DURHAM – Jack Serre is a man on a mission – to raise the status of the Saugeen River system to Heritage River status.
This would provide the Saugeen with the same status as the Grand River, Credit River and the Humber.
The process is a lengthy and complex one. The first step would be to form a committee, and Serre has a list of people he’d like to see part of it.
He noted that before the water tragedy 22 years ago, the Saugeen was up for Exceptional Waters status. That all changed with the water tragedy, and Serre would like to reverse that.
One thing he has in mind is an annual fly-fishing competition on the Saugeen. He noted the Lake Huron Fishing Club has just stocked 60,000 steelhead (which he described as rainbow trout on steroids) in Walkerton.
It wouldn’t take a lot to restore the Saugeen, he said, noting that similar efforts have worked well elsewhere.
“Bronte Creek now has trout back in it,” he said.
Taking out the Truax Dam on the Saugeen in Walkerton was a giant step in the right direction, he said, but there are two other dams that need to be removed, one of which is at Maple Hill. Removing dams that aren’t needed for flood control has a positive impact on fish habitat, creating a faster-flowing, colder river.
Serre also referred to the work Bruce Power has been doing to improve the river quality.
Removal of the Truax Dam meant removal of an impediment to migrating trout and salmon species.
“This is a world class river,” said Serre.
“And Walkerton gets it!” he said, referring to the fish icons that appear throughout the Municipality of Brockton. What’s lacking is a campaign to get people to come and fish.
“Let’s connect the dots,” he said, “and put some money in the river… let’s catch some fish!”
Serre resides in Durham but spends a lot of time in Walkerton.
Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times