HistoryThe natural beauty of the Trent River valley has, for centuries, encouraged people to settle in close proximity to it. A major transportation route for Native Indians, the river provided abundant fish and game, and fertile soil for agriculture. Early settlers were also drawn to the river, and following the American Revolution, many Loyalists ventured westward to settle along the Trent River.
The realization that natural resources were not inexhaustible unless managed and protected began to take hold in the late 1950's and early 1960's. Led by the Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 110 of Trenton, a conservation committee began the job of establishing a Conservation Authority to deal with concerns with industrial and sewage waste, weed control and garbage dumping along the Trent River.
It took almost 10 years of hard work and dedication by a local group of conservation-minded individuals to make progress. Finally, on April 30, 1968 with over one hundred people in attendance, and after a lively discussion, the majority of the municipalities voted in favour of the establishment of the Lower Trent Region Conservation Authority. The Order-in-Council from the Province of Ontario for the formation of the Conservation Authority was received on May 16, 1968.
Through the early years, many properties were acquired to fulfill conservation objectives such as flood and erosion control, natural resource protection or cultural heritage preservation. Today, Lower Trent Conservation has secured a system of public conservation lands totally 1,500 hectares. These properties serve as living examples of the natural ecosystems the Conservation Authority strives to protect.
Following the flood of March 1980, the next 10 years were focused on constructing various flood protection projects, including a dam, diversion channels, and berms, to help protect lives and property from future flood damages.
Tree planting and streambank erosion control programs were also initiated in the early years to assist private landowners with environmental problems on their properties. By 1991, one million trees had been planted in the region through the assistance program. With growing public awareness of environmental issues through the 1990's, the conservation program moved beyond dealing with immediate problems towards preventative planning and action. Environmental education, flood protection, watershed monitoring and environmental land use planning have become key components of the Lower Trent Conservation services.
Many changes have occurred to Lower Trent Conservation's programs and services since 1968 as the needs of local communities have changed. But there is one thing that remains unchanged. Our natural environment must be protected now - our children's future depends on it.