Jenkinson Drain

Jenkinson Drain

Jock River Subwatershed Report 2016

JENKINSON DRAIN CATCHMENT

The RVCA produces individual reports for 12 catchments in the Jock River subwatershed. Using data collected and analyzed by the RVCA through its watershed monitoring and land cover classification programs, surface water quality and in-stream conditions are reported for the Jock River along with a summary of environmental conditions for the surrounding countryside every six years.

This information is used to better understand the effects of human activity on our water resources, allows us to better track environmental change over time and helps focus watershed management actions where they are needed the most to help sustain the ecosystem services (cultural, aesthetic and recreational values; provisioning of food, fuel and clean water; regulation of erosion/natural hazard protection and water purification; supporting nutrient/water cycling and habitat provision) provided by the catchment’s lands and forests and waters (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment 2005).

The following sections of this report for the Jenkinson Drain catchment are a compilation of that work.

Catchment Facts Section 1.0
Riparian Conditions Section 2.0
Land Cover Section 3.0
Land Stewardship and Water Resources Protection Section 4.0
Challenges/Issues Section 5.0
Actions/Opportunities Section 6.0

For other Jock River catchments and the Jock River Subwatershed Report, please visit the RVCA website at www.rvca.ca

Figure 1 Land cover in the Jenkinson Drain catchment

 
Figure 1 Land cover in the Jenkinson Drain catchment

1.0 Jenkinson Drain Catchment: Facts

1.1 General/Physical Geography

Municipalities

  • Ottawa: (23 km2; 100% of catchment)

Geology/Physiography

  • The Jenkinson Drain Catchment resides with an extensive physiographic region known as the Smith Falls Limestone Plain. In this catchment, the limestone plain is overlain by glacial till in the southern parts and across the northern parts, significant areas of organic soils and some localized areas of beach sands and gravels
  • In this catchment, bedrock mostly consists of interbedded limestone and dolostone from the Gull River Formation, some dolostone from the Oxford Formation in the southern parts, and some limestone from the Bobcaygeon Formation in the northern parts. In addition, geologic faults may pass through the catchment

Topography

  • The ground surface ranges in elevation from approximately 162 masl north of Hwy 7 to approximately 114 masl at the catchment’s outlet

Drainage Area

  • 23 square kilometers; occupies four percent of the Jock River subwatershed, one-half percent of the Rideau Valley watershed

Stream Length

  • Jenkinson Drain and tributaries: 58 km

1.2 Vulnerable Areas

Aquifer Vulnerability

  • The Mississippi-Rideau Source Protection initiative has mapped scattered parts of this catchment as a significant groundwater recharge areas and all the catchment as Highly Vulnerable Aquifer. Parts of Wellhead Protection Areas (WHPA) B, C and D for the municipal wells in Munster Hamlet underlie most of this catchment

Wetland Hydrology

  • A watershed model developed by the RVCA in 2009 was used to study the hydrologic function of wetlands in the Rideau Valley Watershed, including those found in the Jenkinson Drain catchment
 

1.3 Conditions at a Glance

Water Quality

  • Surface chemistry water quality rating for the Jenkinson Drain is unknown
  • Instream biological water quality conditions in the Jenkinson Drain are unknown

Instream and Riparian

  • Overall instream and riparian condition for the Jenkinson Drain is unknown

Thermal Regime

  • Warm/cool water thermal guild supporting the Jock River fishery

Fish Community

  • Five species of bait fish

Shoreline Cover Type (30 m. riparian area; 2014)

  • Crop and Pasture (32%)
  • Wetland (20%)
  • Woodland (20%)
  • Settlement (19%)
  • Transportation (7%)
  • Aggregate (1)
  • Meadow-Thicket (<1%)

Land Cover Type (2014)

  • Crop and Pasture (37%)
  • Woodland (25%)
  • Wetland (14%)
  • Settlement (14%)
  • Meadow-Thicket (4%)
  • Transportation (3%)
  • Aggregate (2%)
  • Water (<1%)

Land Cover Change (2008 to 2014)

  • Crop and Pasture (-23 ha)
  • Woodland (-23 ha)
  • Meadow-Thicket (-11 ha)
  • Wetland (-3 ha)
  • Aggregate (-1 ha)
  • Water (+3 ha)
  • Transportation (+9 ha)
  • Settlement (+51 ha)

Significant Natural Features

  • Huntley Provincially Significant Wetland

Water Wells

  • Few hundred (~250) operational private water wells. Groundwater uses are mainly domestic, but also include livestock watering and crop irrigation, groundwater monitoring and testing and commercial uses

Aggregates

  • Part of one bedrock quarry license located within the catchment

Species at Risk (Elemental Occurrence)

  • Spotted Turtle (Endangered)
  • Eastern Meadowlark (Threatened)

1.4 Catchment Care

Stewardship

  • Twelve stewardship projects undertaken (see Section 4)

Environmental Monitoring

  • Nine headwater drainage feature assessments in 2015 at road crossings in the catchment. The protocol measures zero, first and second order headwater drainage features and is a rapid assessment method characterizing the amount of water, sediment transport, and storage capacity within headwater drainage features (see Section 2.2)
  • Groundwater level and chemistry data is available from PGMN wells located along Fernbank Road (W175). Additional groundwater chemistry information is available from the Ontario Geological Survey for a well located in this catchment

Environmental Management

  • Development along the Jenkinson Drain and in and adjacent to the Huntley Provincially Significant Wetland in the catchment is subject to Ontario Regulation 174-06 (entitled “Development, Interference with Wetlands and Alterations to Shorelines and Watercourses”) that protects the hydrologic function of the wetland and also protects landowners and their property from natural hazards (flooding, fluctuating water table, unstable soils) associated with them
  • Twelve active Permits To Take Water (PTTW) in the catchment issued for golf course irrigation, water supply and other commercial water supply
  • One Environmental Compliance Approval in this catchment for air emissions

2. Surface Water Quality Conditions

 

Barbers Creek Water Quality

Water Quality Rating

 

Nutrients

Summary

E. Coli

Summary

Metals

Summary

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2.0 Jenkinson Drain Catchment: Riparian Conditions

2.1 Jenkinson Drain Instream Aquatic Habitat

2.1.1 Groundwater

Groundwater discharge areas can influence stream temperature, contribute nutrients, and provide important stream habitat for fish and other biota. During headwater surveys, indicators of groundwater discharge are noted when observed. Indicators include: springs/seeps, watercress, iron staining, significant temperature change and rainbow mineral film. Figure 2 shows areas where one or more of the above groundwater indicators were observed during headwater assessments. 

Figure XX Groundwater indicators observed in the Jenkinson Drain catchment
Figure 2 Groundwater indicators observed in the Jenkinson Drain catchment
 

2.1.2 Fish Community

The Jenkinson Drain catchment is classified as a mixed community of warm and cool water baitfish fishery with 5 species observed.  Figure 3 shows the sampling locations in the Jenkinson Drain catchment.

Figure XX Jenkinson Drain catchment fish community
Figure 3 Jenkinson Drain catchment fish community

The following table contains a list of species observed in the watershed.

Table 1 Fish species observed in Jenkinson Drain catchment
Fish SpeciesFish code
brook sticklebackBrSti
central mudminnowCeMud
common shinerCoShi
golden shinerGoShi
northern redbelly daceNRDac
 

2.2 Jenkinson Drain Headwater Drainage Features Assessment

2.2.1 Headwater Sampling Locations

The RVCA Stream Characterization program assessed Headwater Drainage Features for the Jock River subwatershed in 2015. This protocol measures zero, first and second order headwater drainage features (HDF).  It is a rapid assessment method characterizing the amount of water, sediment transport, and storage capacity within headwater drainage features (HDF). RVCA is working with other Conservation Authorities and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry to implement the protocol with the goal of providing standard datasets to support science development and monitoring of headwater drainage features.  An HDF is a depression in the land that conveys surface flow. Additionally, this module provides a means of characterizing the connectivity, form and unique features associated with each HDF (OSAP Protocol, 2013). In 2015 the program sampled 9 sites at road crossings in the Jenkinson Drain catchment area (Figure 4).  

Figure XX Locations of the headwater sampling sites in the Jenkinson Drain catchment
Figure 4 Locations of the headwater sampling sites in the Jenkinson Drain catchment
 

2.2.2 Headwater Feature Type

The headwater sampling protocol assesses the feature type in order to understand the function of each feature.  The evaluation includes the following classifications: defined natural channel, channelized or constrained, multi-thread, no defined feature, tiled, wetland, swale, roadside ditch and pond outlet.  By assessing the values associated with the headwater drainage features in the catchment area we can understand the ecosystem services that they provide to the watershed in the form of hydrology, sediment transport, and aquatic and terrestrial functions.  Four features were classified as having been channelized, one was classified as a road side ditch, two were dominated by wetland, one swale and one feature was identified as natural.  Figure 5 shows the feature type of the primary feature at the sampling locations.

Figure XX Headwater feature types in the Jenkinson Drain catchment
Figure 5 Headwater feature types in the Jenkinson Drain catchment
 

2.2.3 Headwater Feature Flow

The observed flow condition within headwater drainage features can be highly variable depending on timing relative to the spring freshet, recent rainfall, soil moisture, etc.  Flow conditions are assessed in the spring and in the summer to determine if features are perennial and flow year round, if they are intermittent and dry up during the summer months or if they are ephemeral systems that do not flow regularly and generally respond to specific rainstorm events or snowmelt.  Flow conditions in headwater systems can change from year to year depending on local precipitation patterns.  Figure 6 shows the observed flow conditions at the sampling locations in the Jenkinson Drain catchment in 2015.

Figure XX Headwater feature flow conditions in the Jenkinson Drain catchment
Figure 6 Headwater feature flow conditions in the Jenkinson Drain catchment
A spring photo of the headwater sample site in the Jenkinson Drain catchment located on Flewellyn Road
A spring photo of the headwater sample site in the Jenkinson Drain catchment located on Flewellyn Road
A summer photo of the headwater sample site in the Jenkinson Drain catchment located on Flewellyn Road
A summer photo of the headwater sample site in the Jenkinson Drain catchment located on Flewellyn Road
 

2.3.4 Headwater Feature Channel Modifications

Channel modifications were assessed at each headwater drainage feature sampling location.  Modifications include dredging, channel hardening and mixed modifications.  The Jenkinson Drain catchment area had one site classified as having no channel modifications, one features were classified as being hardened, five features had been dredged and two had mixed modifications. Figure 7 shows the channel modifications observed at the sampling locations for Jenkinson Drain.

Figure XX Headwater feature channel modifications in the Jenkinson Drain catchment
Figure 7 Headwater feature channel modifications in the Jenkinson Drain catchment
 

2.3.5 Headwater Feature Vegetation

Headwater feature vegetation evaluates the type of vegetation that is found within the drainage feature.  The type of vegetated within the channel influences the aquatic and terrestrial ecosystem values that the feature provides.  For some types of headwater features the vegetation within the feature plays a very important role in flow and sediment movement and provides fish and wildlife habitat.  The following classifications are evaluated no vegetation, lawn, wetland, meadow, scrubland and forest.  The features assessed in the Jenkinson Drain catchment were classified being dominated by wetland and meadow vegetation. Figure 8 depicts the dominant vegetation observed at the sampled headwater sites in the Jenkinson Drain catchment.

Figure XX Headwater feature vegetation types in the Jenkinson Drain catchment
Figure 8 Headwater feature vegetation types in the Jenkinson Drain catchment
 

2.3.6 Headwater Feature Riparian Vegetation

Headwater riparian vegetation evaluates the type of vegetation that is found along the adjacent lands of a headwater drainage feature.  The type of vegetation within the riparian corridor influences the aquatic and terrestrial ecosystem values that the feature provides to the watershed.  Four sample locations in Jenkinson Drain were dominated by natural vegetation in the form of scrubland, meadow and wetland vegetation. Five sample locations were dominated by other forms of vegetation of either crops or ornamental grasses. Figure 9 depicts the type of riparian vegetation observed at the sampled headwater sites in the Jenkinson Drain catchment.

Figure XX Headwater feature riparian vegetation types in the Jenkinson Drain catchment
Figure 9 Headwater feature riparian vegetation types in the Jenkinson Drain catchment
 

2.3.7 Headwater Feature Sediment Deposition

Assessing the amount of recent sediment deposited in a channel provides an index of the degree to which the feature could be transporting sediment to downstream reaches (OSAP, 2013).  Evidence of excessive sediment deposition might indicate the requirement to follow up with more detailed targeted assessments upstream of the site location to identify potential best management practices to be implemented.  Conditions ranged from no deposition observed to extensive deposition recorded. Figure 10 depicts the degree of sediment deposition observed at the sampled headwater sites in the Jenkinson Drain catchment.

Figure XX Headwater feature sediment deposition in the Jenkinson Drain catchment
Figure 10 Headwater feature sediment deposition in the Jenkinson Drain catchment
 

2.3.8 Headwater Feature Upstream Roughness

Feature roughness will provide a measure of the amount of materials within the bankfull channel that could slow down the velocity of water flowing within the headwater feature (OSAP, 2013).  Materials on the channel bottom that provide roughness include vegetation, woody debris and boulders/cobble substrates.  Roughness can provide benefits in mitigating downstream erosion on the headwater drainage feature and the receiving watercourse by reducing velocities.  Roughness also provides important habitat conditions for aquatic organisms. The sample locations in the Jenkinson Drain catchment area ranged from minimal to extreme roughness conditions.  Figure 11 shows the feature roughness conditions at the sampling locations in the Jenkinson Drain catchment.

Figure Headwater feature roughness in the Jenkinson Drain catchment
Figure 11 Headwater feature roughness in the Jenkinson Drain catchment

3.0 Jenkinson Drain Catchment: Land Cover

Land cover and any change in coverage that has occurred over a six year period is summarized for the Jenkinson Drain catchment using spatially continuous vector data representing the catchment during the spring of 2008 and 2014. This dataset was developed by the RVCA through heads-up digitization of 20cm DRAPE ortho-imagery at a 1:4000 scale and details the surrounding landscape using 10 land cover classes.

3.1 Jenkinson Drain Catchment Change

As shown in Table 2 and Figure 1, the dominant land cover type in 2014 was crop and pastureland, followed by woodland, wetland and settlement.

Table 2 Land cover (2008 vs. 2014) in the Jenkinson Drain catchment
Land Cover20082014Change - 2008 to 2014
AreaAreaArea
HaPercentHaPercentHaPercent
Crop & Pasture8773885437-23-1
Woodland *6132659025-23-1
Wetland **3341433114-30
>Evaluated(118)(5)(118)(5) (0)(0)
>Unevaluated (216)(9) (213)(9)(-3)(0)
Settlement 277 12 32814 512
Meadow-Thicket107 5 96 4 -11-1
Transportation 67 3 76 3 90
Aggregate Site382 37 2-10
Water8<111<130
* Does not include treed swamps ** Includes treed swamps

From 2008 to 2014, there was an overall change of 85 hectares (from one land cover class to another). Most of the change in the Jenkinson Drain catchment is a result of the conversion of crop and pastureland, meadow-thicket and woodland to settlement (Figure 12).

Figure xx Land cover change in the Jenkinson Drain catchment (2014)
Figure 12 Land cover change in the Jenkinson Drain catchment (2014)

Table 3 provides a detailed breakdown of all land cover change that has taken place in the Jenkinson Drain catchment between 2008 and 2014.

Table 3 Land cover change in the Jenkinson Drain catchment (2008 to 2014)
Land CoverChange - 2008 to 2014
Area
Ha.Percent
Crop and Pasture to Settlement38.345.1
Wooded Area to Crop and Pasture14.917.6
Meadow-Thicket to Settlement11.113.1
Wooded Area to Settlement5.26.2
Settlement to Transportation4.14.8
Aggregate Site to Water2.53.0
Unevaluated Wetland to Crop and Pasture2.12.5
Crop and Pasture to Transportation2.02.4
Wooded Area to Transportation1.41.6
Unevaluated Wetland to Transportation1.01.2
Wooded Area to Aggregate Site1.01.2
Unevaluated Wetland to Settlement0.80.9
Settlement to Water0.20.3
Meadow-Thicket to Transportation0.10.2
Unevaluated Wetland to Aggregate Site<0.1<0.1

3.2 Woodland Cover

In the Environment Canada Guideline (Third Edition) entitled “How Much Habitat Is Enough?” (hereafter referred to as the “Guideline”) the opening narrative under the Forest Habitat Guidelines section states that prior to European settlement, forest was the predominant habitat in the Mixedwood Plains ecozone. The remnants of this once vast forest now exist in a fragmented state in many areas (including the Rideau Valley watershed) with woodland patches of various sizes distributed across the settled landscape along with higher levels of forest cover associated with features such as the Frontenac Axis (within the on-Shield areas of the Rideau Lakes and Tay River subwatersheds). The forest legacy, in terms of the many types of wildlife species found, overall species richness, ecological functions provided and ecosystem complexity is still evident in the patches and regional forest matrices (found in the Jock River subwatershed and elsewhere in the Rideau Valley watershed). These ecological features are in addition to other influences which forests have on water quality and stream hydrology including reducing soil erosion, producing oxygen, storing carbon along with many other ecological services that are essential not only for wildlife but for human well-being.

The Guideline also notes that forests provide a great many habitat niches that are in turn occupied by a great diversity of plant and animal species. They provide food, water and shelter for these species - whether they are breeding and resident locally or using forest cover to help them move across the landscape. This diversity of species includes many that are considered to be species at risk. Furthermore, from a wildlife perspective, there is increasing evidence that the total forest cover in a given area is a major predictor of the persistence and size of bird populations, and it is possible or perhaps likely that this pattern extends to other flora and fauna groups. The overall effect of a decrease in forest cover on birds in fragmented landscapes is that certain species disappear and many of the remaining ones become rare, or fail to reproduce, while species adapted to more open and successional habitats, as well as those that are more tolerant to human-induced disturbances in general, are able to persist and in some cases thrive. Species with specialized-habitat requirements are most likely to be adversely affected. The overall pattern of distribution of forest cover, the shape, area and juxtaposition of remaining forest patches and the quality of forest cover also play major roles in determining how valuable forests will be to wildlife and people alike.

The current science generally supports minimum forest habitat requirements between 30 and 50 percent, with some limited evidence that the upper limit may be even higher, depending on the organism/species phenomenon under investigation or land-use/resource management planning regime being considered/used.

As shown in Figure 13, 27 percent of the Jenkinson Drain catchment contains 590 hectares of upland forest and 316 hectares of lowland forest (treed swamps) versus the 26 percent of woodland cover in the Jock River subwatershed. This is less than the 30 percent of forest cover that is identified as the minimum threshold required to sustain forest birds according to the Guideline and which may only support less than one half of potential species richness and marginally healthy aquatic systems. When forest cover drops below 30 percent, forest birds tend to disappear as breeders across the landscape.

Figure xx Woodland cover and forest interior (2014)
Figure 13 Woodland cover and forest interior (2014)

3.2.1 Woodland (Patch) Size

According to the Ministry of Natural Resources’ Natural Heritage Reference Manual (Second Edition), larger woodlands are more likely to contain a greater diversity of plant and animal species and communities than smaller woodlands and have a greater relative importance for mobile animal species such as forest birds.

Bigger forests often provide a different type of habitat. Many forest birds breed far more successfully in larger forests than they do in smaller woodlots and some rely heavily on forest interior conditions. Populations are often healthier in regions with more forest cover and where forest fragments are grouped closely together or connected by corridors of natural habitat. Small forests support small numbers of wildlife. Some species are “area-sensitive” and tend not to inhabit small woodlands, regardless of forest interior conditions. Fragmented habitat also isolates local populations, especially small mammals, amphibians and reptiles with limited mobility. This reduces the healthy mixing of genetic traits that helps populations survive over the long run (Conserving the Forest Interior. Ontario Extension Notes, 2000).

The Environment Canada Guideline also notes that for forest plants that do not disperse broadly or quickly, preservation of some relatively undisturbed large forest patches is needed to sustain them because of their restricted dispersal abilities and specialized habitat requirements and to ensure continued seed or propagation sources for restored or regenerating areas nearby.

The Natural Heritage Reference Manual continues by stating that a larger size also allows woodlands to support more resilient nutrient cycles and food webs and to be big enough to permit different and important successional stages to co-exist. Small, isolated woodlands are more susceptible to the effects of blowdown, drought, disease, insect infestations, and invasions by predators and non-indigenous plants. It is also known that the viability of woodland wildlife depends not only on the characteristics of the woodland in which they reside, but also on the characteristics of the surrounding landscape where the woodland is situated. Additionally, the percentage of forest cover in the surrounding landscape, the presence of ecological barriers such as roads, the ability of various species to cross the matrix surrounding the woodland and the proximity of adjacent habitats interact with woodland size in influencing the species assemblage within a woodland.

In the Jenkinson Drain catchment (in 2014), fifty-two (45 percent) of the 115 woodland patches are very small, being less than one hectare in size. Another 54 (47 percent) of the woodland patches ranging from one to less than 20 hectares in size tend to be dominated by edge-tolerant bird species. The remaining nine (eight percent of) woodland patches range between 20 and 72 hectares in size and may support a few area-sensitive species and some edge intolerant species, but will be dominated by edge tolerant species.

No patch exceeds the 100 plus hectare size needed to support most forest dependent, area sensitive birds and which are, when present, large enough to support approximately 60 percent of edge-intolerant species. Nor does any patch top 200 hectares, which according to the Environment Canada Guideline will support 80 percent of edge-intolerant forest bird species (including most area sensitive species) that prefer interior forest habitat conditions.

Table 4 presents a comparison of woodland patch size in 2008 and 2014 along with any changes that have occurred over that time. A decrease (of 22 ha) has been observed in the overall woodland patch area between the two reporting periods with most change occurring in the 20 to 50 hectare woodland patch size class range.

Table 4 Woodland patches in the Jenkinson Drain catchment (2008 and 2014)
Woodland Patch Size Range (ha) Woodland* PatchesPatch Change
200820142008 to 2014
Number Area Number Area Number Area 
Count Percent  Ha Percent Count Percent  Ha Percent Count Ha 
Less than 1  4643203524522462
1 to 20 51482584054472674339
20 to 50 87232367619932-1-33
50 to 100 2213421221342100
Totals1071006441001151006221008-22
*Includes treed swamps

3.2.2 Woodland (Forest) Interior Habitat

The forest interior is habitat deep within woodlands. It is a sheltered, secluded environment away from the influence of forest edges and open habitats. Some people call it the “core” or the “heart” of a woodland. The presence of forest interior is a good sign of woodland health, and is directly related to the woodland’s size and shape. Large woodlands with round or square outlines have the greatest amount of forest interior. Small, narrow woodlands may have no forest interior conditions at all. Forest interior habitat is a remnant natural environment, reminiscent of the extensive, continuous forests of the past. This increasingly rare forest habitat is now a refuge for certain forest-dependent wildlife; they simply must have it to survive and thrive in a fragmented forest landscape (Conserving the Forest Interior. Ontario Extension Notes, 2000).

The Natural Heritage Reference Manual states that woodland interior habitat is usually defined as habitat more than 100 metres from the edge of the woodland and provides for relative seclusion from outside influences along with a moister, more sheltered and productive forest habitat for certain area sensitive species. Woodlands with interior habitat have centres that are more clearly buffered against the edge effects of agricultural activities or more harmful urban activities than those without. 

In the Jenkinson Drain catchment (in 2014), the 115 woodland patches contain 17 forest interior patches (Figure 13) that occupy two percent (47 ha.) of the catchment land area (which is less than the three percent of interior forest in the Jock River Subwatershed). This is below the ten percent figure referred to in the Environment Canada Guideline that is considered to be the minimum threshold for supporting edge intolerant bird species and other forest dwelling species in the landscape.

Most patches (16) have less than 10 hectares of interior forest, seven of which have small areas of interior forest habitat less than one hectare in size. Between 2008 and 2014, there has been a change in the number of woodland patches containing interior habitat with an overall loss of two hectares in the catchment (Table 5), suggesting an increase in forest fragmentation over the six year period.

Table 5 Woodland interior in the Jenkinson Drain catchment (2008 and 2014)
Woodland Interior Habitat Size Range (ha)Woodland InteriorInterior Change
200820142008 to 2014
NumberAreaNumberAreaNumberArea
CountPercentHaPercentCountPercent HaPercentCountHa
Less than 1 8532474124-10
1 to 106403163953316630
10 to 301716321614300-2
Totals151004910017100471002-2

3.3 Wetland Cover

Wetlands are habitats forming the interface between aquatic and terrestrial systems. They are among the most productive and biologically diverse habitats on the planet. By the 1980s, according to the Natural Heritage Reference Manual, 68 percent of the original wetlands south of the Precambrian Shield in Ontario had been lost through encroachment, land clearance, drainage and filling.

Wetlands perform a number of important ecological and hydrological functions and provide an array of social and economic benefits that society values. Maintaining wetland cover in a watershed provides many ecological, economic, hydrological and social benefits that are listed in the Reference Manual and which may include:

  • contributing to the stabilization of shorelines and to the reduction of erosion damage through the mitigation of water flow and soil binding by plant roots
  • mitigating surface water flow by storing water during periods of peak flow (such as spring snowmelt and heavy rainfall events) and releasing water during periods of low flow (this mitigation of water flow also contributes to a reduction of flood damage)
  • contributing to an improved water quality through the trapping of sediments, the removal and/or retention of excess nutrients, the immobilization and/or degradation of contaminants and the removal of bacteria
  • providing renewable harvesting of timber, fuel wood, fish, wildlife and wild rice
  • contributing to a stable, long-term water supply in areas of groundwater recharge and discharge
  • providing a high diversity of habitats that support a wide variety of plants and animals
  • acting as “carbon sinks” making a significant contribution to carbon storage
  • providing opportunities for recreation, education, research and tourism

Historically, the overall wetland coverage within the Great Lakes basin exceeded 10 percent, but there was significant variability among watersheds and jurisdictions, as stated in the Environment Canada Guideline. In the Rideau Valley Watershed, it has been estimated that pre-settlement wetland cover averaged 35 percent using information provided by Ducks Unlimited Canada (2010) versus the 21 percent of wetland cover existing in 2014 derived from DRAPE imagery analysis.

Using the same dataset, it is estimated that pre-settlement (historic) wetland cover averaged 51 percent in the Jock River subwatershed versus the 24 percent of cover existing in 2014 (as summarized in Table 6).

Table 6 Wetland cover in the Jock River subwatershed and Jenkinson Drain catchment (Historic to 2014)
Wetland Cover Pre-settlement20082014Change - Historic to 2014
Area  Area  Area  Area  
Ha Percent Ha Percent Ha Percent Ha Percent 
Jenkinson Drain1102473341433014-772-70
Jock River285275113282241323024-15297-54
Rideau Valley13411535------8207621-52039-39

 

This decline in wetland cover is also evident in the Jenkinson Drain catchment (as seen in Figure 14) where wetland was reported to cover 47 percent of the area prior to settlement, as compared to 14 percent in 2014. This represents a 70 percent loss of historic wetland cover and what remains (in 2014) falls below the historic wetland threshold cited in the Environment Canada Guideline for maintaining key ecological and hydrological functions. To maintain critical hydrological, ecological functions along with related recreational and economic benefits provided by these wetland habitats in the catchment, a “no net loss” of currently existing wetlands should be employed to ensure the continued provision of tangible benefits accruing from them to landowners and surrounding communities along with efforts to create/restore wetlands in suitable areas.

Figure xx Jenkinson Drain catchment wetland cover
Figure 14 Jenkinson Drain catchment wetland cover

3.4 Shoreline 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, lakes and rivers. Natural shorelines intercept sediments and contaminants that could impact water quality conditions and harm fish habitat in streams. Well established 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 recommended target (from the Environment Canada Guideline) is to maintain a minimum 30 metre wide vegetated buffer along at least 75 percent of the length of both sides of rivers, creeks and streams.

Figure 15 shows the extent of the ‘Natural’ vegetated riparian zone (predominantly wetland/woodland features) and ‘Other’ anthropogenic cover (crop/pastureland, roads/railways, settlements) along a 30-metre-wide area of land, both sides of the shoreline of the Jock River and its tributaries in the Jenkinson Drain catchment.

Figure xx Natural and other riparian land cover in the Flowing Creek catchment
Figure 15 Natural and other riparian land cover in the Jenkinson Drain catchment

This analysis shows that the riparian zone in the Jenkinson Drain catchment in 2014 was comprised of crop and pastureland (32 percent), wetland (20 percent), woodland (20 percent), settlement (19 percent), transportation (seven percent) and aggregates (one percent). Additional statistics for the Jenkinson Drain catchment are presented in Table 7. Of particular interest is the observed increase in the area of “Settlement” and decrease in "Woodland" area along the shoreline of the Jenkinson Drain and tributaries over a six year period.

Table 7 Riparian land cover (2008 vs. 2014) in the Jenkinson Drain catchment
Riparian Land Cover20082014Change - 2008 to 2014
AreaAreaArea
Ha.Percent Ha.PercentHa.Percent
Crop & Pasture109321103210
Wetland71216920-2-1
> Unevaluated(20)(6)(20)(6)(0)(0)
> Evaluated(51)(15)(49)(14)(-2)(-1)
Woodland71216620-5-1
Settlement6118651941
Transportation22624721
Aggregate313100
Meadow-Thicket2<11<1-10

4.0 Jenkinson Drain Catchment: Stewardship and Water Resources Protection

The RVCA and its partners are working to protect and enhance environmental conditions in the Jock River Subwatershed. Figure 16 shows the location of all stewardship projects completed in the Jenkinson Drain catchment along with sites identified for potential shoreline restoration.

4.1 Rural Clean Water Projects

From 2004 to 2009, one septic system replacement, one well decommissioning, one well upgrade and one well replacement were completed and prior to 2004, one manure storage/wastewater runoff project was finished. No projects were undertaken between 2010 and 2015. Total value of all five projects is $64,530 with $16,782 of that amount funded through grant dollars from the RVCA.

Figure xx Stewardship and potential restoration locations
Figure 16 Stewardship site locations  
 

4.2 Private Land Forestry Projects

The location of RVCA tree planting projects is shown in Figure 16. From 2004 to 2009, 11,100 trees were planted at one site and prior to 2004, 10,090 trees were planted at 3 sites. In total, 21,190 trees were planted resulting in the reforestation of 12 hectares. No projects were undertaken between 2010 and 2015. Total value of all four projects is $84,653 with $24,319 of that amount coming from fundraising sources.

Through the RVCA Butternut Recovery Program, an additional 110 butternut trees were planted in the Jenkinson Drain catchment (Figure 16) between 2004 and 2015, as part of efforts to introduce healthy seedlings from tolerant butternuts into various locations across Eastern Ontario.

4.3 Ontario Drinking Water Stewardship Projects

Figure 16 shows the location of all Ontario Drinking Water Stewardship Program (ODWSP) projects in the Jenkinson Drain catchment. Between 2010 and 2015, two septic system replacements and one well upgrade were completed. Total project value is $31,543 with $18,709 of that amount funded by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment.

4.4 Valley, Stream, Wetland and Hazard Lands

The Jenkinson Drain catchment covers 23 square kilometres with 1.9 square kilometres (or 8 percent) of the drainage area being within the regulation limit of Ontario Regulation 174/06 (Figure 17), giving protection to wetland areas and river or stream valleys that are affected by flooding and erosion hazards.

Wetlands occupy 3.3 sq. km. (or 14 percent) of the catchment. Of these wetlands, 1.2 sq. km (or 36 percent) are designated as provincially significant and included within the RVCA regulation limit. This leaves the remaining 2.1 sq. km (or 64 percent) of wetlands in the catchment outside the regulated area limit.

Of the 58.6 kilometres of stream in the catchment, regulation limit mapping has been plotted along 6.7 kilometers of streams (representing 11 percent of all streams in the catchment). Some of these regulated watercourses (3.9 km or 7 percent of all streams) flow through regulated wetlands; the remaining 2.9 km (or 42 percent) of regulated streams are located outside of those wetlands. Plotting of the regulation limit on the remaining 51.8 km (or 89 percent) of streams requires identification of flood and erosion hazards and valley systems.

Within those areas of the Jenkinson Drain catchment subject to the regulation (limit), efforts (have been made and) continue through RVCA planning and regulations input and review to manage the impact of development (and other land management practices) in areas where “natural hazards” are associated with rivers, streams, valley lands and wetlands. For areas beyond the regulation limit, protection of the catchment’s watercourses is only provided through the “alteration to waterways” provision of the regulation.

Figure xx RVCA regulation limits
Figure 17 RVCA regulation limits

4.5 Vulnerable Drinking Water Areas

A portion of the Wellhead Protection Area around the Munster municipal drinking water source is located within the Jenkinson Drain drainage catchment. This area is subject to mandatory policies in the Mississippi-Rideau Source Protection Plan developed under the Clean Water Act. These policies specifically regulate land uses and activities that are considered drinking water threats, thereby reducing the risk of contamination of the municipal drinking water source.

The Jenkinson Drain drainage catchment is also considered to have a Highly Vulnerable Aquifer. This means that the nature of the overburden (thin soils, fractured bedrock) does not provide a high level of protection for the underlying groundwater making the aquifer more vulnerable to contaminants released on the surface. The Mississippi-Rideau Source Protection Plan includes policies that focus on the protection of groundwater region-wide due to the fact that most of the region, which encompasses the Mississippi and Rideau watersheds, is considered Highly Vulnerable Aquifer.

For detailed maps and policies that have been developed to protect drinking water sources, please go to the Mississippi-Rideau Source Protection Region website at www.mrsourcewater.ca to view the Mississippi-Rideau Source Protection Plan.

5.0 Jenkinson Drain Catchment: Challenges/Issues

Water Quality/Quantity

No surface chemistry and benthic invertebrate water quality data is available for the Jenkinson Drain

Natural hazard lands have not been identified; however, it is deemed to be a low priority

Existing hydrological and geochemical datasets and assessments (academic, RVCA, others) are only recently available and/or are not being considered in the characterization of the numerous hydrologic functions of the Jock River subwatershed. Further, there is a dearth of hydrologic information (hydroperiod, groundwater/surface water interactions, geochemistry) about the wetlands that remain in the Jock River subwatershed

Headwaters/Instream/Shorelines

‘Natural’ vegetation covers 40 percent of the riparian zone of the Jenkinson Drain and its tributaries (Figure 15) and is below the recommended 30 metre wide, naturally vegetated target along 75 percent of the length of the catchment’s watercourses

No information available about instream aquatic and riparian conditions along Jenkinson Drain

Land Cover

Woodlands cover 27 percent of the catchment and is below the 30 percent of forest cover that is identified as the minimum threshold for sustaining forest birds and other woodland dependent species (Figure 13)

Pre-settlement wetlands have declined by 70 percent and now cover 14 percent (331 ha.) of the catchment (Figure 14). Sixty-four percent (213 ha.) of these wetlands remain unevaluated/unregulated and are vulnerable to drainage and land clearing activities in the absence of any regulatory and planning controls that would otherwise protect them for the many important hydrological, social, biological and ecological functions/services/values they provide to landowners and the surrounding community.

6.0 Jenkinson Drain Catchment: Opportunities/Actions

Water Quality/Quantity

Consider establishing a surface water quality sampling site along Jenkinson Drain

Offer the suite of water quality improvement projects (including the new tile drainage control outlet management funding) provided by the Rideau Valley Rural Clean Water Program to landowners where opportunities exist to manage rural runoff to the Jenkinson Drain and tributaries:

  • Homeowners may be interested in projects to repair, replace or upgrade their well or septic system, or addressing erosion through buffer plantings and erosion control
  • Farmers can take advantage of a wide range of projects, including livestock fencing, manure storage, tile drainage control structures, cover crops, and many more

Continue to coordinate environmental monitoring and reporting activities with the City of Ottawa

Use wetland restoration as a tool to improve surface water quality and help restore the hydrologic integrity of the Jock River and its tributaries, including Jenkinson Drain

List, share and when possible, synthesize and use existing hydrological and geochemical datasets and assessment outcomes to facilitate the characterization of subwatershed and catchment hydrological functions. In addition, prepare guidance on best practices for the preparation of water budget assessments to better understand the hydrologic cycle requirements that occur at site specific scales; and share existing catchment and subwatershed scale water budget assessment outcomes

Headwaters/Instream/Shorelines

Promote the Rideau Valley Shoreline Naturalization Program to landowners to increase existing 40 percent of natural shoreline cover

Educate landowners about the value of and best management practices used to maintain and enhance natural shorelines and headwater drainage features

Work with the City of Ottawa to consistently implement current land use planning and development policies for water quality and shoreline protection (i.e., adherence to a minimum 30 metre development setback from water) adjacent to the Jock River and other catchment watercourses, including the Jenkinson Drain

Target shoreline restoration at sites identified in this report (shown as “Other riparian land cover” in Figure 15) and explore other restoration and enhancement opportunities along the Jenkinson Drain and its tributaries

 

Land Cover

Promote the City of Ottawa’s Green Acres Reforestation Program to landowners to increase existing 27 percent of woodland cover

Encourage the City of Ottawa to strengthen natural heritage and water resources policies in official plans and zoning by-laws where shoreline, wetland, woodland cover and watercourse setbacks are determined to be at or below critical ecological thresholds. Information for this purpose is provided in the RVCA’s subwatershed and catchment reports

Explore ways and means to more effectively enforce and implement conditions of land-use planning and development approvals to achieve net environmental gains

Re-consider the RVCA’s approach to wetland regulation where there is an identified hydrologic imperative to do so (i.e., significant loss of historic wetland cover (see Fig. xx) and/or seasonal, critically low baseflows in the Jock River and/or areas of seasonal flooding)

Full Catchment Report