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2.0 Jock River-Franktown Catchment: Riparian Conditions

2.1 Jock River Instream Aquatic Habitat

2.1.1 Benthic Invertebrates

Freshwater benthic invertebrates are animals without backbones that live on the stream bottom and include crustaceans such as crayfish, molluscs and immature forms of aquatic insects. Benthos represent an extremely diverse group of aquatic animals and exhibit wide ranges of responses to stressors such as organic pollutants, sediments and toxicants, which allows scientists to use them as bioindicators.  As part of the Ontario Benthic Biomonitoring Network (OBBN), the RVCA has been collecting benthic invertebrates at the Highway 15 site on the Jock River since 2011. Monitoring data is analyzed for each sample site and the results are presented using the Family Biotic Index, Family Richness and percent Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera and Trichoptera.

Highway 15 sample location conditions in the Franktown catchment
Highway 15 sample location conditions in the Franktown catchment
Hilsenhoff Family Biotic Index

The Hilsenhoff Family Biotic Index (FBI) is an indicator of organic and nutrient pollution and provides an estimate of water quality conditions for each site using established pollution tolerance values for benthic invertebrates. Figure 11 displays the FBI results for the Jock River Franktown catchment sample location at Highway 15 for reporting period 2011 to 2015.  “Poor” to “Very Poor” water quality conditions being observed at the Jock River Franktown sample location using a grading scheme developed by Conservation Authorities in Ontario for benthic invertebrates. 

Figure xx Hilsenhoff Family Biotic Index at the Jock River Highway 15 sample location
Figure 11 Hilsenhoff Family Biotic Index at the Jock River Highway 15 sample location
Family Richness

Family Richness measures the health of the community through its diversity and increases with increasing habitat diversity suitability and healthy water quality conditions. Family Richness is equivalent to the total number of benthic invertebrate families found within a sample.   The Jock River Franktown site is reported to have “Fair” family richness (Figure 12).

Figure xx Family Richness at the Jock River Highway 15 sample location
Figure 12 Family Richness at the Jock River Highway 15 sample location
EPT

Ephemeroptera (Mayflies), Plecoptera (Stoneflies), and Trichoptera (Caddisflies) are species considered to be very sensitive to poor water quality conditions. High abundance of these organisms is generally an indication of good water quality conditions at a sample location.  The species community structure at the Highway 15 site are highly and moderately tolerant to poor water quality conditions.  As a result, the EPT indicates that the Jock River Franktown sample location is reported to have “Poor” aquatic habitat conditions (Figure 13) from 2011 to 2015.  

Figure xx EPT at the Jock River Highway 15 sample location
Figure 13 EPT at the Jock River Highway 15 sample location
Conclusion

Overall the Jock River Franktown sample location aquatic habitat conditions from a benthic invertebrate perspective is considered “poor” from 2011 to 2015 as the samples are dominated by species that are moderately sensitive and sensitive to high organic pollution levels.Overall the Jock River Franktown catchment sample location aquatic habitat conditions from a benthic invertebrate perspective is considered “poor” from 2011 to 2015 as the samples are dominated by species that are moderately sensitive and sensitive to high organic pollution levels.

 

2.1.2 Thermal Regime

Many factors can influence fluctuations in stream temperature, including springs, tributaries, precipitation runoff, discharge pipes and stream shading from riparian vegetation. Water temperature is used along with the maximum air temperature (using the Stoneman and Jones method) to classify a watercourse as either warm water, cool water or cold water. Figure 14 shows where the thermal sampling sites were located along Jock River Franktown.  Sample location identified as number one on the map was missing and could not be retrieved. Analysis of the data collected indicates that Jock River Franktown catchment is classified as a cool to warm water system with cool water reaches (Figure 15).  

Figure XX Temperature logger locations in the Jock River Franktown catchment
Figure 14 Temperature logger locations in the Jock River Franktown catchment
Figure XX Temperature logger data for the Highway 15 site on the Jock River in the Franktown catchment.
Figure 15 Temperature logger data for the Highway 15 site on the Jock River in the Franktown catchment.  
 

Each point on the graph represents a temperature that meets the following criteria:

  • Sampling dates between July 1st and September 7th
  • Sampling date is preceded by two consecutive days above 24.5 °C, with no rain
  • Water temperatures are collected at 4pm
  • Air temperature is recorded as the max temperature for that day

2.1.3 Fish Community

The Jock River Franktown catchment is classified as a mixed community of warm and cool water recreational and baitfish fishery with 10 species observed. Figure 16 shows the sampling locations in the Hobbs Drain catchment.

Figure XX Fish community observations for the Franktown catchment
Figure 16 Fish community observations in the Franktown catchment
 

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

Table 1 Fish species observed in the Jock River Franktown catchment
Fish SpeciesFish codeFish SpeciesFish code
banded killifishBaKilfathead minnowFhMin
blackchin shinerBcShigolden shinerGoShi
blacknose shinerBnShilepomis sp. (sunfish)LepSp
bluntnose minnowBnMinlogperchLogpe
brook sticklebackBrStimimic shinerMiShi
Brown bullheadBrBulnorthern pikeNoPik
central mudminnowCeMudnorthern redbelly daceNRDac
common carpCO_CARpumpkinseedPumpk
common shinerCoShirock bassRoBas
cottus sp. (sculpin)CotSpspotfin shinerSpShi
creek chubCrChuwhite suckerWhSuc
Etheostoma sp. (darter)EthSp
 

2.2 Headwater Drainage Feature 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 10 sites at road crossings in the Jock River Franktown catchment area (Figure 17).  

Figure XX Location of the headwater sampling site in the Jock River Franktown catchment
Figure 17 Location of the headwater sampling site in the Jock River Franktown 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.  The headwater drainage features in the Franktown catchment are primarily classified as wetland with one feature classified as natural and another one as a road side ditch.  Figure 18 shows the feature type of the primary feature at the sampling locations.

Figure XX Headwater feature types in the Jock River Franktown catchment
Figure 18 Headwater feature types in the Jock River Franktown catchment
A spring photo of the headwater sample site in the Jock River Franktown catchment located on Beckwith 6th Line
A spring photo of the headwater sample site in the Jock River Franktown catchment located on Beckwith 6th Line
A summer photo of the headwater sample site in the Jock River Franktown catchment located on Beckwith 6th Line
A summer photo of the headwater sample site in the Jock River Franktown catchment located on Beckwith 6th Line
 

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 19 shows the observed flow condition at the sampling locations in the Jock River Franktown catchment in 2015.

Figure XX Headwater feature flow conditions in the Jock River Franktown catchment
Figure 19 Headwater feature flow conditions in the Jock River Franktown catchment
 

2.2.4 Feature Channel Modifications

Channel modifications were assessed at each headwater drainage feature sampling location.  Modifications include channelization, dredging, hardening and realignments.  The Jock River Franktown catchment area had one site as having been dredged, while the remaining locations had no channel modifications observed.  Figure 20 shows the channel modifications observed at the sampling locations for Jock River Franktown.

Figure XX Headwater feature channel modifications in the Jock River Franktown catchment
Figure 20 Headwater feature channel modifications in the Jock River Franktown catchment
 

2.2.5 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 many types of headwater features the vegetation within the feature plays a very important role in flow and sediment movement and provides wildlife habitat.  The following classifications are evaluated no vegetation, lawn, wetland, meadow, scrubland and forest. Figure 21 depicts the dominant vegetation observed at the sampled headwater sites in the Jock River Franktown catchment.

Figure XX Headwater feature vegetation types in the Jock River Franktown catchment
Figure 21 Headwater feature vegetation types in the Jock River Franktown catchment
 

2.2.6 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.  Figure 22 depicts the type of riparian vegetation observed at the sampled headwater sites in the Jock River Franktown catchment.

Figure XX Headwater feature riparian vegetation types in the Jock River Franktown catchment
Figure 22 Headwater feature riparian vegetation types in the Jock River Franktown catchment
 

2.2.7 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.  Sediment deposition ranged from none to extensive for the headwater sites sampled in the Jock River Franktown catchment area. Figure 23 depicts the degree of sediment deposition observed at the sampled headwater sites in the Jock River Franktown catchment.

Figure XX Headwater feature sediment deposition in the Jock River Franktown catchment
Figure 23 Headwater feature sediment deposition in the Jock River Franktown catchment
 

2.2.8 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. Figure 24 shows the feature roughness conditions at the sampling locations in the Jock River Franktown catchment.

Figure Headwater feature roughness in the Jock River Franktown catchment
Figure 24 Headwater feature roughness in the Jock River Franktown catchment