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1.0 Jock River-Barrhaven Catchment: Facts

1.1 General/Physical Geography


  • Ottawa: (31 km2; 100% of catchment)


  • The Barrhaven Catchment resides within an extensive physiographic region known as the Ottawa Valley Clay Plain. The sediment was deposited in the Champlain Sea after the last glaciation. This part of the clay plain is approximately 8 to 10 metres deep. It is truncated to the north by Paleozoic bedrock and to the west by a regional geological sand and gravel feature known as the Kars Esker; while glacial till flanks the eastern extent of the catchment
  • In this catchment, the clay plain is underlain by dolostone, interbedded sandstone/dolostone and limestone from the Oxford, March and Bobcaygeon Formations, respectively. In addition, several geologic faults may pass through the catchment


  • The ground surface ranges in elevation from 120 masl along Moodie Drive north of Fallowfield Road to 80 masl at the confluence of the Jock River with the Rideau River
  • Surficial karst may be present near Hwy 416 in this catchment

Drainage Area

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

Stream Length

  • Jock River and tributaries: 50 km

1.2 Vulnerable Areas

Flood/Erosion Hazard

  • Jock River 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 ranges from 92.7 metres above mean sea level at the upper, mapped extent of the regulation limit at Moodie Drive to 80.3 metres above mean sea level at its confluence with the Rideau River downstream of Prince of Wales Drive

Aquifer Vulnerability

  • The Mississippi-Rideau Source Protection initiative has mapped the southern part of this catchment as a Significant Groundwater Recharge Area and parts of the catchment as Highly Vulnerable Aquifer. There are no Well Head Protection Areas in the 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 Barrhaven catchment

1.3 Conditions at a Glance

Water Quality

  • Surface chemistry water quality rating in the Barrhaven catchment is “Fair” at both sites over the two reporting periods (2004-2009 and 2010-2015). Frequent high nutrient concentrations and occasional exceedances of copper and aluminium contributed to the rating
  • Instream biological water quality conditions at the Jock River Barrhaven sample location range from “ Poor” to “Good” from 2004 to 2015 (using a grading scheme developed by Ontario Conservation Authorities in Ontario for benthic invertebrates) with an overall benthic invertebrate water quality rating of “Good” determined for this period

Instream and Riparian

  • Overall instream and riparian condition for the Jock River-Barrhaven catchment as assessed by the stream characterization and headwater drainage feature assessment programs show that the Jock River and its tributaries are in generally good condition. The majority of the system has low erosion levels and a moderately healthy riparian corridor. Instream diversity of aquatic habitat is variable along much of the system

Thermal Regime

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

Fish Community

  • Thirty-six species of recreational and bait fish

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

  • Crop and Pasture (36%)
  • Settlement (29%)
  • Woodland (20%)
  • Transportation (11%)
  • Aggregate (3%)
  • Wetland (1%)

Land Cover Type (2014)

  • Settlement (42%)
  • Crop and Pasture (20%)
  • Transportation (14%)
  • Woodland (11%)
  • Aggregate (9%)
  • Water (2%)
  • Meadow-Thicket (1%)
  • Wetland (<1%)

Land Cover Change (2008 to 2014)

  • Crop and Pasture (-250 ha)
  • Woodland (-27 ha)
  • Meadow-Thicket (0 ha)
  • Aggregate (+2 ha)
  • Wetland (+2 ha)
  • Water (+4 ha)
  • Transportation (+108 ha)
  • Settlement (+160 ha)

Significant Natural Features

  • Stony Swamp Provincially Significant Wetland

Water Wells

  • Several hundred (~350) operational private water wells in the Barrhaven catchment. Groundwater uses are mainly domestic but also include livestock watering, groundwater monitoring and testing and municipal, commercial and other public water supplies


  • There are parts of 3 bedrock quarry licenses and 9 sand and gravel pit licenses located within the catchment. Sand and gravel resources are mainly of secondary importance

Species at Risk (Elemental Occurrence)

  • Snapping Turtle (Special Concern)

1.4 Catchment Care


  •  Twenty-one stewardship projects undertaken (see Section 5)

Environmental Monitoring

  • Chemical surface (in-stream) water quality collection since 2003 (see Section 2)
  • Benthic invertebrate (aquatic insect) surface (in-stream) water quality collection since 2003 (see Section 3.3.1)
  • Fish survey along the Jock River (see Section 3.3.11)
  • Stream characterization survey on the Jock River in 2015, working upstream to the headwaters from its mouth  where it empties into the Rideau River, taking measurements and recording observations on instream habitat, bank stability, other attributes and preparing a temperature profile (see Section 3)
  • Five 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 3.4)
  • Groundwater level and chemistry data is available from a PGMN well located in the Hearts Desire community (W085). Additional groundwater chemistry information is available from the Ontario Geological Survey for two wells located in this catchment

Environmental Management

  • Development along the Jock River and in and adjacent to the Stony Swamp Provincially Significant Wetlands 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
  • Approximately 30 Environmental Compliance Approvals and/or Environmental Activity and Sector Registrations in this catchment. Most of these approvals/registrations are for municipal and private sewage works, while others are for private water works, waste management systems, a standby power system industrial sewage disposal systems and air emissions. An active municipal landfill is in the southern part of this catchment
  • Approximately 28 active Permits To Take Water (PTTW), most of which have been issued for construction dewatering or similar activities; several for golf course irrigation; a couple for quarry dewatering; and one for municipal landfill activities