7.0 Grants Creek Catchment: Challenges/Issues
Achievements noted by the Friends of the Tay Watershed Association (FoTW) are indicated by an asterisk.
Grants Creek catchment watercourses ( including Grants Creek) have 60 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).
Grants Creek catchment headwater and tributary streams ( excluding Grants Creek) have 54 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).
Six of ten sampled headwater sites have been modified (i.e., channelized)(see Section 3.4.2 of this report).
Fish habitat is fragmented and fish migration is hampered because of existing water control structures along Grants Creek. This has resulted in complaints being received by the Friends of the Tay Watershed over the years that low flow on Grants Creek is impacting in-water fish and wildlife, said to be caused by inadequate release(s) from the Pike Lake Dam during low water conditions.*
Fencing across Grants Creek has been reported as an impediment to the safe navigation of the watercourse in a canoe.*
Land cover has changed across the catchment (2008 to 2014) largely as a result of an increase in the area of settlement (32 ha.) and loss of crop and pastureland (23 ha.) and woodland (9 ha.)(see Section 4.1 of this report).
Wetlands have declined by fifty-four percent since European pre-settlement and now cover 16 percent (490 ha.) of the catchment (in 2014). Thirty-three percent (162 ha.) of these wetlands remain unevaluated/unregulated and although they are not under imminent threat from development activity, they do remain 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 28 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).
Complaints have been received over the years that low flow on Grants Creek is impacting in-water wildlife, said to be caused by inadequate release of water from the Pike Lake Dam during low water times. The Friends of the Tay Watershed has questioned dam management with MNR, and also MOE regarding the monitoring of the water taking permit at Maple View Golf Course. The issue appears to be simply, inadequate summer flow through the system, but dam flow monitoring needs more attention.*
Stream flows (high, low and base) and water levels are unrecorded along Grants Creek.
Surface chemistry water quality ratings along Grants Creek range from Poor to Very Good. Only one of the five sampling sites at the Glen Tay Road crossing has a water quality rating from Poor to Fair (the other four sites range between Fair and Very Good). The score at this site is largely influenced by high nutrient (TP/TKN) concentrations, occasional bacterial (E.coli) and metal (Aluminium) exceedances (see Section 2.1 of this report).
Instream biological water quality conditions in Grants Creek range from Poor at the Pike Lake Dam to Fair at the Glen Tay Road crossing. Samples are highly variable with benthic invertebrate species that are sensitive and moderately tolerant to high organic pollution levels (see Section 3.3.1 of this report).
Fourteen (of 41) Tay Valley Township voluntary septic system re-inspections conducted from 2004 to 2017 in the Grants Creek catchment revealed the need for additional maintenance/remedial work to be performed. Another inspection identified the need to replace the existing septic system. Those properties with concerns are identified in the yearly report submitted by the Mississippi Rideau Septic System Office to the Township.
The impact of the auto-wrecking operation beside Grants Creek along with livestock access to Grants Creek in the vicinity of the Upper Scotch Line (at the Bowes Side Road) have been a concern for decades and the source of public complaints.*