7.0 Blueberry Creek Catchment: Challenges/Issues

Issues noted by the Friends of the Tay Watershed Association (FoTW) are indicated by an asterisk.

Development

The Town of Perth Official Plan Amendment (2009) has generally changed the land use designation in the northwest quadrant of the Town of Perth (area of the Town that is north of Highway 7, east of Highway 511 and south of the Blueberry Marsh) from Commercial Highway to Residential. This has required the annexation of approximately 30 hectares of land from Drummond/North Elmsley Township and the need to undertake an infrastructure master plan (initiated in 2010) to provide direction for the servicing of these lands for water, wastewater, stormwater and transportation. PM (update;achievements?)

Approval of the Blueberry Creek Forest School construction has indicated a general lack of public understanding of municipal (and other agency) liability arising from approval of development on unstable or hazardous property, including floodplain.* PM

Headwaters/In-stream Habitat/Shorelines

Blueberry Creek catchment watercourses ( including Blueberry Creek) have 74 percent of the total length of their shoreline composed of natural vegetation). This is below the recommended 30 metre wide, naturally vegetated shoreline buffer target to be aimed for along 75 percent of the length of the catchment’s watercourses (see Section 4.4 of this report).

Blueberry Creek catchment headwater and tributary streams ( excluding Blueberry Creek) have 71 percent of the total length of their shoreline composed of natural vegetation. This is below the recommended 30 metre wide, naturally vegetated shoreline buffer target to be aimed for along 75 percent of the length of the catchment’s watercourses (see Section 4.4 of this report). 

Five of eleven sampled headwater stream sites have been modified (two are channelized; three are ditched)(see Section 3.4.2 of this report).

Fish​ migration is hampered because of existing barriers to movement identified along Blueberry Creek. JL

Land Cover

Land cover has changed across the catchment (2008 to 2014) largely as a result of an increase in the area of settlement (9 ha.) and aggregate extraction (3 ha.) and loss of woodland (6 ha.) and crop and pastureland (6 ha.)(see Section 4.1 of this report).

Wetlands have declined by 38 percent since European pre-settlement and now cover 39 percent (1561 ha.) of the catchment (in 2014). Fifteen percent (246 ha.) of these wetlands remain unevaluated/unregulated and are vulnerable to drainage and land clearing activities in the absence of any regulatory and planning controls that would otherwise protect them for the many important hydrological, social, biological and ecological functions/services/values they provide to landowners and the surrounding community (see Section 4.3 of this report).

Woodlands cover 25 percent of the catchment, which is less than the 30 percent of forest cover that is identified as the minimum threshold for sustaining forest birds and other woodland dependent species (see Section 4.2 of this report).

Water Levels

Stream flows (high, low and base) are unrecorded along Blueberry Creek.

Water Quality

Blueberry Creek surface chemistry water quality rating is Fair to Good at the Christie Lake Road crossing. The score at this site is largely influenced by continuous, high nutrient concentrations for TKN and occassional, elevated TP concentrations along with occassional metal (Aluminium) exceedances (see Section 2.1 of this report).

Blueberry Creek instream biological water quality conditions range from Poor to Fair at the Christie Lake Road crossing. Samples are dominated with benthic invertebrate species that are moderately tolerant and tolerant to high organic pollution levels (see Section 3.3.1 of this report).