The Nottawasaga Steelheaders began in 1993 as a chapter of the Ontario Steelheaders. Our organization was founded by Chris Atkinson in 1993, to focus on various issues regarding the preservation of wild steelhead in the Nottawasaga River and take action to address problems affecting them.

Since our inception, the Nottawasaga Steelheaders have undertaken numerous corrective work projects involving hundreds of thousands of dollars and tens of thousands of man-hours of work on most of these watersheds tributaries. Our fully volunteer organization has spearheaded countless, garbage pick-ups, logjam removals, stream bank stabilizations, tree plantings, cattle-crossing control measures, spawning bed restorations, dam de-stabilizations and fish monitoring programs.

We have also been involved in community endeavours such as young anglers enrichment days, community festivals, children’s educational activities at fishing shows and educational programs for schools, scouts, guides and disabled children. By our tenth year, as captured in our mission statement, our more all-encompassing focus has matured into building and maintaining working partnerships for the protection and improvement of natural habitats and species within the Nottawasaga River watershed. Our growing membership and nationally recognized commitment have garnered the respect, which will enrich the foundation for further accomplishments.

Our projects in concert with such groups as the Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority, Midhurst Ministry of Natural Resources and Lake Huron Management Unit have restored water quality, improved wild fish species survival and restored natural conditions in the Nottawasaga River watershed.

Our continued partnerships with communities on the Nottawasaga River such as Essa, Alliston and Wasaga Beach, will ensure a viable and formidable front to meet the adversities that compromise the health and well-being of the Nottawasaga River watershed. Our leading-edge investigations into the significance of genetics of migratory wild steelhead have significantly impacted and refocused the direction of fish management. Continued studies to assess and manage wild steelhead species in the Nottawasaga River watershed will not only provide important scientific data to assist their survival but bring a more important understanding of the ecosystem in which they live. That understanding of the Nottawasaga watershed will benefit us all.

Our Accomplishments

Each year, our challenges seem to increase in sphere, magnitude and numbers. The seemingly invincible become the achieved as we pause only for a moment’s rest. Then it is on to the next challenge ahead of us. Our attainment of our goals has only been made possible by our members’ participation and your support. Success is directly related to commitment and dedication. The following accomplishments would not have been achieved without our members, sponsors and partners. As we reflect back each year, we would like to express our appreciation to all our participants for helping maintain the passion of conservation and the flame of pride that shines within our organization, allowing us to pass the torch into each successive year.

Numerous new workdays are planned in various aspects of river rehab for each year as well as in community and other events. In order to accomplish these goals, we will need your help and participation.

If each member and concerned individual could make just one workday or event, we together could make each year a success. If you can make a day or more, please call us, as we really need you and so does the Nottawasaga River.

  • New venue for our meetings courtesy of the Winchester Arms Pub and Grill on Main Street, Alliston. The NS thanks the management for their support during our meetings
  • Membership increase to 48 members with strong proponent of event and workday participation
  • In 6th year of Boyne River restoration mandate continued effort in partnership with NVCA and MNR on logjam removals, stream bank erosion control, tree plantings, spawning bed restoration, livestock control and cold water enhancement via dam removal and improved flow
  • Attendance of Spring Fishing Show 2002 with booth and participation in children’s activity center
  • First Annual Strategic Planning Meeting in association with the NVCA, LHMU and MNR
  • Ireland property stream bank stabilization continues. Within 2 years, previous efforts have dramatically improved the bank with re-established vegetation and fish cover
  • Annual spring garbage clean-up on Essa Line #5 and at Centennial Park gathers 2 truckloads of garbage
  • Annual banquet in June a real success with 2001 Angler of the Year going to Special Projects Director Chris Weland for his efforts on the our successful tabloid and ground-breaking genetics studies. Annual 2001 derby co-winners for catch and release, Ed McKelvie and Tim Wilson
  • The Young Anglers Weekend event in June returned this year with the NS providing rainbow trout fishing opportunities for young anglers. Rain and inclement weather did not dampen the enthusiasm of 70 youngsters
  • Logjam removal on the major obstruction west of Simcoe Road 10, Alliston, began with a large swath removed down the middle to allow access of migrating steelhead and reduce further erosion. Remainder to be removed in 2003.
  • At the Boyne headwaters Brienza property dam decommissioning and river restoration project on County Road 124 was in full swing with the second year showing greatly improved water quality, cold temperatures, flow and re-establishment of supportive vegetation
  • Below the Brienza property, efforts are underway to decommission another dam on the Capello lands with proactive landowner, NVCA and NS support
  • Annual NS Fall Derby was big success with over 26 members attending enjoying some superb angling and great BBQ at days end.
  • Our annual fall garbage pick-up at the end of October brought out 26 members and friends with over 40 bags of garbage being picked up from the pickerel hole all the way to the sand bank. Some 300 notice flyers went out to Knox Road and Oxbow residents. We received several notes of praise from The Wasaga Parks Commission and area residents.
  • Solid membership growth to 60 members solidified by healthy and vibrant representation, attendance and participation at key events, meetings and activities in 2003
    Strong contact network of call captains, e-mail and phone communications key to meeting challenges of habitat restoration of the Nottawasaga River watershed
  • 2003 represented the 7th year of the Boyne River rehabilitation mandate in partnership with the Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority and Ministry of Natural Resources-Midhurst
    Projects over 7 years, include countless logjam removals, stream bank stabilizations, tree plantings, dam removals and augmentations, livestock control measures and garbage pick-ups. Clean cold water vital to the health of the Boyne’s ecosystem
  • First Full Year of newly-elected NS Directorship:
    The NS salutes founder and past director Chris Atkinson for his dedication and hard work in establishing the Nottawasaga Steelheaders over the past 10 years. Thank you, Chris!

Nottawasaga Steelheaders’ Board-of-Directors 2003 Gary Christie (Director)

    • Annual Spring Fishing Show 2003 booth and co-participation in children’s activity centre
    • Nottawasaga Forum for Healthy Waters hosted by Fred Dobbs, Biologist Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority and attended by NS with focus on nutrient management and funding access
    • Growing financial support continued via initiatives from Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority and other partners for the following new and ongoing NS projects on the Boyne River which they worked on in 2003 $45,000.00 for the headwaters Brienza property dam decommissioning & revitalization $5,000.00 for the headwaters Capello property dam decommissioning & revitalization $8,000.00 for critical bank stabilization at the 3rd line Tosorontio $5,000.00 grant from The Shell Environmental Fund to purchase chain saws and related equipment to battle on-going logjam situations.
    • Annual Spring Garbage Pick-Up drew 20 NS members’ friends and family who were able to gather over 25 bags of garbage from the Nottawasaga River lands at the 5th Line Essa and at Centennial Park.
    • At our Annual June Awards Banquet the 2002 Angler of the Year Award went to James Cunningham for his participation, attendance and extra efforts during and above all the 2002 workdays. Great job, James! The largest steelhead, caught and released in 2002, was also by expert angler James Cunningham at 35 inches.
    • Brienza Property (headwaters) near County Road 124 reconstruction and cold water improvement continued through 2003 with additional stream reformation and further dam decommissioning. Trees provided by Summerville Nurseries
    • Capello Property (headwaters below Brienza) dam decommissioning and cold stream flow establishment is in full swing with engineering and surveying complete. Improved flow and re-establishment of supporting ecology
    • Stream Channel Reformation, on Loewen Property, Hwy 50 continues with major river re-engineering back to natural ecologically-balanced flow. An excellent model of proactive landowner participation and partnership with NVCA, MNR and NS.
    • Shell Environmental Grant of $5000.00 was awarded to the NS to provide the necessary equipment to battle continuous development of logjams: Thornhill Lawn Equipment, (Thornhill) supplied heavy-duty STIHL chain saws and gear. On-site training was provided by STIHL.
    • Membership growth expectations to 70 members
    • Continued efforts on Boyne River restoration mandate-8th year
    • Annual Spring Fishing Show 2004 participation in February
    • Continued strong financial support for restoration and improvement projects from NVCA and MNR
    • Finalization of existing dam de-commissioning and restorations and initial removal of at least one new site at Boyne headwaters
    • Spring and fall annual garbage pick-ups in May and November
    • Bank stabilization below 4th Line Tosorontio
    • Essa Salmon Festival participation in September
    • Finalization of planning for 5 year wild steelhead study on the Nottawasaga River watershed
    • Annual NS Banquet and Awards evening in June
    • Annual NS Fall Derby in October
    • Nottawasaga Steelheaders Web Site completion
    • Updated status on regulation change considerations for middle Nottawasaga River
  • In 6th year of Boyne River restoration mandate continued effort in partnership with NVCA and MNR on logjam removals, stream bank erosion control, tree plantings, spawning bed restoration, livestock control and cold water enhancement via dam removal and improved flow.
  • Thursday, April 24th the Nottawasaga Steelheaders received and appreciation award. We were honored with a plaque in recognition of our contribution to the environment. Gary Christie accepted the award from Sarah Campbell of the NVCA. The award was presented by the New Tecumseth Streams Committee, Nottawasaga Futures and the Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority. Sylvia Pedrazzi (New Tecumseth Streams Co-Ordinator) spoke about our valued contributions and efforts. The plaque states the following
  • “Working Together for Health Streams”2005 – 2007
  • The New Tecumseth Stream Restoration Program
  • New Tecumseth Stream Appreciation Night – Banting Memorial High School – 6:30PM – 9:30PM
  • Tree Planting in concert with New Tecumseth Streams – Beeton – 9AM – 12PM.
  • Nottawasaga Steelheaders Annual Award Banquet -Boyd Mayo – Largest Fish of 2008 at 33 inches (Caught & released)Chris Atkinson – Nottawasaga Steelheader of the Year – For spearheading and driving the new protective rainbow trout regulations for the Nottawasaga River.
  • Team of Tom Turtscher, Walter Duncan and James Cunningham – Fall Chili Classic Team Derby – largest aggregate score
  • Boyd Mayo – Largest fish at 31″ at the fall  NS derby- Ian Chate Memorial Award
  • Mervart Property Stream Rehabilitation –
  • Hayami Property Stream Rehabilitation 
  • Alliston Potato Festival – Main (Victoria) Street, Alliston – 8AM –
  • Saturday, September 20th and Sunday September 21st – Essa Salmon Festival – Angus (Old NVCA Property)