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1.0 Rudsdale Creek Catchment: Facts

1.1 General/Physical Geography

Tay Valley Township: (62 km2; 100% of catchment)


The Rudsdale Creek Catchment resides within part of the physiographic region known as the Algonquin Highlands.  In the Tay River Subwatershed, this ancient and hilly geologic region is made up of such Precambrian rocks as marble, conglomerates, and dark or colour banded granite-like rocks. An area of younger sandstone is located within the southern section of the catchment. A veneer of glacial drift (glacial till, sand etc.) overlies the bedrock except in the southern part of the catchment where bedrock is overlain by larger expanses of glacial till and clay. A geologic fault may run through the eastern section of the catchment.

Drainage Area

62 square kilometers:occupies 7.8 percent of the Tay River subwatershed and 1.5 percent of the Rideau Valley watershed.

Stream Length

All tributaries (including headwater streams): 132.7 kilometres

1.2 Vulnerable Areas

Aquifer Vulnerability

The Mississippi-Rideau Source Water Protection Program has mapped the southern part of this catchment as a Significant Groundwater Recharge Area (SGRA) and all of the catchment as a Highly Vulnerable Aquifer (HVA). 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 Rudsdale Creek catchment.

1.3 Conditions at a Glance


Four aggregate licenses in the Rudsdale 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 23 species observed in Rudsdale Creek during 2017.

Headwater Drainage Features

Primary classified as wetland and natural features with minimal modifications.  

Instream/Riparian Habitat

Rudsdale Creek: Low to high habitat complexity was identified for Rudsdale Creek. Regions with increased habitat complexity were observed in the lower reaches of the system within the catchment. Rudsdale Creek has a healthy diversity of plant types and levels throughout most of the surveyed sections; however there were areas with extensive vegetation which can have an impact on oxygen levels. Dissolved oxygen conditions along Rudsdale Creek varied along the system with sections in the lower reaches below levels to support aquatic life as well as areas in its upper reaches that support warm and cool water species .

Land Cover Change - Rudsdale Creek Catchment (2008 to 2014)
Catchment Crop-Pasture Woodland Meadow-Thicket Settlement Aggregate Wetland
Hectares -4 -3 -3 +5 +2 +2
Land Cover Type - Rudsdale Creek Catchment (2014)
Catchment Woodland Crop-Pasture Wetland Settlement Meadow-Thicket Transportation Water Aggregate
Percent 47 26 16 4 3 3 1 <1
Shoreline Cover Type (30 m. riparian area; 2014)
Catchment-Wide Percent Rudsdale Creek Percent Streams* Percent
Wetland 39 Wetland 59 Woodland 40
Woodland 37 Woodland 18 Wetland 35
Crop-Pasture 18 Crop-Pasture 13 Crop-Pasture 20
Transportation 2 Meadow-Thicket 5 Transportation 2
Meadow-Thicket 2 Transportation 3 Settlement 2
Settlement 2 Settlement 2 Meadow-Thicket 1
Aggregate <1 --- --- --- ---
*Excludes Rudsdale Creek

Significant Natural Features


Species at Risk (Elemental Occurrence)
Status Species at Risk
Threatened Blanding's Turtle Bobolink Eastern Meadowlark Least Bittern
Water Quality for the Protection of Aquatic Life
Water Quality Source Rudsdale Creek
Surface Chemistry Fair to Good
Instream Biological Poor


Rudsdale Creek: Benthic invertebrate samples are dominated by species that are tolerant to high organic pollution levels at the Lanark County Road 6 monitoring location.

Water Wells

Approximately 345 operational, private water wells are to be found in the Rudsdale Creek catchment. Groundwater uses are mainly domestic but also include industrial, livestock and public water supplies. 

Wetland Cover

Wetlands are reported to have covered 33 percent of the Rudsdale Creek catchment prior to European settlement, as compared to 16 percent (or 10 square kilometres) of the area in 2014. This represents a 51 percent (or 10 square kilometre) loss of historic wetland cover. All are unevaluated and unregulated.

1.4 Catchment Care

Environmental Management

Rudsdale Creek and its tributaries are protected through the “alteration to waterways” provision of Ontario Regulation 174-06 (entitled “Development, Interference with Wetlands and Alterations to Shorelines and Watercourses”) that protects landowners and their property from natural hazards (flooding, fluctuating water table, unstable soils) associated with them.

Environmental Monitoring

Chemical surface (in-stream/lake) water quality collection by the RVCA since 2003 (see Section 2 of this report).

Benthic invertebrate (aquatic insect) surface (in-stream) water quality collection by the RVCA in Rudsdale Creek since 2003 (see Section 3.3.1 of this report).

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

Thirty-two 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 Rudsdale Creek catchment land cover classes using data acquired during the spring of 2008 and 2014 from colour aerial photography (see Section 4.1 of this report).

Provincial groundwater level and chemistry, air pressure and precipitation data is available from an MOE Provincial Groundwater Monitoring Network site located near Glen Tay (W083). Provincial groundwater chemistry information is also available from one Ontario Geological Survey well (#13-AG-002) in this catchment.


Twenty-one stewardship projects undertaken (see Section 5 of this report).