how neglected the Don River has become. The water was murky and polluted. Despite all this pollution we did see some minnows swimming in the Don. We also came across a few ducks that were splashing around in the water. It seemed that for every person that was cleaning up the Don, five others were dumping garbage into it. This exploration really opened my eyes to the condition of not only the Don River, but also our water systems as a whole. I believe that the health of the Don River would improve if everyone went down and looked at the present condition of the Don. We need to be realistic about the issue work harder in cleaning it up.
The pictures and notes that were taken from today?s visit are available on the LOK web site. In the coming weeks, I will be spending more time on the Don River and documenting the discharges and other sources of contamination.
Kids in their boats on the Don River.