Surface water quality data is collected at 9 monitoring sites as part of the Provincial Surface Water Monitoring Network. Generally, surface water quality within the region ranges from fair to good but grading was limited to only 5 of 12 watersheds. These results are based on phosphorus and benthic invertebrate data only as E. coli is not currently collected as part of our monitoring program.
What we need to do? Additional surface water monitoring sites are required for all 12 watersheds within the region and E.coli sampling needs to be initiated in order to determine grades for the entire watershed region.
Good news! Starting in 2018, 9 new sampling sites will be added to the surface water monitoring program and E. coli analysis will be completed for all 18 sampling sites. This means that Lower Trent Conservation will have sufficient data to grade surface water for the entire watershed region for the next Watershed Report Card in five years.
Forest conditions in most of the Lower Trent watershed region ranges from fair to good. Excellent forest conditions are found in the Rawdon Creek and Mayhew Creek watersheds with almost half of the areas forested.
Approximately 35% of the entire watershed is forested which is above Conservation Ontario’s recommended minimum target for overall forest cover. Unfortunately, only 7% of the forested area is classified as forest interior (large wooded areas inside the 100 metres forest’s outside edge) and 43% of the riparian (streamside) area forested, both which are below Conservation Ontario’s minimum targets of 10% and 50% respectively.
What we need to do? Reforestation efforts need to be directed at planting trees between small wooded areas to increase the size of forested areas (forest interior) and along the shoreline of streams, rivers and lakes (riparian).
To complete a more comprehensive assessment of forest conditions using a consistent set of forest cover data for the entire watershed region, Lower Trent Conservation will seek opportunities to complete Ecological Land Classification mapping for Hastings County.
The availability of Ecological Land Classification data for Northumberland County allowed Lower Trent Conservation to grade 7 of 12 watersheds. Approximately 14% of the graded area is covered by wetlands which is above the Environment Canada’s recommended minimum target for wetland cover.
Of the 7 graded watersheds, 5 were assigned “A” grades, with the remainder assigned “B” grades. While development pressures are higher in the Lake Iroquois Plain Tributaries, the watershed obtained an “A” grade due to the presence of large coastal wetlands.
What we need to do? To grade wetland cover across the entire watershed region, Lower Trent Conservation will seek opportunities to complete Ecological Land Classification mapping for Hastings County and the City of Quinte West.
To protect existing wetlands, Lower Trent Conservation will continue to provide advice to local municipalities and the public regarding development and administer our Development, Interference with Wetlands and Alternations to Shorelines and Watercourses Regulation.