7.0 Rudsdale Creek Catchment: Challenges/Issues
The lower channel of Rudsdale Creek near its mouth at the Tay River was substantially altered many years ago by a landowner excavating several deep channels into the edge of this watercourse, apparently for a planned residential development. As Rudsdale Creek is seldom travelled by water, the damage done was not observed until many years later; too late for proper remedial action to be taken. The Friends of the Tay Watershed Association believes that this type of damage would not be missed now with the present level of water qualty testing and stream assessment monitoring that is now in place for Rudsdale Creek and other such catchment areas.
Distribution of naturally vegetated shorelines is uneven across the Rudsdale Creek catchment, even though its headwater and tributary streams have more than 75 percent naturally vegetated shoreline cover (see Section 4.4 of this report).
Nine of 31 sampled headwater stream sites have been modified (four are ditched, three are channelized and two are ponded)(see Section 3.4.2 of this report).
Land cover has changed across the catchment (2008 to 2014) as a result of an increase in the area of settlement (5 ha.), aggregate extraction (2 ha.) and wetland (2 ha.) and loss of crop and pastureland (4 ha.), woodland (3 ha.) and meadow-thicket (3 ha.)(see Section 4.1 of this report).
Wetlands have declined by fifty-one percent since European pre-settlement and now cover 16 percent (996 ha.) of the catchment (in 2014). One hundred percent (996 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.
Surface chemistry water quality rating along Rudsdale Creek ranges from Fair to Good at the Christie Lake Road crossing. Results from this monitored site show that nutrient enrichment is a feature of Rudsdale Creek. Elevated nutrients may result in nutrient loading downstream and to the Tay River. Of the metals routinely monitored in Rudsdale Creek, iron (Fe) occasionally reported concentrations above the Provincial Water Quality Objective. In elevated concentrations, this metal can have toxic effects on sensitive aquatic species (see Section 2.1 of this report).
Instream biological water quality condition in Rudsdale Creek is Poor at the Christie Lake Road crossing. Samples are dominated with benthic invertebrate species that are tolerant to high organic pollution levels (see Section 3.3.1 of this report).