Hockey weekends and the Nottawasaga River

Like many of you, I spend a fair amount of time in hockey rinks with other parents watching our little ones experience the ecstasy and agony of one of the best sports in the world. Last weekend, I was at a hockey tournament in the Nottawasaga area.

Sadly, our team didn’t fare too well on the ice, but did happily enjoy being together and having fun. It did give me the opportunity to see the Nottawasaga River, and an excuse to link two great passions – hockey and learning about water that feeds Georgian Bay.



The Nottawasaga river starts at the Orangeville reservoir and ends at the town of Wasaga Beach where it flows into Nottawasaga Bay, part of Georgian Bay . The water journeys and meanders through Dufferin County, the Niagara escarpment, and the amazing Minesing wetlands, which Ontario has designated as an ” Area of Natural and Scientific Interest”.  According to “Friends of Minesing Wetlands”,  over 221 bird species have been sighted in these wetlands; while 135 of these species use these wetlands as nesting grounds. Home to hundreds of plant species, the wetlands are composed of swamps,fens, bogs, and marshes that link and connect and ultimately act as a giant sponge during spring thaw; that let-offs a constant flow of water into the Nottawasaga River in the summer.



Reading up on such important wetland, reminded me to keep vigilant about mapping, reporting and controlling invasive Phragmites – which is a fast spreading reed that can grow into dense monostands that reduce habitat for birds and other species and threaten native plant biodiversity. I was glad I didn’t see any of the dead stalks in the quick views of the river from the road – however, I certainly saw this plant along the highways going up. Last summer, GBF and 16 communities worked on removing over 8000 kilograms of this plant and we will be back at it again this summer. The Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority was a great partner in helping remove Phragmites from the coastal areas in Collingwood, and appeared with our GBF’s David Sweetnam in this Penny Skelton show to discuss the project.

If you want to help Georgian Bay wetlands, learn more about the Phragmites workshops Georgian Bay Forever is hosting this April.

Picture of Winter Phragmites

I left Nottawasaga with some beautiful winter pictures of the river, and wondering whether it was usually more frozen. On returning back to the city, it was great to see that our backyard rink, which we had not been able to enjoy at all in December,  had frozen over finally for some more practice fun time. We’ll get them next year!

a Picture of outdoor hockey rinks

If you are interested in writing about Georgian Bay with a connection to the water, please contact me, Heather Sargeant – the Communications Director. We want to create more posts that share your information about Georgian Bay!


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