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1.0 Blueberry Creek Catchment: Facts

1.1 General/Physical Geography

Drainage Area

39.1 square kilometres; occupies 4.9 percent of the Tay River subwatershed; 0.9 percent of the Rideau Valley watershed.

Geology/Physiography

The Blueberry Creek catchment resides within a transitionary area between the physiographic regions known as the Algonquin Highlands and the Smith Falls Limestone Plain. The northern half of the catchment lies within the limestone plain, which is a broad flat poorly drained region underlain by thin soils, dolostone and sandstone. The southern part of the catchment lies within the ancient highlands of the Algonquin mass, a geologic region made up of such Precambrian rocks as marble, conglomerates, and dark or colour banded granite-like rocks. A veneer of glacial drift (glacial till, sand etc.) overlies the bedrock. Two geologic faults may cut through this catchment.

Municipal Coverage

Drummond/North Elmsley Township (21.6 km2; 55.5% of catchment)

Tay Valley Township (16.3 km2; 41.9% of catchment)

Town of Perth (1.0 km2; 2.6% of catchment)

Stream Length

All watercourses (including headwater streams): 45.9 km.

1.2 Vulnerable Areas

Aquifer Vulnerability

The Mississippi-Rideau Source Water Protection program has mapped the central part of this catchment as a Significant Groundwater Recharge Area and all of the catchment as a Highly Vulnerable Aquifer. There are no Well-Head Protection Areas in the 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 Blueberry Creek catchment.

 

1.3 Conditions at a Glance

Aggregates

Three aggregate licenses in the Blueberry Creek catchment along with some sand and gravel areas of secondary and tertiary significance.

Fish Community/Thermal Regime

Warm and cool water recreational and baitfish fishery with 14 species observed in Blueberry Creek during 2017.

Headwater Drainage Features

Classified as wetlands and natural features with minimal modifications.  

Instream/Riparian Habitat

Blueberry Creek: Low to high habitat complexity along the surveyed sections of the creek. Areas with increased habitat complexity are observed in the lower and middle reaches of the system within the catchment along with a healthy diversity and abundance of plant types. Dissolved oxygen conditions vary from areas below levels required to support aquatic biota to areas that support warmwater fish species.

Land Cover Change (2008 to 2014)
Catchment Crop-Pasture Woodland Meadow-Thicket Wetland Transportation Aggregate Settlement
Hectares -6 -6 -2 +1 +1 +3 +9
Land Cover Type (2014)
Catchment Wetland Crop-Pasture Woodland Settlement Transportation Meadow-Thicket
Percent 40 34 18 5 2 1
Shoreline Cover Type (30 m. riparian area; 2014)
Catchment Percent Blueberry Creek Percent Streams* Percent
Wetland 55 Wetland 82 Wetland 47
Woodland 19 Woodland 6 Crop-Pasture 25
Crop-Pasture  19 Settlement 6 Woodland 24
Settlement  4 Crop-Pasture 3 Settlement 3
Transportation  2 Transportation 2 Transportation 1
Meadow-Thicket <1 Meadow-Thicket <1 --- ---
*Excludes Blueberry Creek

Significant Natural Features

Blueberry Marsh Provincially Significant Wetland

Species at Risk (Elemental Occurrence)
Status Species at Risk
Threatened     Blanding's Turtle Eastern Meadowlark
Special Concern Eastern Musk Turtle ---
Water Quality for the Protection of Aquatic Life
Water Quality Source Blueberry Creek
Surface Chemistry    Fair to Good
Instream Biological Poor to Fair

 

Blueberry Creek: Benthic invertebrate samples are dominated with species that are moderately tolerant and tolerant to high organic pollution levels.

Water Wells

Approximately 350 operational private water wells in the Blueberry Creek catchment. Groundwater uses are mainly domestic, but also include commercial, livestock, public and municipal water supplies and monitoring wells.

Wetland Cover

Wetlands are reported to have covered 65 percent of the Blueberry Creek catchment prior to European settlement, as compared to 39 percent (or 15.6 square kilometres) of the area in 2014. This represents a 38 percent (or 9.7 square kilometre) loss of historic wetland cover. Eighty-five percent of the remaining wetlands are regulated leaving 15 percent (or 2.4 square kilometers) unregulated.

1.4 Catchment Care

Environmental Management

Development along Blueberry Creek and in, and adjacent to, the Blueberry Marsh 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 landowners and their property from natural hazards (i.e., flooding, fluctuating water table, unstable soils) along with the hydrologic function of the wetland.

Several Environmental Compliance Approvals and Environmental Activity and Sector Registries were sought and one Permit To Take Water (PTTW) is active in the catchment for aggregate operations.

 

Environmental Monitoring

Chemical surface (in-stream/lake) water quality collection by the RVCA since 2012 (see Section 2 of this report).

Benthic invertebrate (aquatic insect) surface (in-stream) water quality collection by the RVCA in Blueberry Creek since 2011 (see Section 3.3.1 of this report).

Fish survey and stream characterization survey by the RVCA on Blueberry Creek in 2016 included taking measurements and recording observations on instream habitat, bank stability, other attributes and preparing a temperature profile (see Section 3 of this report).

Eleven drainage feature assessments were conducted by the RVCA in 2017 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 of this report).

Classification of Blueberry Creek catchment land cover types derived by the RVCA from colour aerial photography that was acquired during the spring of 2008 and 2014 (see Section 4.1 of this report).

Groundwater chemistry information is available from the Ontario Geological Survey for one well (#13-AG-021) located in the Blueberry Creek catchment.

Stewardship

Twenty-one stewardship projects were completed by landowners with assistance from the RVCA (see Section 5 of this report).