JOCK RIVER. Subwatershed Report. A report on the environmental condition of the Jock River

JOCK RIVER Subwatershed Report 2010 A report on the environmental condition of the Jock River Welcome to the Jock River Subwatershed A watershed is...
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JOCK RIVER Subwatershed Report

2010 A report on the environmental condition of the Jock River

Welcome to the Jock River Subwatershed A watershed is an area of land that drains to a river, lake or stream. In the Rideau Watershed there are six major subwatersheds: Jock River, Kemptville Creek, Lower Rideau, Middle Rideau, Rideau Lakes and Tay River. This report looks at one — the Jock River. The Jock River flows from wetland headwaters in Beckwith and Montague Townships near Franktown, through the rich agricultural lands in the former municipalities of Goulbourn and Nepean, and finally through Barrhaven in Ottawa’s South Urban Community to the Rideau River just north of Manotick.

Ottawa River East

Rideau Watershed ! (

Arnprior

Ottawa River West Manotick

Jock River

! ( ( Richmond !

Lower Rideau ! ( Kemptville

! (

Burritts Rapids ! (

Tay River

! Middle ( Merrickville Rideau

Perth

Kemptville Creek

Rideau Lakes

USA

( !

Westport

0 ( Brockville !

10

20

Kilometres

UV ! Kanata (

Barrhaven

( !

Stittsville ( !

Jock River

M

Subwatershed ( ! Richmond

Appleton

Drainage Area: • 555 square kilometres Length of River:

( !

Munster

( !

Ashton

CITY OF OTTAWA

( !

K

Carleton Place

North Gower

( !

( !

• 75 kilometres

( !

Dwyer Hill Blacks Corners

Tributaries: • Flowing Creek • Hobbs Drain • Jenkinson Drain • Kings Creek • Leamy Creek • Monahan Drain • Nichols Creek

( ! ! Prospect (

BECKWITH

Land Cover Crop and Pasture Settlement Grassland

Franktown

Water

( !

Sand and Gravel Evaluated Wetland Unevaluated Wetland

Gilles Corners

Woodland

( !

MONTAGUE

0

1

2

4

Kilometres

What We Monitor and Why? The Rideau Valley Conservation Authority helps manage natural resources by providing sound land management advice and services to the community and our municipal partners. Watershed monitoring helps us better understand environmental conditions, helps focus management actions where they are needed the most, and helps us track environmental changes over time. This report looks at four indicators — forest cover, wetlands, riparian cover and water quality. More detailed catchment data sheets for each of the 12 catchment areas are available on the RVCA website at www.rvca.ca. They will provide a snapshot of conditions as of 2010 and will be reviewed again in 2016. At that time, any changes and trends in indicator conditions will be presented. Note: Groundwater quality has not been addressed in this report due to the lack of sufficient data. Photos courtesy of Simon Lunn and RVCA Staff

Forest Cover The Benefits of Forest Cover Forests are important parts of a healthy watershed because of their role in the hydrological cycle. Runoff from forested land is significantly less in volume and peak flow than runoff from a similar area that has been cleared or urbanized. Forests provide habitat for many plants and animals. They also clean the air and reduce erosion along riparian areas. Experts believe a minimum forest cover of 30 percent1 is needed to sustain the natural diversity of plants and animals in a watershed. Three Jock River catchments — Barrhaven, Leamy Creek and Monahan Drain - are prime candidates for more tree planting.

Existing Forest Cover in the Jock River Subwatershed Forest cover (and other land cover in this report) in each of the twelve Jock River catchments has been calculated using the SOLRIS2 Phase One map product and 2008 DRAPE Imagery. Much of Eastern Ontario shows an increase in forest cover as “marginal” lands are abandoned and either left to regenerate naturally or often planted in trees. This has been the general trend in the middle to upper parts of the Jock River Subwatershed, whereas in the lowermost sections of the Jock River, urbanization has occurred on land previously cleared for agriculture. Forest cover ranges from a high of 44 percent in the Kings Creek drainage area to a low of six percent in the Leamy Creek drainage area. Forest cover averages 27 percent across the Jock River Subwatershed and is made up of patches of forest of various sizes that are linked to wetlands and watercourses. 1 2

Env. Can. 2004. How Much Habitat is Enough? A Framework for Guiding Habitat Rehabilitation in the Great Lakes Area of Concern. MNR, 2007. Southern Ontario Land Resource Information System.

Indicator Forest Cover

Jock River Jock River Flowing Jock River Ashton Barrhaven Creek Franktown Dwyer Hill 26.8%

9.2%

26.1%

27.7%

Hobbs Drain

Jenkinson Drain

Kings Creek

31.9%

27.3%

44.6%

Jock River Monahan Leamy Drain Creek 6.5%

Jock River Nichols Jock River Richmond Creek Richmond Fen

7.7%

42.2%

14.3%

22.3%

Note: • Forest cover may appear to be underestimated in some catchments because forested wetlands (treed swamps) are tallied as wetlands in this report. • Forest interior is reported in the Jock River catchment data sheets available on the RVCA website at www.rvca.ca.

( Kanata !

Barrhaven ( !

Stittsville ! (

Jock River: Barrhaven

Monahan Drain

Manotick

( !

Jock River: Leamy Creek

Flowing Creek

( Richmond !

Appleton

Jock River: Richmond

Jenkinson Drain

! (

Munster

( !

Ashton

Hobbs Drain

( !

Jock River: Richmond Fen

Jock River: Ashton-Dwyer Hill

Carleton Place ( !

CITY OF OTTAWA Kars ! (

North Gower ( !

( !

Dwyer Hill Blacks Corners ( ! ( Prospect!

BECKWITH

Kings Creek Jock River: Franktown

Nichols Creek

Forest Cover (%)

0 - 20.0 20.1 - 30.0

Franktown ( !

30.1 - 40.0 40.1 - 50.0 50.1 - 60.0

Gilles Corners

60.1 - 100.0

! (

MONTAGUE

0

1

2

Kilometres

4

Wetlands The Benefits of Wetland Cover Wetlands are nature’s flood control and water supply reservoirs – places for the temporary storage of runoff from rain and snowmelt. Thanks to wetlands, peak flows during floods are lower and low flows are sustained during dry weather. Groundwater supplies are replenished. Wetlands provide habitat for many common and rare plants and animals as well as fishing, hunting and recreational opportunities. Wetlands are becoming increasingly valued for the ecological goods and services they provide such as water supply, water regulation, water cleansing and climate regulation. These services have been valued at $247 per person per year in a recent Ontario study.3 In other words, wetlands do for free what we would otherwise have to pay millions of dollars to do through technology and infrastructure. So it is important to conserve the remaining wetland features found throughout the subwatershed. Experts advise that greater than six percent of a subwatershed should be in wetland cover.4

Existing Wetlands in the Jock River Subwatershed Wetlands make up a significant part of the overall area of the Jock River as a result of the generally flat topography, the geological setting, the climate, and resulting high water tables. Loss of wetlands since pre-settlement times varies widely across the subwatershed: from a 35 percent loss in the upper reaches, to a 55 percent loss in the middle reaches and over an 85 percent loss in the lower reaches5 (rivaling the rate of loss in some parts of southern Ontario). Much of this historic loss of wetland, while reducing biodiversity, produced gains in farming productivity. Today, wetland cover averages 20 percent and ranges from a high of 47 percent in the Richmond Fen drainage area to a low of less than 1.0 percent in the Barrhaven, Monahan Drain and Leamy Creek drainage areas. Many of these wetlands are medium to large in size and are well connected to forests and watercourses. 3 4 5

Credit Valley Conservation and The Pembina Institute. November 2009. Natural Credit: Estimating the Value of Natural Capital in the Credit Valley Watershed. Env. Can. 2004. How Much Habitat is Enough? A Framework for Guiding Habitat Rehabilitation in the Great Lakes Area of Concern. Ducks Unlimited Canada. March 2010. Final Report: Southern Ontario Wetland Conversion Analysis.

Jock River Jock River Flowing Jock River Ashton Barrhaven Creek Franktown Dwyer Hill

Indicator Wetland Cover

16.2%

0.5%

7.2%

44.4%

Hobbs Drain

Jenkinson Drain

Kings Creek

18.8%

11.7%

20.4%

Jock River Monahan Leamy Drain Creek 0.2%

0.5%

Jock River Nichols Jock River Richmond Creek Richmond Fen 38.4%

47.2%

13.9%

( Kanata !

Barrhaven

( !

Stittsville ( !

Jock River: Barrhaven

Monahan Drain

Manotick

! (

Jock River: Leamy Creek

Flowing Creek

( Richmond !

Appleton

Jock River: Richmond

Jenkinson Drain

( !

Munster

! (

Ashton

Hobbs Drain

! (

Jock River: Richmond Fen

Jock River: Ashton-Dwyer Hill

Carleton Place ! (

CITY OF OTTAWA Kars ! (

North Gower ( !

! (

Dwyer Hill Blacks Corners ( ! ( Prospect!

BECKWITH

Kings Creek Jock River: Franktown

Nichols Creek

Wetland Cover (%) 0.2 - 10.0 10.1 - 15.0

Franktown ! (

15.1 - 20.0 20.1 - 25.0 25.1 - 30.0

Gilles Corners

30.1 - 100.0

! (

MONTAGUE

0

1

2

Kilometres

4

Riparian Cover The Benefits of Riparian Cover The riparian or shoreline zone is that special area where the land meets the water. Well-vegetated shorelines are critically important in protecting water quality and creating healthy aquatic habitats. Natural shorelines intercept sediments and contaminants that could reduce water quality and harm fish habitat in streams. Well-established stream buffers protect the banks against erosion, improve habitat for fish by shading and cooling the water and provide protection for birds and other wildlife that feed and rear young near water. A commonly-used objective is to maintain a vegetated buffer of at least 30 metres on either side of a watercourse. A recommended target in the Great Lakes region is a 30-metre wide riparian buffer on at least 75 percent of the watercourse’s length.6 Jock River catchments with less than 75 percent riparian cover become candidates for shoreline planting and naturalization programs.

Existing Riparian Cover in the Jock River Subwatershed Riparian cover estimates (expressed as percentages of the gross area of 30-metre wide riparian zones that have natural vegetative cover) have been derived for each of the 12 catchments of the Jock River by interpretation of 2008 aerial photography. Natural riparian cover ranges from a high of 94 percent in the Nichols Creek drainage area to a low of 10 percent in the Monahan Drain drainage area. Overall, riparian cover averages 57 percent across the Jock River catchments and is comprised of grassland (eight percent), forest cover (17 percent) and wetland (32 percent). The other 43 percent of riparian cover is made up of crop and pastureland (29 percent), settlements (eight percent), roads (five percent), and sand and gravel (one percent). 6

Env. Can. 2004. How Much Habitat is Enough? A Framework for Guiding Habitat Rehabilitation in the Great Lakes Area of Concern.

Indicator

Jock River Jock River Flowing Jock River Ashton Barrhaven Creek Franktown Dwyer Hill

Riparian Cover

65.0%

25.6%

45.1%

87.8%

Hobbs Drain

Jenkinson Drain

Kings Creek

65.0%

44.0%

80.0%

Jock River Monahan Leamy Drain Creek 25.0%

10.3%

Jock River Nichols Jock River Richmond Creek Richmond Fen 94.0%

77.9%

53.7%

( Kanata !

Barrhaven

! (

Stittsville ! (

Jock River: Barrhaven

Monahan Drain

Manotick

( !

Jock River: Leamy Creek

Flowing Creek

! Richmond (

Appleton

Jock River: Richmond

Jenkinson Drain

( !

Munster

( !

Ashton

Hobbs Drain

( !

Jock River: Richmond Fen

Jock River: Ashton-Dwyer Hill

Carleton Place ( !

CITY OF OTTAWA Kars ! (

North Gower ( !

( !

Dwyer Hill Blacks Corners ( ! ( Prospect!

BECKWITH

Kings Creek Jock River: Franktown

Nichols Creek

Riparian Cover (%) 0 - 30.0 30.1 - 40.0

Franktown ! (

40.1 - 50.0 50.1 - 60.0 60.1 - 70.0 70.1 - 100.0

Gilles Corners

! (

MONTAGUE

0

1

2

Kilometres

4

Water Quality Description of Water Quality Indicators Three water quality characteristics are reported here: • Total Phosphorus (TP) as an indicator of excessive nutrient loading • E.coli (Escherichia coli) as an indicator of the presence of disease-causing organisms originating from human or animal wastes • Benthic invertebrates (using the Family Biotic Index [FBI]) as an indicator of water quality and how it affects the aquatic insect community

Grading Water Quality in the Jock Subwatershed

Surface WaterQuality Indicator

Surface water quality varies across the Jock River Subwatershed ranging from poor to good. These results are compiled from 12 sampling stations in the subwatershed. Water quality grades are based on TP, E.coli and FBI observations for the six year period, from 2004 to 2009. A grading system developed for use by Ontario Conservation Authorities across all of southern Ontario has been applied, where sufficient data are available. Data for many other water quality parameters are available for these monitoring stations. For more information, contact the RVCA’s surface water quality staff. Catchment

Jock River Ashton Dwyer Hill

Jock River Barrhaven3

Flowing Creek

Hobbs Drain

Kings Creek

Jock River Leamy Creek

Monahan Drain

Nichols Creek

Jock River Richmond

TP (mg/L)1

.033 (103)

.045 (107)

.051 (68)

-----

-----

.056 (172)

.085 (57)

-----

.027 (88)

E.coli (Cfu/100 ml)2

80 (60)

38 (62)

227 (34)

-----

-----

41 (65)

253 (58)

-----

61 (51)

Benthic (FBI)

-----

5.3 (33)

6.1 (33)

5.2 (30)

6.3 (27)

-----

-----

5.5 (30)

6.0 (33)

Water Quality Rating

FAIR

FAIR

FAIR

GOOD

POOR

FAIR

POOR

FAIR

FAIR

1

TP results are reported at the 75th percentile, the Provincal Water Quality Objective for TP is 0.03 mg/L. 2 E.coli results are reported as the geometric mean, the Provincal Water Quality Objective for E.coli is 100 Cfu/100 ml. 3 Reporting on sampling location at Prince of Wales Drive; Numbers in brackets ( ) indicate total number of samples collected over a six-year period. TP and E.coli data is provided by the City of Ottawa. Note: • For sampling locations, refer to the Jock River catchment data sheets available at www.rvca.ca. • The map (below) shows water quality ratings that are derived from a point sample within a catchment and may or may not characterize water quality conditions throughout that catchment area. Water quality conditions can change within a catchment as a result of natural and human influences. ( Kanata !

Barrhaven

! (

Stittsville ! (

Monahan Drain

! (

Jock River: ! (

Barrhaven ! (

Manotick

( !

Jock River: Leamy Creek

Flowing Creek

! (

! ( ! Richmond (

Appleton

Jock River: Richmond

Jenkinson Drain

( !

( !

Ashton ( !

! (

Drain

! (

Jock River: Ashton-Dwyer Hill

Carleton Place

! (

! ( Hobbs

Munster

Jock River: Richmond Fen

CITY OF OTTAWA Kars ( !

North Gower ! (

( !

Dwyer Hill

! (

Blacks Corners ( !

Surface Water Quality Sites

( Prospect!

BECKWITH

Jock River: Franktown

! ( ! ( ! (

! (

Kings Creek Nichols Creek

Benthic TP, E.coli TP, E.coli, Benthic

Water Quality Rating Very Poor

Franktown ! (

Poor Fair Good Very Good

Gilles Corners

( !

MONTAGUE

0

1

2

Kilometres

4

Working Together — We are all part of the solution! Enhancing Forest Cover Over one million tree seedlings (511 hectares of land) have been planted at 146 properties in the Jock River Subwatershed (at a cost of $1,271,000) over the past 20 years. The RVCA’s Private Land Forestry Program and the City of Ottawa’s Green Acres Program have assisted landowners with the planting of 226,000 trees from 2000 to 2009. Tree planting efforts should continue, especially in areas with low forest cover. The Jock River-Barrhaven, Leamy Creek and Monahan Drain catchments show less than 25 percent existing forest cover (suggested minimum) and are prime candidates for new tree planting efforts.

Protecting Wetland Cover In accordance with Provincial policies, the Ministry of Natural Resources, RVCA, and its member municipalities are working to protect existing wetlands for their important hydrological and ecological services. In doing so, efforts are made to recognize and acknowledge the need for adequately-drained agricultural lands and settlement areas. Some landowners are maintaining and enhancing the amount of wetland in the Jock River Subwatershed by allowing poorly drained marginal lands that were previously farmed to revert to wetland cover and leaving existing wetlands untouched.

Enhancing and Protecting Riparian Cover Landowners have improved riparian areas through 15 clean water projects (one water diversion and one precision farming, two septic repairs/replacements, three well upgrades, and three livestock fencings and five buffer/windbreak tree plantings). Trees and shrubs have been planted at 50 properties along 9.6 kilometres of riparian buffer (within 30 metres of creeks, rivers and wetlands). Of special note are ongoing efforts by The Friends of the Jock to improve riparian cover with the planting of over 12,000 trees along subwatershed streams since 1997. Riparian cover is the number one target for RVCA stewardship projects in the subwatershed with eight of the 12 catchments showing less than 75 percent cover (suggested minimum). Only the Jock River-Franktown, Kings Creek, Nichols Creek and Jock River-Richmond Fen catchments have sufficient existing riparian cover to protect these watercourses.

Protecting Water Quality Landowners have been quietly improving the Jock River environment for years. From 1992 to 2009, the RVCA’s Rural Clean Water Program (and its predecessor, the Clean Up Rural Beaches Program) funded 100 clean water projects worth $880,000; these improvements will have lasting benefits in the years ahead. The RVCA also protects surface water quality by influencing infrastructure and development projects through its Planning and Regulations Advisory and Septic System Inspection Programs. Let’s keep up the good work and make the Jock River one of the healthiest parts of the entire Rideau Valley.

For more information: Looking for ways to do your part? The RVCA can offer suggestions on how to make your property more environmentally friendly and less susceptible to natural hazards (flooding and erosion) and guide you to available funding opportunities. The following stewardship programs may be of interest to Jock River landowners and municipalities: • • • • • •

For shoreline naturalization, contact the RVCA Shoreline Buffer Incentive Manager at ext 1173 For tree planting, contact the RVCA Forestry Manager at ext 1124 For rural clean water projects, contact the RVCA Rural Clean Water Manager at ext 1134 For environmental farm projects, contact Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association at 1-800-265-9751 For wetland care projects, contact Ducks Unlimited Canada at 1-866-389-0418 For fish and wildlife projects, contact MNR Kemptville at 613-258-8426

If you are planning projects on your property, be sure to check with us and we’ll let you know if permits are required. Checking first can save you from making costly mistakes. If you are looking to buy property, we can let you know if the property is likely to be affected by Authority policies and regulations. We can provide the facts to help you make educated decisions. We also have a number of community action (City Stream Watch) and education programs (Baxter and Foley Mountain Conservation Areas) available. Contact the Landowner Resource Centre at the RVCA to learn more at:

Rideau Valley Conservation Authority Box 599 3889 Rideau Valley Drive Manotick, ON K4M 1A5 phone: 613.692.3571 or 1.800.267.3504 fax: 613.692.0831 www.rvca.ca

April 2011

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