The Ottawa River as seen from Hawkesbury (Tara Kirkpatrick)

Ice break-up makes water dangerous, warns SNC

South Nation Conservation is warning this time of year is the most dangerous around watercourses. Children are attracted by the ice breakup and the high water, and some tend to wander very close, said a press release issued by the organization.

“We encourage parents to keep an eye on children playing anywhere near streambanks and to keep them a safe distance away,” said Sandra Mancini, SNC Senior Water Resources Engineer. “We would be devastated if their natural curiosity to lead to tragedy.”

The spring freshet – a large burst of meltwater into streams and rivers – is a busy time for SNC.

In coming weeks, SNC staff will conduct roadside monitoring of snow meltwater, particularly along South Nation tributaries to measure headwater drainage features, temporary streams without a defined bed or banks that can occur just about anywhere in the watershed depending on the nature of the annual melt.

SNC is also ramping up its various flood monitoring programs, monitoring 12 stream gauges which measure river levels. A Flood Watch message is issued when there’s potential for flooding, and a Flood Warning message is issued when flooding is imminent and response plans should be activated. Current conditions can be tracked at www.nation.on.ca.

Also at this time of year, SNC staff measure snow depth and the water equivalent at seven locations across the jurisdiction. Data collected indicates how well snow will be able to absorb rainfall and excess water. Ice thickness along the South Nation River is also measured when conditions permit.