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5.0 Pike Lake Catchment: Stewardship and Water Resources Protection

The RVCA and its partners are working to protect and enhance environmental conditions in the Tay River Watershed. Figure 45 shows the location of all stewardship projects completed in the Pike Lake catchment.

Figure 45 Stewardship site locations in the Pike Lake catchment

5.1 Rural Clean Water

The Rural Clean Water Program provides technical and financial assistance to farmers and other rural landowners, to aid in the implementation of projects that protect water quality. Funding is granted to those projects that support best management practices for application in the protection and improvement of surface and ground water resources.  The program also supports climate change adaptation and low impact development projects as well as educating rural landowners about environmental stewardship of private property. Examples of supported projects include livestock exclusion fencing, controlled tile drainage, cover crops, erosion control, well related projects, and many more. For a list of eligible projects and to apply for funding, see Rural Clean Water.

In the Pike Lake catchment from 2011 to 2016, two septic system repairs, two erosion control projects, two windbreaks/buffers, one well upgrade and one fuel storage and handling facility were completed; prior to this, seven septic system repairs and two well upgrades had been completed. When combined, these projects are keeping 4.81 kilograms of Phosphorus out of our lakes, rivers and streams every year. Total value of all 17 projects is $128,554 with $18,779 of that amount funded through grant dollars from the RVCA.

5.2 Private Land Forestry

Forest cover and tree planting continues to be one of the most widely supported strategies to improve our environment. The many benefits of forest cover include carbon sequestration, flood mitigation and water quality improvement as well as providing wildlife habitat.

Through the RVCA's Trees for Tomorrow Program (and its predecessors), 11,000 trees were planted at two sites from 2011 to 2016; prior to this, 10,930 trees were planted at three sites. In total, 21,930 trees have been planted resulting in the reforestation of 12 hectares. Total project value of all five projects in the Pike Lake catchment is $49,735 with $44,549 of that amount coming from fundraising sources. For more information about the Program and landowner eligibility, please see the following: Tree Planting in the Rideau Valley Watershed and Trees for Tomorrow.

An additional 110 butternut trees were planted through the RVCA Butternut Recovery Program as part of efforts to introduce healthy seedlings from tolerant butternuts into various locations across Eastern Ontario.

 5.3 Shoreline Naturalization

Natural shoreline buffers rich in native plants are critically important to protecting the health of our lakes, rivers and streams. Shoreline vegetation protects water quality and aquatic habitat by intercepting potentially harmful contaminants such as nutrients, pollutants and sediment, regulating water temperatures, slowing runoff and providing important fish and wildlife habitat. Natural shorelines also help improve climate change resiliency by increasing flood storage and providing protection from erosion during extreme weather events.

Though the RVCA’s Shoreline Naturalization Program, landowners (private and public property owners) have naturalized more than 2.3 kilometres of shoreline in the Tay Watershed by planting over 10,563 native trees and shrubs at 96 sites since 2008. 

In the Pike Lake catchment, 814 native trees and shrubs have been planted along 180 metres of shoreline for a total project value of $9,507.

5.4 Septic System Re-inspection

Septic system re-inspection is provided by the RVCA through the Mississippi Rideau Septic System Office at the request of Rideau Lakes and Tay Valley Townships. From 2004 to 2017, the service has performed 316 mandatory and voluntary septic system re-inspections on 237 properties in the Pike Lake catchment, of which, 61 voluntary re-inspections were conducted on 58 properties around Crosby and Little Crosby Lake along with 255 mandatory re-inspections at 180 properties around Pike Lake. 

Remedial/maintenance work (i.e. pump outs and baffle replacements that generally do not require a permit) was advocated for 34 of the Crosby and Little Crosby Lake re-inspections with more information being requested during four other inspections; no septic system replacements were identified as being needed at the Crosby and Little Crosby Lake inspections. On Pike Lake, remedial/maintenance work was recommended during 64 inspections, septic system replacements required at eight inspections along with more information being requested during another seven inspections.


5.5 Fish Habitat Improvement

Three fish habitat projects have been completed in Pike Lake with funding provided by the Ministry of Natural Resources Community Fisheries and Wildlife Involvement Program. The Pike Lake Community Association applied for and received $4000.00 for these improvements in 2012.

5.6 Valley, Stream, Wetland and Hazard Lands

The Pike Lake catchment covers 62 square kilometres with 11.6 square kilometres (or 19 percent) of the drainage area being within the regulation limit of Ontario Regulation 174/06 (Figure 46), giving protection to wetland areas and river or stream valleys that are affected by flooding and erosion hazards.

Wetlands occupy 12 square kilometres (or 23 percent) of the catchment. Of these wetlands, four square kilometres (or 33 percent) are designated as provincially significant and included within the RVCA regulation limit. This leaves the remaining 8 sq. km (or 67 percent) of wetlands in the catchment outside the regulated area limit.

Of the 197.7 kilometres of stream in the catchment, regulation limit mapping has been plotted along 39.7 kilometers of streams (representing 20 percent of all streams in the catchment). Some of these regulated streams (27.9 km) flow through regulated wetlands; the remaining 11.9 kilometres of regulated streams are located outside of those wetlands. Plotting of the regulation limit on the remaining 157.9 kilometres (or 80 percent) of streams requires identification of flood and erosion hazards and valley systems.

Within those areas of the Pike Lake catchment subject to the regulation (limit), efforts (have been made and) continue through RVCA planning and regulations input and review to manage the impact of development (and other land management practices) in areas where “natural hazards” are associated with rivers, streams, valley lands and wetlands. For areas beyond the regulation limit, protection of the catchment’s watercourses is only provided through the “alteration to waterways” provision of the regulation.

Figure 46 Regulated natural features and hazards in the Pike Lake catchment

5.7 Vulnerable Drinking Water Areas

Mississippi-Rideau Source Water Protection Program has mapped only one very small part of the Pike Lake catchment as a Significant Groundwater Recharge Areas and all of the catchment as a Highly Vulnerable Aquifer. This means that the nature of the overburden (thin soils, fractured bedrock) does not provide a high level of protection for the underlying groundwater making the aquifer more vulnerable to contaminants released on the surface. There are no Well-Head Protection Areas in the catchment.

The Mississippi-Rideau Source Protection Plan includes policies that focus on the protection of groundwater region-wide due to the fact that most of the region, which encompasses the Mississippi and Rideau watersheds, is considered Highly Vulnerable Aquifer. For detailed maps and policies that have been developed to protect drinking water sources, visit the Mississippi-Rideau Source Protection Region website.