5.0 Nichols Creek Catchment: Stewardship and Water Resources Protection
The RVCA and its partners are working to protect and enhance environmental conditions in the Jock River Subwatershed. Figure 49 shows the location of all stewardship projects completed in the Nichols Creek catchment along with sites identified for potential shoreline restoration.
5.1 Rural Clean Water Projects
From 2004 to 2009, one livestock fencing project was completed and prior to 2004, one septic system was replaced. No projects were undertaken between 2010 and 2015. Total value of the two projects is $7,170 with $5,170 of that amount funded through grant dollars from the RVCA.
5.2 Private Land Forestry Projects
The location of RVCA tree planting projects is shown in Figure 49. Between 2004 and 2009, 200 trees were planted at one site and prior to 2004, 73,870 trees were planted at nine sites, resulting in the reforestation of 38 hectares. No projects were undertaken between 2010 and 2015. Total value of all ten projects is $222,558 with $85,518 of that amount coming from various fundraising sources.
5.3 Valley, Stream, Wetland and Hazard Lands
The Nichols Creek catchment covers 47 square kilometres with 26.9 square kilometres (or 57 percent) of the drainage area being within the regulation limit of Ontario Regulation 174/06 (Figure 50), giving protection to wetland areas and river or stream valleys that are affected by flooding and erosion hazards.
Wetlands occupy 20.2 sq. km. (or 43 percent) of the catchment. Of these wetlands, 16.5 sq. km (or 81 percent) are designated as provincially significant and included within the RVCA regulation limit. This leaves the remaining 3.7 sq. km (or 19 percent) of wetlands in the catchment outside the regulated area limit.
Of the 62 kilometres of stream in the catchment, regulation limit mapping has been plotted along 46.3 kilometers of streams (representing 75 percent of all streams in the catchment). Some of these regulated watercourses (40.3 km or 65 percent of all streams) flow through regulated wetlands; the remaining 6 km (or 13 percent) of regulated streams are located outside of those wetlands. Plotting of the regulation limit on the remaining 15.6 km (or 25 percent) of streams requires identification of flood and erosion hazards and valley systems.
Within those areas of the Nichols Creek catchment subject to the regulation (limit), efforts (have been made and) continue through RVCA planning and regulations input and review to manage the impact of development (and other land management practices) in areas where “natural hazards” are associated with rivers, streams, valley lands and wetlands. For areas beyond the regulation limit, protection of the catchment’s watercourses is only provided through the “alteration to waterways” provision of the regulation.
5.4 Vulnerable Drinking Water Areas
The Nichols Creek drainage catchment is considered to have a Highly Vulnerable Aquifer. This means that the nature of the overburden (thin soils, fractured bedrock) does not provide a high level of protection for the underlying groundwater making the aquifer more vulnerable to contaminants released on the surface. The Mississippi-Rideau Source Protection Plan includes policies that focus on the protection of groundwater region-wide due to the fact that most of the region, which encompasses the Mississippi and Rideau watersheds, is considered Highly Vulnerable Aquifer.
For detailed maps and policies that have been developed to protect drinking water sources, please go to the Mississippi-Rideau Source Protection Region website at www.mrsourcewater.ca to view the Mississippi-Rideau Source Protection Plan.