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4. Stewardship and Protection

The RVCA and its partners are working to protect and enhance environmental conditions in the Middle Rideau Subwatershed. Figure 15 shows the location of all stewardship projects completed in the Rideau-Smiths Falls catchment.

Rural Clean Water Projects

From 2009 to 2014, two septic system replacements, two livestock fencing projects and one well replacement were completed. Between 2003 and 2008, two septic system replacements and two well upgrades were carried out. Prior to 2003, one septic system replacement was completed. Total value of all 10 projects is $48,337 with $34,499 of that amount funded through grant dollars from the RVCA.

Figure 15 Stewardship and potential restoration locations 

Tree Planting Projects

The location of RVCA Tree Planting Program projects is shown in Figure 15. Prior to 2003, 48,050 trees were planted at six sites, resulting in the reforestation of 24 hectares. Total value of all eight projects is $105,098 with $36,023 of that amount coming from various fundraising sources. No trees were planted in the catchment between 2004 and 2014.

Through the RVCA Butternut Recovery Program, an additional 60 butternut trees were planted in the Rideau-Smiths Falls catchment, as part of efforts to introduce healthy seedlings from tolerant butternuts into various locations across Eastern Ontario.

Onatrio Drinking Water Stewardship Projects

Figure 15 shows the location of all Ontario Drinking Water Stewardship Program (ODWSP) projects in the Rideau-Smiths Falls catchment. This Ministry of the Environment funded program has supported four projects between 2009 and 2014. Total project value is $15,796 with landowners receiving $7,985 to support three livestock fencing projects and one well decommissioning.

Valley, Stream, Wetland and Hazard Land Regulation

The Rideau-Smiths Falls catchment covers 48 square kilometres with 15 square kilometres (or 31 percent) of the drainage area being within the regulation limit of Ontario Regulation 174/06 (Figure 16), giving protection to wetland areas and river or stream valleys that are affected by flooding and erosion hazards.

Wetlands occupy 13.2 sq. km. (or 27 percent) of the catchment. Of these wetlands, 7.5 sq. km (or 57 percent) are designated as provincially significant and included within the RVCA regulation limit. This leaves the remaining 5.7 sq. km (or 43 percent) of wetlands in the catchment outside the regulated area limit.

Of the 75.8 kilometres of stream in the catchment, regulation limit mapping has been plotted along 34.6 kilometers of streams (representing 46 percent of all streams in the catchment). Some of these regulated watercourses (22.2 km or 29 percent of all streams) flow through regulated wetlands; the remaining 12.4 km (or 36 percent) of regulated streams are located outside of those wetlands. Plotting of the regulation limit on the remaining 41.2 km (or 54 percent) of streams requires identification of flood and erosion hazards and valley systems.

Within the regulation limit, “development” and “site alteration” require RVCA permission. The “alteration to waterways” provision of Ontario Regulation 174/06 applies to all watercourses.

Figure 16 RVCA regulation limits

Vulnerable Drinking Water Areas

The Intake Protection Zone around the Town of Smiths Falls municipal drinking water source is located within the Rideau-Smiths Falls catchment (Figure 16). This zone is subject to mandatory policies in the Mississippi-Rideau Source Protection Plan developed under the Clean Water Act. These policies specifically regulate land uses and activities that are considered drinking water threats, thereby reducing the risk of contamination of the municipal drinking water source.

The Rideau-Smiths Falls drainage catchment is also 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 to view the Mississippi-Rideau Source Protection Plan.