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1.0 Jock River-Richmond Catchment: Facts

1.1 General/Physical Geography


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


  • The Richmond Catchment resides within an extensive physiographic region known as the Ottawa Valley Clay Plain. This part of the clay plain ranges from being very thin to approximately 8 to 10 metres deep. In the western part of this catchment, the clay plain transitions to an extensive and deep sand plain. There is also some areas of glacial till along the southern boundary of the catchment
  • In this catchment, the clay and sand plains are underlain by dolostone of the Oxford Formation and sandstone with shale and limestone from the Rockcliffe Formation. In addition, a geologic fault may pass through the catchment


  • The ground surface ranges in elevation from approximately 106 masl near Conley Road to approximately 92 masl at the catchment’s outlet

Drainage Area

  • 31 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: 60 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 97.5 metres above mean sea level at the upper, mapped extent of the regulation limit adjacent to the Richmond Fen provincially significant wetland to 93.5 metres above mean sea level at Eagleson Road

Aquifer Vulnerability

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

1.3 Conditions at a Glance

Water Quality

  • Surface chemistry water quality rating on the Jock River in the Jock River-Richmond catchment is “Fair” over the two reporting periods (2004-2009 and 2010-2015). The score at this site reflects few exceedances across measured parameters with occasional instances of elevated nutrients and bacterial counts
  • Instream biological water quality conditions at the Jock River Richmond sample location range from “ Poor” to “Fair” 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 “Fairly Poor” determined for this period

Instream and Riparian

  • Overall instream and riparian condition for the Jock River-Richmond 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 and wetland along Marlborough Creek. Instream diversity of aquatic habitat is fairly complex along most of the Jock River, while the lower reach of Marlborough Creek is dominated by low complex habitat values

Thermal Regime

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

Fish Community

  • Thirty-nine species of recreational and bait fish

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

  • Crop and Pasture (39%)
  • Wetland (20%)
  • Woodland (20%)
  • Settlement (9%)
  • Transportation (7%)
  • Meadow-Thicket (5%)

Land Cover Type (2014)

  • Crop and Pasture (47%)
  • Woodland (16%)
  • Wetland (15%)
  • Settlement (14%)
  • Transportation (5%)
  • Meadow-Thicket (2%)
  • Water (1%)

Land Cover Change (2008 to 2014)

  • Woodland (-42 ha)
  • Meadow-Thicket (-42 ha)
  • Wetland (-12 ha)
  • Water (0 ha)
  • Transportation (+8 ha)
  • Settlement (+24 ha)
  • Crop and Pasture (+63 ha)

Significant Natural Features

  • Richmond Fen Provincially Significant Wetland

Water Wells

  • 1400 (approximately) operational private water wells in the Richmond Catchment. Groundwater uses are mainly domestic, but also include groundwater monitoring and testing, municipal and other public water supplies, livestock watering, and commercial and industrial uses


  • No sand and gravel pit licenses or open or closed bedrock quarries and no primary sand and gravel aggregate resource

Species at Risk (Elemental Occurrence)

  • Henslow's Sparrow (Endangered)
  • Bobolink, Eastern Meadowlark (Threatened)
  • Snapping Turtle, Yellow Rail (Special Concern)

1.4 Catchment Care


  • Seventy-five 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)
  • 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 3.4)
  • Additional groundwater chemistry information is available from the Ontario Geological Survey for a well located in this catchment

Environmental Management

  • Development along the Jock River, Marlborough Creek and Van Gaal Drain and in and adjacent to the Richmond Fen 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 slopes/ soils) associated with them
  • Richmond Weir is operated by the RVCA in the Village of Richmond
  • Twelve active Permits To Take Water (PTTW) in the Richmond Catchment issued for construction dewatering, municipal water supply and wildlife conservation
  • Eleven Environmental Compliance Approvals in the Richmond Catchment. Most are for municipal or private sewage works. One is for an industrial sewage work