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Kenneth McCormick 1961 – 1970: Mr. McCormick was the inaugural Chair of the Sydenham Valley Conservation Authority since its inception in 1961 serving in that role for almost a decade. During those formative years, the Authority embarked on an ambitious land acquisition program and built the foundation for our Conservation Areas you see today. The Authority also began to grapple with options to deal with flooding in Dresden and Wallaceburg. To deal with the flooding in Wallaceburg, the Authority finally settled on a diversion off the North Branch of the Sydenham River into the St. Clair River.
Lloyd Galbraith 1971 – 1980: Mr. Galbraith was Chair during much of the planning and early construction of the W. Darcy McKeough Floodway. At the same time, the Dresden Floodplain Acquisition Program was also initiated. The Authority expanded in 1973 and again in 1974 to become the St. Clair Region Conservation Authority. This was a period of development for the network of Conservation Areas acquired by the Conservation Authority. The Conservation Authority partnered with the City of Sarnia to construct the Sarnia seawall as part of the Sarnia Centennial Park development.
Charles McEwen 1981 – 1987: Mr. McEwen, prior to joining the board, was the long-time Secretary Treasurer of the Authority. He also served as Chair of the Association of Conservation Authorities of Ontario in 1987. The W. Darcy McKeough Floodway, Ontario’s largest flood diversion project, was completed in 1984. Programs expanded over this period in response to important watershed needs such as the tree planting program that started in 1980 and grew to be one of the largest programs in the region.
William Boyd 1988 – 1993: Mr. Boyd took over the reigns as Chair as the Conservation Authority began to focus on the Lake Huron shoreline. The Shoreline Management Plan was completed and shoreline protection in Bright’s Grove got underway. Between 1989 and 1993, over 1 km of shoreline was protected. The CURB, Clean Up Rural Beaches Implementation Program, was launched in 1992 after four years of study. The program was the first the Authority offered that provided grants to landowners to implement agricultural best management programs and to improve septic systems.
Ted Butler: 1994 – 1996: Early in Mr. Butler’s tenure as Chair, the Authority began a partnership with the County of Lambton to manage their natural spaces. This partnership has grown over the years to include 7 properties totaling 1,300 acres. Mr. Butler guided the Conservation Authority through one of its most challenging periods. Following a reduction in provincial transfer payments by 70%, the Authority staff compliment was reduced by half. The remaining staff worked with the Chair and the Board to develop a business plan which put Conservation Authority back on a path to success.
Elizabeth Tenhoeve 1997 – 2000: During Mrs. Tenhoeve’s time as Chair, we continued to find innovative ways to re-establish conservation programs in the region. We were able to secure the support of industry to help fund conservation education. The Conservation Authority embarked on the development of a recovery strategy for Species at Risk in the Sydenham River. This became Canada’s first ecosystem-based recovery strategy. It also marked our move into the digital age with the purchase of digital aerial photography and the establishment of our Geographic Information System.
Norm Giffen 2001 – 2007; and 2009: Mr. Giffen held the Chair as the Authority progressed into scientific monitoring of watershed conditions including, flood monitoring, fish species, benthics and water quality. Over this period, we expanded our Healthy Watershed program which provided financial incentives and technical advice for projects that help reduce nutrient loading into our rivers and lakes. The Conservation Authority joined with Upper Thames River and Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authorities to begin collecting the science behind our local Drinking Water Source Protection Plan. The jurisdiction of the Conservation Authority was expanded once again to include a portion of Lambton Shores.
Andy Bruziewicz 2010 – 2013: As Chair, Mr. Bruziewicz presided over our 50th anniversary celebration. The Conservation Authority continued its work with local industry with an agreement with Enbridge to naturalize over 185 acres – this was a significant project and reflected the importance local industry placed in supporting our conservation efforts. The Conservation Authority also expanded its role with the St. Clair River AOC, working with the federal and provincial governments to work toward delisting the river as an Area of Concern.
Steve Arnold 2008 and 2013 – present: Mr. Arnold is our current Chair and is working with staff and our Board as we face the challenges ahead. We are accomplishing this by developing innovative partnerships such as the Healthy Lake Huron Program. In order to further engage with the community, the Conservation Authority has been reporting back on the health of our watersheds through our Watershed Report Cards. Mr. Arnold has been a champion of our scholarship program that supports future conservationists.