5.0 Bobs and Crow Lake Catchments: Stewardship and Water Resources Protection

The RVCA and its partners are working to protect and enhance environmental conditions in the Tay River Watershed. Figure 128 shows the location of all stewardship projects completed in the Bobs Lake catchment and Figure 129 shows the location of all stewardship projects completed in the Crow Lake catchment.

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Figure 128 Stewardship site locations in the Bobs Lake catchment
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Figure 129 Stewardship site locations in the Crow Lake catchment

5.1 Rural Clean Water

The Rural Clean Water Program provides technical and financial assistance to farmers and other rural landowners, to aid in the implementation of projects that protect water quality. Funding is granted to those projects that support best management practices for application in the protection and improvement of surface and ground water resources.  The program also supports climate change adaptation and low impact development projects as well as educating rural landowners about environmental stewardship of private property. Examples of supported projects include livestock exclusion fencing, controlled tile drainage, cover crops, erosion control, well related projects, and many more. For a list of eligible projects and to apply for funding, see Rural Clean Water.

In the Bobs Lake Catchment from 2011 to 2016, four erosion control projects, four windbreaks/buffers, and two septic system repairs were completed; prior to this, three septic system repairs, two erosion control projects and one windbreak/buffer had been completed. When combined, these projects are keeping 4.84 kilograms of Phosphorus out of our lakes, rivers and streams every year. Total value of all 16 projects is $93,593 with $25,868 of that amount funded through grant dollars from the RVCA.

In the Crow Lake Catchment from 2011 to 2016, five windbreaks/buffers and three erosion control projects were completed; prior to this, one septic system repairs was completed. When combined, these projects are keeping 37.46 kilograms of Phosphorus out of our lakes, rivers and streams each year. Total value of all nine projects is $24,859 with $12,996 of that amount funded through grant dollars from the RVCA.

5.2 Private Land Forestry

Forest cover and tree planting continues to be one of the most widely supported strategies to improve our environment. The many benefits of forest cover include carbon sequestration, flood mitigation and water quality improvement as well as providing wildlife habitat.

Through the RVCA's Trees for Tomorrow Program, 27,550 trees have been planted in the Bobs Lake Catchment at three sites from 2011 to 2016; prior to this, no trees have been planted in the catchment with the program's assistance. This has resulted in the reforestation of 14 hectares at a total project value of $58,992 with $52,767 of that amount coming from fundraising sources.

An additional 10 butternut trees were planted through the RVCA Butternut Recovery Program in the Bobs Lake Catchment as part of efforts to introduce healthy seedlings from tolerant butternuts into various locations across Eastern Ontario.

In the Crow Lake Catchment prior to 2005, 500 trees were planted for a total project value of $500. No other trees have been planted since then using the services of the Trees for Tomorrow Program.

For more information about the Program and landowner eligibility, please see the following: Tree Planting in the Rideau Valley Watershed and Trees for Tomorrow.

5.3 Shoreline Naturalization

Natural shoreline buffers rich in native plants are critically important to protecting the health of our lakes, rivers and streams. Shoreline vegetation protects water quality and aquatic habitat by intercepting potentially harmful contaminants such as nutrients, pollutants and sediment, regulating water temperatures, slowing runoff and providing important fish and wildlife habitat. Natural shorelines also help improve climate change resiliency by increasing flood storage and providing protection from erosion during extreme weather events.

Though the RVCA’s Shoreline Naturalization Program, landowners (private and public property owners) have naturalized more than 2.3 km of shoreline in the Tay Watershed by planting over 10,563 native trees and shrubs at 96 sites since 2008. A number of these projects have been undertaken in partnership with community groups like the Greater Bobs and Crow Lakes Association.

In the Bobs Lake Catchment, a total of 1034 native trees and shrubs have been planted along 260 metres of shoreline at an average buffer width of three metres for a total project value of $8,081. 

In the Crow Lake Catchment, a total of 446 native trees and shrubs have been planted along 147 metres of shoreline at an average buffer width of four metres for a total project value of $5,284.

5.4 Septic System Re-inspection

Septic system re-inspection is provided by the RVCA through the Mississippi Rideau Septic System Office at the request of South Frontenac and Tay Valley Townships.

Since 2004, the service has performed 151 mandatory and voluntary septic system re-inspections on 119 properties in the Bobs Lake catchment, of which, one hundred and forty-nine mandatory inspections were conducted on 117 properties around Bobs Lake in Tay Valley Township along with other two voluntary re-inspections on two properties in the Township of South Frontenac.

Remedial/maintenance work (i.e. pump outs and baffle replacements that generally do not require a permit) was recommended for 27 of those inspections; two more inspections resulted in additional information being supplied to landowners and one other inspection identified the need for a septic system replacement.

5.5 Valley, Stream, Wetland and Hazard Lands

The Bobs Lake Catchment covers 132 square kilometres with 9.3 square kilometres (or seven percent) of the drainage area being within the regulation limit of Ontario Regulation 174/06 (Figure 130), giving protection to wetland areas and river or stream valleys that are affected by flooding and erosion hazards.

Wetlands occupy 11 square kilometres (or 21 percent) of the catchment. Of these wetlands, two square kilometres (or 18 percent) are designated as provincially significant and included within the RVCA regulation limit. This leaves the remaining 9 sq. km (or 82 percent) of wetlands in the catchment outside the regulated area limit.

Of the 324.3 kilometres of stream in the catchment, regulation limit mapping has been plotted along 22.8 kilometers of streams (representing seven percent of all streams in the catchment). Some of these regulated streams (16.4 km) flow through regulated wetlands; the remaining 6.4 kilometres of regulated streams are located outside of those wetlands. Plotting of the regulation limit on the remaining 301.5 kilometres (or 93 percent) of streams requires identification of flood and erosion hazards and valley systems.

Within those areas of the Bobs Lake 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.

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Figure 130 Regulated natural features and hazards in the Bobs Lake catchment

The Crow Lake Catchment covers 50.7 square kilometres and contains 18 square kilometres of wetland along with 131.9 kilometres of stream. None of these natural features are subject to the regulation limit of Ontario Regulation 174/06 (Figure 78) for the protection of wetland areas and river or stream valleys that are affected by flooding and erosion hazards.

For areas where no regulation limit exists, protection of the catchment’s watercourses is provided through the “alteration to waterways” provision of the regulation.

RegulatedFeaturesNewTay-RiverCrow-Lake-001-001Figure 131 Regulated natural features and hazards in the Crow Lake catchment

5.6 Vulnerable Drinking Water Areas

Mississippi-Rideau Source Water Protection Program has mapped several small areas of the Bobs Lake Catchment as a Significant Groundwater Recharge Area and all of the catchment as a Highly Vulnerable Aquifer (HVA). 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. There are no Well-Head Protection Areas in the catchment.

Mississippi-Rideau Source Water Protection Program has not mapped any area of the Crow Lake Catchment as a Significant Groundwater Recharge Area. It has, however, mapped all of the catchment as a Highly Vulnerable Aquifer (HVA). 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. There are no Well-Head Protection Areas in the catchment.

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, visit the Mississippi-Rideau Source Protection Region website.