• Home
  • Subwatersheds
    • middle rideau subcatchment

    • Find your local waterbody
  • Archives
    • Rideau Lakes
      • Subwatershed Reports
      • Catchment Reports
    • Tay River
      • Subwatershed Reports
      • Catchment Reports

1. Catchment Facts

LandCoverHutton-Creek-001-001

 

General Geography

  • The Rideau River flows through the heart of the Middle Rideau and is a focal point for residents and visitors to the area. It extends from the outlet of Lower Rideau Lake at Poonamalie (where there is one dam and one lock) to Burritts Rapids (where there is also a dam and lock), at which point it enters the Lower Rideau on its way to Rideau Falls. The Rideau River is also an integral part of the Rideau Canal National Historic Site of Canada and is a significant tourist attraction which draws boaters, cottagers, and campers to the area
  • Smiths Falls, Merrickville and Burritts Rapids are the main settlements in the Middle Rideau subwatershed. The Hutton Creek catchment is predominantly rural in character with agriculture being the main land use
  • Parks Canada staff manage water levels for recreational purposes along the Rideau Canal/Waterway that flows by the catchment, ensuring 1.5 metres of draft during the navigation season. In this managed system, water levels on the Rideau Canal are manipulated by operation of numerous dams. In the Middle Rideau subwatershed, Parks Canada staff operate 9 dam and lock complexes with 13 locks for a fall of 36.2 metres over 35.6 kilometres. Water levels are maintained as close as possible to set objectives through the May to October navigation season. The levels are lowered through the rest of October and into November and held at the winter levels until the spring freshet in late March or early April naturally increases inflows to the system. To reduce the impact of the higher flows in the spring, the amount of snow water equivalent, forecast rain, ice cover, flows and levels are assessed and the dams in the Middle Rideau reach are operated accordingly to quickly pass as much water as possible. In late April and early May, the dams are gradually closed and water levels are brought up to be ready, once again, for the navigation season

Physical Geography

  • All of Hutton Creek Catchment and the rest of the Middle Rideau Subwatershed primarily resides within the Smith Falls Limestone Plain. The northern part of this catchment is underlain by dolostone of the Oxford Formation; while the central catchment is underlain by the quartz sandstone and dolostone of the March Formation and a small section of the upper watershed is underlain by the Nepean Formation sandstones. The bedrock across the catchment is mainly overlain by a thin veneer of glacial sediment, referred to as ‘drift’ that is generally less than a metre in thickness; although the landscape is also dotted with organic soils and some glacial till and sand. A geologic fault likely cut through the western part of the catchment
  • Eighty-six percent of the catchment lies within the Township of Elizabethtown-Kitley and 14 percent within the Township of Rideau Lakes
  • Hutton Creek catchment drainage area is 62 square kilometres and occupies seven percent of the Middle Rideau subwatershed and one percent of the Rideau Valley watershed
  • Parks Canada staff manage water levels for recreational purposes along the Rideau Canal/Waterway that flows by the catchment, ensuring 1.5 metres of draft during the navigation season. In this managed system, water levels on the Rideau Canal are manipulated by operation of numerous dams. In the Middle Rideau subwatershed, Parks Canada staff operate 9 dam and lock complexes with 13 locks for a fall of 36.2 metres over 35.6 kilometres. Water levels are maintained as close as possible to set objectives through the May to October navigation season. The levels are lowered through the rest of October and into November and held at the winter levels until the spring freshet in late March or early April naturally increases inflows to the system. To reduce the impact of the higher flows in the spring, the amount of snow water equivalent, forecast rain, ice cover, flows and levels are assessed and the dams in the Middle Rideau reach are operated accordingly to quickly pass as much water as possible. In late April and early May, the dams are gradually closed and water levels are brought up to be ready, once again, for the navigation season

Vulnerable Areas

  • The Assessment Report developed under the Ontario Clean Water Act identifies the upper bedrock aquifer underlying all of the catchment area as a Highly Vulnerable Aquifer, although, where sediments are thicker in a local area, the vulnerability would be less. It also identifies the area of Nepean Sandstone found at the surface in this catchment as a Significant Groundwater Recharge area along with a small part of the Village of Merrickville municipal Wellhead Protection Area

Development

  • Land uses in the catchment are Rural with Natural Heritage-Provincially Significant Wetland along with some Agriculture

Conditions at a Glance

Water Quality

  • Surface chemistry water quality rating in Hutton Creek is “Fair” over two reporting periods (2003-2008 and 2009-2014). Elevated bacterial counts and nutrient concentrations from inflows of nutrients (from private septic systems, agricultural and residential surface water runoff) are a feature of Hutton Creek. Decreased nutrient and bacterial counts are needed to improve the overall health of the creek
  • Instream biological water quality conditions at the Hutton Creek sample location range from “Fair” to “Poor” from 2010 to 2014 (using a grading scheme developed by Ontario Conservation Authorities in Ontario for benthic invertebrates) with an overall benthic invertebrate water quality rating of “Fair” determined for this period

Instream and Riparian

  • In the Hutton Creek catchment, the riparian buffer (30 m. wide strip along the shoreline of all lakes and streams) is comprised of wetland (67 percent), woodland (16 percent), crop and pastureland (15 percent), roads (one percent) and settlement areas (one percent)
  • Overall instream and riparian condition for the Hutton Creek catchment as assessed by the stream characterization and headwater drainage feature assessment programs show that Hutton Creek and its tributaries are in good condition. The majority of the system has low erosion levels, a healthy riparian corridor with good instream diversity of aquatic habitat
  • The Hutton Creek catchment has 14 species of recreational and bait fish and is classified as having a warm/cool water thermal guild that supports the Hutton Creek/Rideau River fishery

Land Cover

  • Dominant land cover is crop and pastureland (37 percent), followed by woodland (30 percent), wetland (27 percent), settlement areas (four percent) and roads (two percent). From 2008 to 2014, there was an overall change of 73 hectares (from one land cover class to another). Within the Hutton Creek catchment, change is primarily associated with the conversion of crop and pastureland to settlement (a large solar farm) and transition into woodland along with wetland encroaching into woodland
  • Woodland cover in the catchment has decreased by 11 hectares between 2008 and 2014 and interior forest habitat has decreased by 26 hectares
  • Wetland cover has decreased by one percent (95 ha) from pre-settlement times to the present and now occupies 27 percent of the catchment area

Other

  • There are approximately 230 in-use water wells with provincial records in this catchment. While most water wells are used for domestic water supply, in this catchment, several are also used for commercial, agricultural, and public water supplies; cooling; or monitoring
  • There are no active Permits to Take Water or Environmental Compliance Approvals in the catchment
  • There are two bedrock aggregate licenses located in this catchment

Catchment Care

  • Thirty-two stewardship projects have been completed with assistance from the RVCA’s Rural Clean Water and Tree Planting Programs (see Section 5 of this report for details)
  • Hutton Creek surface water quality has been monitored by the RVCA through its Baseline Monitoring Program since 2003. The surface water quality at site HUT-02 is monitored once a month from April to November
  • RVCA has been collecting benthic invertebrates in Hutton Creek at the Kitley South Elmsley Line site since 2010
  • RVCA conducted a fish survey along Hutton Creek in 2014
  • RVCA completed a the stream characterization survey on Hutton Creek in 2014, working upstream to the headwaters from the mouth of the creek where it empties into the Rideau River taking measurements and recording observations on instream habitat, bank stability, other attributes and preparing a temperature profile
  • RVCA completed six headwater drainage feature assessments at road crossings in the Hutton Creek catchment in 2014.Tthis protocol measures zero and first order headwater drainage features and is a rapid assessment method characterizing the amount of water, sediment transport, and storage capacity within headwater drainage features
  • 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 Hutton Creek catchment
  • RVCA has built a new “berm-like” water control structure at Motts Mills, replacing the older, non-operational “stop-log” structure dating from 1952. This will now permit the manipulation of water levels in the Hutton Creek Provincially Significant Wetland (located behind the new structure), as outlined in the wetland management plan and water control structure operational plan describing that activity
  • The Township of Elizabethtown-Kitley and the Township of Rideau Lakes have land use planning policies and zoning provisions - on water setbacks, frontage and naturalized shorelines and wetland protection - and in some instances use site plan control to implement these policies and provisions. Together with RVCA, these municipalities work with landowners on a case by case basis to enable new development while ensuring the scale is suitable on the lot, impacts on neighbours are minimized and development maximizes the watercourse setback
  • Development in and adjacent to the Provincially Significant Wetlands in the catchment (Otter Creek, Otter Lake-Hutton Creek Complex) are 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

Middle Rideau Catchments