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5.0 Grants Creek Catchment: Stewardship and Water Resources Protection

The RVCA and its partners are working to protect and enhance environmental conditions in the Tay River Watershed. Figure 67 shows the location of all stewardship projects completed in the Grants Creek catchment.

Figure 67 Stewardship site locations in the Grants Creek 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 Grants Creek catchment from 2011 to 2016, two livestock fencing projects were completed; prior to this, five septic system repairs, five livestock fencing projects and one well upgrade had been completed. When combined, these projects are keeping 17.34 kilograms of Phosphorus out of our lakes, rivers and streams every year. Total value of all 13 projects is $55,005 with $29,509 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 (and its predecessors), 39,050 trees were planted at five sites prior to 2011, resulting in the reforestation of 19 hectares. Total value of all projects in the Grants Creek catchment is $82,174 with $40,355 of that amount coming from fundraising sources. For more information about the Program and landowner eligibility, please see the following: Tree Planting in the Rideau Valley Watershed and Trees for Tomorrow.

An additional 25 butternut trees were planted through the RVCA Butternut Recovery Program as part of efforts to introduce healthy seedlings from tolerant butternuts into various locations across Eastern Ontario.

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.

As of the end of 2016, no shoreline projects had been carried out in the Grants Creek catchment. Landowners may wish to take advantage of the RVCA's Shoreline Naturalization Program to assist them with the naturalization of their shorelines to see the benefits noted above (and more).

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 Tay Valley Township. From 2004 to 2017, the service has performed 41 voluntary septic system re-inspections on 41 properties along Grants Creek in the Grants Creek catchment .

Remedial/maintenance work (i.e. pump outs and baffle replacements that generally do not require a permit) was advocated for 14 of the septic systems inspected along with one septic system replacement at another property.

5.5 Valley, Stream, Wetland and Hazard Lands

The Grants Creek catchment covers 31.1 square kilometres with 5.6 square kilometres (or 18 percent) of the drainage area being within the regulation limit of Ontario Regulation 174/06 (Figure 68), giving protection to wetland areas and river or stream valleys that are affected by flooding and erosion hazards.

Wetlands occupy 4.9 square kilometres (or 15.7 percent) of the catchment. Of these wetlands, 3.3 square kilometres (or 67.3 percent) are designated as provincially significant and included within the RVCA regulation limit. This leaves the remaining 1.6 square kilometres (or 32.7 percent) of wetlands in the catchment outside the regulated area limit.

Of the 63.2 kilometres of stream in the catchment, regulation limit mapping has been plotted along 12.5 kilometers of streams (representing 19.8 percent of all streams in the catchment). Some of these regulated streams (10.7 km) flow through regulated wetlands; the remaining five kilometres of regulated streams are located outside of those wetlands. Plotting of the regulation limit on the remaining 50.7 kilometres (or 80.2 percent) of streams requires identification of flood and erosion hazards and valley systems.

Within those areas of the Grants Creek 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.

Figure 68 Regulated natural features and hazards in the Grants Creek catchment

5.6 Vulnerable Drinking Water Areas

The Town of Perth’s municipal drinking water Intake Protection Zone (IPZ), specifically IPZ-2 with a vulnerability score of 8 and 9 is found within the Grants Creek catchment (Figure 68). As per the Mississippi-Rideau Source Protection Plan, policies may affect future development within these areas. Under Section 59 of the Clean Water Act, 2006, future applications under the Building Code and the Planning Act may be screened by the Mississippi-Rideau Risk Management Office. Depending on the proposed activity, additional requirements or restrictions may apply. For more information, please contact the Mississippi-Rideau Risk Management Office at (613) 692-3571.

In addition, the Mississippi-Rideau Source Protection Plan has mapped the central part of the Grants Creek catchment as within a Significant Groundwater Recharge Area and identified all of the catchment as 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. Highly Vulnerable Aquifers characterise 89% of the Region and are considered moderate to low drinking water threats with certain policies that apply; mainly policies regarding waste disposal. All property owners are encouraged to use best management practices to protect sources of municipal drinking water. For more information on source protection best management practices, please visit Protecting Your Drinking Water.