Etobicoke Creek Watershed Plan

Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) is embarking on the development of a new watershed plan for the Etobicoke Creek watershed that will use the latest science and data to inform municipal land use and infrastructure planning.

WATERSHED VISION

Etobicoke Creek watershed is protected and restored to a cleaner, healthier, and more natural state, to sustain its waterways, ecosystems, and human communities.

In the fall of 2020, TRCA engaged local stakeholders and residents on what they would like to see in a watershed vision, using an online survey. Variations of a vision based on these results were presented to the Steering Committee, consisting of the municipalities within the watershed, TRCA, Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, and the Greater Toronto Airport Authority.

This vision for Etobicoke Creek watershed reflects survey feedback and was agreed to by Steering Committee members.

Project Background

The Etobicoke Creek watershed is at the western end of TRCA’s jurisdiction and is heavily urbanized.

Select image below to view full-sized map.

map of Etobicoke Creek watershed

The development of this Etobicoke Creek watershed plan will be a collaborative effort between TRCA, City of Toronto, Region of Peel, City of Mississauga, City of Brampton, Town of Caledon, Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, and the Greater Toronto Airport Authority.

Public and stakeholder engagement will occur throughout the watershed planning process. To be involved, please join our mailing list:

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LAND USE IN ETOBICOKE CREEK WATERSHED:
2002 – 2019

2002
(area %)
2012
(area %)
2002–2012
(% change)
2019
(area %)
2012–2019
(% change)
Urban 53.4% 56.4% 5.6% 59.5% 5.4%
Rural* 32.5% 30.9% -5.0% 28.2% -8.5%
Natural 14.1% 12.7% -9.6% 12.3% -3.4%
Impervious Cover 42.9% 45.6% 6.3% 47.9% 4.9%

*Rural includes land use classifications such as agriculture, golf courses, open space, hydro corridors, etc. These types of land uses cannot be considered natural, nor can they be considered urban as they still have low amounts of impervious surfaces.

Select image below to view full-sized land use map.

land use map shows the increasing urbanization of the Etobicoke Creek watershed from 2012 to 2019

Etobicoke Creek Watershed Planning Process

Watershed planning helps to inform how land use and infrastructure planning influence and affect the natural ecology of the watershed.

The last watershed plan for Etobicoke Creek was completed in 2002. An update of implementation priorities, incorporating new information, was completed in 2010.

PROJECT TIMELINE

PURPOSE: Identifies the current conditions of the watershed (i.e. habitat and water quality, flooding and erosion issues).

Watershed Characterization Key Findings

WATER RESOURCE SYSTEM
Includes aquatic habitat, in-stream barriers, groundwater conditions, etc.

  • Among larger watersheds in TRCA’s jurisdiction (i.e. >200 km2), Etobicoke Creek has the second highest annual runoff at 402 mm/year, second only to the Don River.
  • The average habitat health rating for fish is “fair” and for benthic communities is “poor”. There has been little to no change in aquatic habitat quality since 2002.
  • There are a large number of in-stream barriers that prevent the movement of species and only approximately 49.6% natural cover within the riparian corridor (i.e. within 30 metres of streams).

NATURAL HERITAGE SYSTEM/URBAN FOREST
Includes habitat quantity and quality, tree canopy, sensitive species, etc.

  • Approximately 11.7% of the watershed consists of natural cover (not including water), which is similar to other heavily urbanized watersheds, with natural cover continuing to decrease (e.g. forest cover).
  • Generally, habitat quality is poor with some fair quality habitat in the headwaters, but the watershed still supports regional biodiversity including some sensitive plant and animal species, primarily in the headwaters.
  • Approximately 39% and 18% of the watershed is a priority for regional and local connectivity among habitat patches, respectively.
  • Existing natural cover is highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change in urban areas.
  • Urban forest canopy cover (i.e. trees and tall shrubs) is 14.7% and has remained stable from 2009 to 2018.

WATER QUALITY
Includes parameters of concern relative to Provincial Water Quality Objectives (PWQO) or Canadian Water Quality Guideline (CWQG).

  • Surface water quality is generally poor compared to other TRCA watersheds. Contaminants of particular concern include:
    • Chlorides (e.g. from road salts)
    • Phosphorus (e.g. from fertilizers)
    • E. coli bacteria (e.g. from sewage/animal wastes)
    • Metals such as copper and zinc (e.g. from industrial sources and/or roadways)
  • Exceedances of chlorides and nitrates in groundwater were observed.

NATURAL HAZARDS
Includes flooding and erosion.

  • There are six flood vulnerable clusters (FVCs) with a total area of 508 hectares (ha).
  • Most of the watershed can be categorized as medium or high erosion sensitivity.

READ THE FULL WATERSHED CHARACTERIZATION REPORT

 

PURPOSE: Examines different potential future land use scenarios to understand how watershed conditions will change.

diagram illustrating the process TRCA will use to examine various potential future land use scenarios

 

PURPOSE: Identifies measures to protect, enhance, and restore the watershed based on results from the Watershed Characterization and Future Management Scenarios stages.

 

Contact Us

If you have any questions about the development of the Etobicoke Creek Watershed Plan, please email us at etobicoke@trca.ca