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1.0 Flowing Creek Catchment: Facts

1.1 General/Physical Geography


  • Ottawa: (50 km2; 100% of catchment)


  • The Flowing Creek Catchment resides within a transitionary area between the Ottawa Valley Clay Plain to the east and the Smith Falls Limestone Plain to the West.  While Champlain Sea sediment (silt and clay) lie in the eastern part of the catchment at significant depths; esker and beach sands and gravels, sand plains and some glacial till blanket the central part. Bedrock lies at the ground surface throughout the western part of the catchment and is overlain by extensive organic soils
  • In this catchment, bedrock includes the interbedded limestone and dolostone, sandstone with shale and limestone, dolostone, and some limestone respectively from the Gull River, Rockcliffe, Oxford and Bobcaygeon Formations. In addition, several geologic faults may pass through the catchment


  • The ground surface ranges in elevation from approximately 155 masl near Hwy 7 to approximately 92 masl at the catchment’s outlet
  • Surficial karst is known to exist in the northern part of the catchment

Drainage Area

  • 50 square kilometers; occupies nine percent of the Jock River subwatershed, one percent of the Rideau Valley watershed

Stream Length

  • Flowing Creek and tributaries: 106 km

1.2 Vulnerable Areas

Flood/Erosion Hazard

  • Flowing Creek is subject to a flooding hazard during the regional storm flood (the 100 year flood). Surveys and studies undertaken in accordance with provincial standards have determined that the 100 year flood elevation in the catchment is 93.6 metres above mean sea level for the mapped extent of the regulation limit extending from Perth Street in Richmond upstream to Garvin Road 

Aquifer Vulnerability

  • The Mississippi-Rideau Source Protection initiative has mapped the middle of this catchment as a significant groundwater recharge area; and the western extent of the catchment as Highly Vulnerable Aquifer. Parts of Wellhead Protection Areas (WHPA) C and D for the municipal wells in Richmond underlie the southern quarter 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 Flowing Creek catchment

1.3 Conditions at a Glance

Water Quality

  • Surface chemisty water quality rating in the Flowing Creek catchment is “Fair”at the upstream site (CK67-008) and “Poor” at the downstream site (CK67-001). The upstream site is largely influenced by elevated nutrient concentrations and high E. coli counts, while the downstream site reported persistently elevated nutrient concentrations and E. coli counts, as well as high metal concentrations (between 2004 to 2009 and 2010 to 2015). This points to a deterioration of water quality as it flows to the downstream reaches of Flowing Creek 
  • Instream biological water quality conditions for Flowing Creek are unknown

Instream and Riparian

  • Overall instream and riparian condition for Flowing Creek is unknown

Thermal Regime

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

Fish Community

  • Twenty-four species of recreational and bait fish

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

  • Crop and Pasture (47%)
  • Woodland (20%)
  • Wetland (17%)
  • Transportation (7%)
  • Settlement (6%)
  • Meadow-Thicket (3%)
  • Aggregate (1%)

Land Cover Type (2014)

  • Crop and Pasture (46%)
  • Woodland (24%)
  • Settlement (11%)
  • Wetland (9%)
  • Transportation (3%)
  • Aggregate (3%)
  • Meadow-Thicket (3%)
  • Water (<1%)

Land Cover Change (2008 to 2014)

  • Woodland (-98 ha)
  • Crop and Pasture (-3 ha)
  • Transportation (+1 ha)
  • Wetland (+1 ha)
  • Water (+2 ha)
  • Aggregate (+27 ha)
  • Settlement (+27 ha)
  • Meadow-Thicket (+43 ha)

Significant Natural Features

  • Goulbourn Provincially Significant Wetland

Water Wells

  • Several hundred (~700) operational private water wells in the Flowing Creek Catchment.  Groundwater uses are mainly domestic, but also include significant livestock watering, groundwater monitoring and testing, municipal and other public water supplies and commercial uses


  • Parts of 2 bedrock quarry licenses and 4 sand and gravel pit licenses located within the catchment

Species at Risk (Elemental Occurrence)

  • Spotted Turtle (Endangered)
  • Blanding’s Turtle, Bobolink, Eastern Meadowlark (Threatened)
  • Eastern Milksnake, Snapping Turtle, Yellow Rail (Special Concern)

1.4 Catchment Care


  • Forty stewardship projects undertaken (see Section 5)

Environmental Monitoring

  • Chemical surface (in-stream) water quality collection since 2003 (see Section 2)
  • Fourteen 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 3.2)
  • Groundwater chemistry information is available from the Ontario Geological Survey for a well located in the catchment

Environmental Management

  • Development along Flowing Creek and in and adjacent to the Goulbourn 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
  • Nine active Permits To Take Water (PTTW) in the Flowing Creek catchment issued for pit /quarry dewatering, industrial uses, and construction dewatering
  • Ten Environmental Compliance Approvals and/or Environmental Activity and Sector Registrations in the Flowing Creek Catchment. These are mainly for municipal or private sewage works and industrial sewage works