1.0 Perth Catchment: Facts
1.1 General/Physical Geography
21.4 square kilometres; occupies 2.7 percent of the Tay River subwatershed; 0.5 percent of the Rideau Valley watershed.
The Perth catchment resides predominantly within the physiographic region known as the Smith Falls Limestone Plain, which is a broad flat poorly drained region underlain by thin soils, dolostone and sandstone. A veneer of glacial drift (glacial till, sand etc.) overlies the bedrock and a number of geologic faults may run through this catchment.
Drummond/North Elmsley Township: (13.2 km2; 62% of catchment)
Town of Perth (7.9 km2; 37% of catchment)
Tay Valley Township (0.2 km2; 1% of catchment)
All watercourses (including headwater streams): 35.1 km
1.2 Vulnerable Areas
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 Perth catchment.
1.3 Conditions at a Glance
One aggregate license in the Perth catchment.
Fish Community/Thermal Regime
Warm and cool water recreational and baitfish fishery with 27 species observed in the Tay River during 2017.
Headwater Drainage Features
Multiple classifications of headwaters containing wetland, natural and undefined features along with historical modifications in the form of straightening (i.e., channelization).
Tay River: Low to high habitat complexity was identified along the Tay River in the catchment. Regions with increased habitat complexity were observed in the upper and middle reaches of the system. Dissolved oxygen conditions along the system are fairly uniform for both warm and coolwater fish species.
|Catchment-Wide||Percent||Tay River - Town||Percent||Streams*||Percent|
Significant Natural Features
Grants Creek Provincially Significant Wetland
Perth Long Swamp Provincially Significant Wetland
|Status||Species at Risk|
|Tay River||@ Rogers Rd.||@ Gore St.||@ Craig St.|
|WQ Rating||Fair to Good||Good||Fair to Good|
Approximately 350 operational, private water wells are to be found in the Perth catchment. Groundwater uses are mainly domestic but also include irrigation, industrial, livestock and commercial water supplies and monitoring wells.
Perth Catchment: Wetlands are reported to have covered 57 percent of the Perth catchment prior to European settlement, as compared to 32 percent (or 6.8 square kilometres) of the area in 2014. This represents a 44 percent (or 5.4 square kilometre) loss of historic wetland cover. Sixty-three percent of the remaining wetlands are regulated leaving 37 percent (or 2.5 square kilometers) unregulated.
Town of Perth: Wetlands are reported to have covered 61 percent of the Town of Perth prior to European settlement, as compared to 26 percent (or 3.2 square kilometres) of the area in 2014. This represents a 57 percent (or 4.2 square kilometre) loss of historic wetland cover. Eighty-six percent of the remaining wetlands are regulated leaving 14 percent (or 46 ha.) unregulated.
1.4 Catchment Care
The Town of Perth has an established interest and commitment to environmental stewardship (including the application of innovative, water resources best management practices) as articulated in its Official Plan (2016 Consolidation) and Strategic Plan (2015). The basic premise for community sustainability is that environmental health is critical to human beings and to the wide diversity of plant and animal species with which we co-exist. The quality of our communities and standard of living depends on the air we breathe and the water that we drink, as well as the quality of the soil in the backyards where we play and in the fields and gardens from which our food is produced. In the coming years, human prosperity will depend on the health of the natural environment and the quality of human managed spaces.
The Town of Perth's vision for development embraces the concept of sustainable development through land use and infrastructure development decisions and operational practices that integrate human needs with the natural and built environment. Land use approvals and infrastructure redevelopment decisions will include sustainable design measures for transportation, infrastructure, waste management, energy systems and will strive for the efficient use of natural resources and preservation of historic, cultural and natural heritage features. The vision intends to be adaptive to innovative design and human activities that support sustainability.
The Town of Perth has completed a number of significant water resources projects to protect the surface water quality of the Tay River, in keeping with its vision for sustainable development and commitment to environmental stewardship, including:
- enhanced removal of total suspended solids during the treatment of drinking water at the Town's water treatment facility, which meets the provincial standard for water discharged to the Tay River (see Section 6.0 of this report)
- an intensive wet weather flow reduction program (e.g., sewer repairs/sealing; combined sewer elimination), which has reduced average inflows to the Town's wastewater lagoon system
- enhanced polishing of sewage waste from the Town's existing wastewater lagoon system using the SAGR system (see Section 6.0 of this report)
Development in, and adjacent to, the Perth Long Swamp and Grants Creek Provincially Significant Wetlands in the catchment are subject to Ontario Regulation 174-06 (entitled “Development, Interference with Wetlands and Alterations to Shorelines and Watercourses”) that protects the hydrologic function of the wetland and also protects landowners and their property from natural hazards (flooding, fluctuating water table, unstable soils) associated with them.
Ten active Permits To Take Water (PTTW) are located in the southwestern part of this catchment along with one other active PTTW in its northern part, all for municipal water supply, golf course irrigation, condo heat pumps, groundwater remediation, industrial use and aggregate operations.
Several Environmental Compliance Approvals and Environmental Activity and Sector Registries were sought in this catchment for municipal drinking water systems and sewage works along with construction dewatering.
Town of Perth actively monitors surface water released to the Tay River as part of the Town's commitment to applying best environmental management practices through the treatment of its drinking water and sanitary/storm sewer discharge.
Chemical surface (in-stream) water quality collection by the RVCA since 2003 (see Section 2.1 of this report).
Fish survey and stream characterization survey by the RVCA on the Tay River in 2017 included taking measurements and recording observations on instream habitat, bank stability, other attributes and preparing a temperature profile (see Section 3 of this report).
Seven 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 Perth catchment land cover types derived by the RVCA from colour aerial photography that was acquired during the spring of 2008 and 2014 (see Section 4.1 of this report).
Twenty-seven stewardship projects were completed by landowners with assistance from the RVCA (see Section 5 of this report).