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Quinte Conservation warns ice conditions not safe

water safety statementWhile ice is starting to form on local rivers, streams, lakes and the Bay of Quinte due to recent cold conditions, it is not thick enough to safe.

Quinte Conservation does not measure ice thickness for recreational activities but Terry Murphy, Quinte Conservation General Manager, says in spite of the cold spell, it is unlikely local ice conditions are safe for any recreational activity.

Warmer temperatures forecast for the end of the week, he notes will also cause ice conditions to worsen. There is no threat of flooding.

“We are urging local residents to stay off all ice-covered water bodies and to remind children about the dangers of playing on or near ice covered surfaces or fast flowing water in ditches and smaller creeks,” said Murphy. “Hypothermia is a major concern for anyone playing in areas where they could potentially fall into open water.”

Quinte Conservation warns the public that stream banks should be also avoided in the winter. Ice and snow make footing unpredictable and frigid open water conditions are dangerous. Murphy, in a water safety statement today, said areas around dams, culverts and bridges should be avoided at all times.

“Lack of ice cover and exposure of the water surface to cold temperatures or wind chills below -18 degrees C can trigger the formation of frazil ice which can accumulate quickly on bridge abutments, piers and riverbanks,” he said. Frazil ice is slush ice that is formed in turbulent, open water on rivers during extreme cold.

Quinte Conservation issued a Water Safety Statement today because of the changing ice conditions. A Water Safety Statement indicates that high flows, unsafe banks, melting ice or other factors could be dangerous for users such as anglers, boaters, swimmers, children or pets. This statement is in effect until Friday, Jan. 8.

Quinte Conservation is a community-based environmental protection agency. It serves 18 municipalities in the watersheds of the Moira, Napanee and Salmon Rivers and Prince Edward County.

More information about Quinte Conservation is available at

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