1.0 Christie Lake Catchment: Facts
1.1 General/Physical Geography
65 square kilometres; occupies eight percent of the Tay River subwatershed; one percent of the Rideau Valley watershed.
Christie Lake 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. A veneer of glacial drift (glacial till, sand etc.) overlies the bedrock.
Rideau Lakes Township: (<1 km2; 0.5% of catchment)
Tay Valley Township: (65 km2; 99.5% of catchment)
All tributaries (including headwater streams): 194 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 Christie Lake catchment.
1.3 Conditions at a Glance
There are three aggregate licenses within the catchment along with some sand and gravel areas and secondary and tertiary significance.
Fish Community/Thermal Regime
Warm and cool water recreational and baitfish fishery with 22 species observed in the Tay River (Bolingbroke to Christie Lake) during 2016.
Headwater Drainage Features
Dominated by wetland and natural features with minimal modifications.
Tay River (Bolingbroke to Christie Lake): Moderate to high habitat complexity observed throughout the reaches of the system within the catchment. Dissolved oxygen conditions for the Tay River varied along the system for both warm and coolwater species.
Land Cover Change (2008 to 2014)
Land Cover Type (2014)
Shoreline Cover Type (30 m. riparian area; 2014)
|Catchment||Percent||Christie Lake||Percent||Davern Lake||Percent||Farren Lake||Percent||Little Silver Lake||Percent|
|O'Brien Lake||Percent||Rainbow Lake||Percent||Davern Creek||Percent||Tay River||Percent||Streams||Percent|
Significant Natural Features
Christie Lake Provincially Significant Wetland.
Christie Lake Regional Candidate Area of Natural and Scientific Interest, Life Science.
Maberly Bog Regional Candidate Area of Natural and Scientific Interest, Life Science.
Species at Risk (Elemental Occurrence)
|Status||Species at Risk|
|Threatened||Blanding's Turtle||Bobolink||Eastern Meadowlark||Least Bittern|
|Special Concern||Eastern Milksnake||Eastern Musk Turtle||Eastern Ribbonsnake||Snapping Turtle|
Water Quality for the Protection of Aquatic Life
|Water Quality Source||Christie Lake||Davern Lake||Farren Lake||Little Silver Lake||O'Brien Lake||Rainbow Lake||Tay River|
|Surface Chemistry||Good to Very Good||Good to Very Good||Fair to Good||Fair||Fair to Very Good||Fair to Good||Good to Very Good|
Tay River: Benthic invertebrate samples are dominated by species that are sensitive to high organic pollution levels.
Approximately 290 operational private water wells in the Christie Lake catchment. Groundwater uses are mainly domestic but also include livestock and public water supplies.
Wetlands are reported to have covered 15 percent of the Grants Creek catchment prior to European settlement, as compared to 14 percent (or 9.0 square kilometres) of the area in 2014. This represents a four percent (or 0.4 square kilometre) loss of historic wetland cover. Fourteen percent of the remaining wetlands are regulated leaving 87 percent (or 7.8 square kilometers) unregulated.
1.4 Catchment Care
The Christie Lake Association prepared the Christie Lake State of the Lake Report (2009), 2011 Lake Stewardship Guideline (2011) and Christie Lake Brochure (a planned 5 year update of the Lake Stewardship Guide); Farren Lake Property Owners' Association has prepared the Farren Lake State of the Lake Report (2009); Little Silver and Rainbow Lakes Property Owners Association has prepared the Little Silver and Rainbow Lake Stewardship Plan (2018). These plans and reports provide a summary of what is known about Christie Lake, Farren Lake and Little Silver and Rainbow Lakes, along with each lake community’s vision for their lakes and a list of each lake's main concerns and actions to address them.
Development along the Tay River (at its outlet from Christie Lake) is subject to 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.
Two Environmental Compliance Approvals in the catchment were sought for a camp sewage works and a waste management site.
Chemical surface (in-stream/lake) water quality collection by the RVCA since 2003 (see Section 2).
Benthic invertebrate (aquatic insect), surface (in-stream) water quality collection by the RVCA in the Tay River since 2005 (see Section 3.3.1).
Fish survey and stream characterization survey by the RVCA on the Tay River in 2017 taking measurements and recording observations on instream habitat, bank stability, other attributes and preparing a temperature profile (see Section 3).
Twenty-nine drainage feature assessments were conducted by the RVCA in 2016 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).
Classification of Christie Lake catchment land cover classes using data acquired during the spring of 2008 and 2014 from colour aerial photography (see Section 4.1).
The Mississippi Rideau Septic System Office has conducted 342 mandatory septic system re-inspections around Christie and Farren Lake, 126 mandatory and voluntary septic system re-inspections on Little Silver, Rainbow and Silver Lake and 42 voluntary re-inspections around Davern Lake, O'Brien Lake and along the Tay River reach in the catchment, from 2004 to 2017 (see Section 5.5).
Provincial groundwater level and chemistry data is available from a PGMN well located near the shore of Christie Lake (W252).
Thirty-nine stewardship projects were completed by landowners with assistance from the RVCA (see Section 5).