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1.0 Jock River-Richmond Fen Catchment: Facts

1.1 General/Physical Geography


  • Ottawa: (26 km2; 100% of catchment)


  • The Richmond Fen Catchment resides within an extensive physiographic region known as the Ottawa Valley Clay Plain. This part of the clay plain, however, is generally very thin or absent; and is overlain by an extensive area of organic soil. Areas of glacial till and some beach sands and gravels and sand plains flank the organic soils to the east and west
  • 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, numerous geologic faults may pass through the catchment


  • The ground surface ranges in elevation from approximately 128 masl near Munster Hamlet to approximately 97 masl throughout the PSW and at the catchment’s outlet

Drainage Area

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

Stream Length

  • Jock River and tributaries: 42 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 101.8 metres above mean sea level at Franktown Road to 97.5 metres above mean sea level along the northern edge of the Richmond Fen Provincially Significant Wetland

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) C and D for the municipal wells in Richmond underlie the eastern extent 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 Richmond Fen catchment

1.3 Conditions at a Glance

Water Quality

  • Surface chemistry water quality rating for the Jock River in the Richmond Fen catchment is unknown
  • Instream biological water quality conditions for the Jock River in the Richmond Fen catchment are unknown

Instream and Riparian

  • Overall instream and riparian condition for the Jock River-Richmond Fen 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 healthy forested riparian corridor along the Jock River. Instream diversity of aquatic habitat is fairly complex in the upper reach of the Jock River, while the lower reach is dominated by the Provincially Significant Richmond Fen wetland which is a very important wetland feature with high values that support catchment health

Thermal Regime

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

Fish Community

  • Eighteen species of recreational and bait fish

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

  • Wetland (56%)
  • Crop and Pasture (24%)
  • Woodland (9%)
  • Transportation (6%)
  • Settlement (4%)
  • Meadow-Thicket (1%)

Land Cover Type (2014)

  • Wetland (50%)
  • Crop and Pasture (28%)
  • Woodland (14%)
  • Settlement (5%)
  • Transportation (2%)
  • Meadow-Thicket (1%)
  • Aggregate (<1%)
  • Water (<1%)

Land Cover Change (2008 to 2014)

  • Crop and Pasture (-5 ha)
  • Aggregate (0 ha)
  • Meadow-Thicket (0 ha)
  • Transportation (0 ha)
  • Water (0 ha)
  • Wetland (0 ha)
  • Woodland (+2 ha)
  • Settlement (+3 ha)

Significant Natural Features

  • Richmond Fen Provincially Significant Wetland
  • Richmond Fen Area of Natural and Scientific Interest

Water Wells

  • Seventy operational (approximately) private water wells in the catchment. Groundwater uses are mainly domestic but also include livestock watering and crop irrigation


  • No Aggregate Resources Act licenses in the catchment. Limited sand and gravel resources are of tertiary importance

Species at Risk (Elemental Occurrence)

  • Bogbean Buckmoth, Eastern Prairie Fringed Orchid, Henslow's Sparrow, Loggerhead Shrike, Spotted Turtle (Endangered)
  • Barn Swallow, Blanding's Turtle, Bobolink, Eastern Meadowlark, Least Bittern (Threatened)
  • Eastern Milksnake, Snapping Turtle, Yellow Rail (Special Concern)

1.4 Catchment Care


  • Twenty-five stewardship projects undertaken (see Section 4)

Environmental Monitoring

  • Fish survey along the Jock River (see Section 2.3.9)
  • 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 2)
  • Four 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 2.4)

Environmental Management

  • Development along the Jock River and in and adjacent to the Richmond Fen 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
  • Three Active Permits To Take Water (PTTW) in the Richmond Fen catchment issued for a commercial water supply and golf course irrigation