ORCA Seeking Feedback on Floodplain Mapping Project

Otonabee Regional Conservation Authority (ORCA) has undertaken extensive floodplain mapping projects in seven high priority areas within the Otonabee Region watershed. Floodplain mapping has been created in study areas within Meade, Curtis, Jackson, and Baxter Creeks, North and South Kawartha Lakes, Ouse River in Norwood and for several tributaries around Lakefield.

The Otonabee Region Watershed covers 1,951 km  and is composed of 8 municipalities with 105,000 people living within its boundaries. It spans from the Kawartha Lakes in the north to Rice Lake in the south and from Pontypool in the southwest to Norwood on the East.

The main sub-watersheds within the ORCA boundaries are the Otonabee River, Indian River, Ouse River, Rice Lake/Trent River, and the east & west Kawartha Lakes, with several minor sub-watersheds within the region.  ORCA designated seven high priority study areas where they are creating floodplain mapping.  Two of them fall within Cavan-Monaghan.

Jackson Creek originates in the Mount Pleasant area of Cavan-Monaghan Township and flows through what is known as the Cavan Bog. These waters make their way to Peterborough along the Jackson Creek Trail and ultimately flow through the downtown core into the Otonabee River.

Jackson Creek’s large wetland and swamp areas help dissipate flood waters and impacts downstream. However, due to historical development through the downtown, the Creek has become channelized and its banks and floodplain have been developed.  The study area includes the upper portion of Jackson Creek from the Jackson Creek Weir to west of Highway #7 and the eastern edges of the Cavan Bog.

The second high priority area in our township incorporates Baxter Creek, which originates near the northern edge of the Ganaraska Forest, flowing northward from the Oak Ridges Moraine and eventually draining into the Otonabee River south of Whitfield Landing. This is a special cold-water stream that provides habitat for many trout species. Along the stream there is a long history of dam and mill construction dating back to the 1800’s. The re-constructed dam at Needler’s Mill in the Village of Millbrook is owned by ORCA.  The study area for Baxter Creek extends from the Otonabee River along the main branch and through the Village of Millbrook (about 28 km). It includes all tributaries (about 49 km), which have an upstream drainage area of 125+ Ha, including the headwater areas of the Oak Ridges Moraine.

The objective of floodplain mapping is to identify the areas expected to be inundated during extreme high-water events. Floodplain maps use data and technical models to predict the path of floodwaters—the area known as the floodplain. It is important to remember that a floodplain map does not create a flooding hazard; it simply shows where the flooding will occur.

Floodplain maps are tools used to protect and respect the floodplain. They are technical documents that are used to guide decisions about land use and development. A map of the floodplain helps to determine where new buildings may be located and if a property is at risk during a flood or storm event.

Property and homeowners can also use floodplain maps to see if they may be affected by the floodplain. By searching their address, anyone can see if the property in question is at risk during a flood or storm event and in some cases, property owners may need to take measures to protect existing buildings from flooding.

Otonabee Conservation is hosting a Virtual Floodplain Mapping Public Information Centre (PIC) is from March 9 – April 9, 2022, to encourage questions and feedback from watershed residents about new floodplain mapping projects. To participate in the PIC:

  1. View Otonabee Conservation’s Floodplain Mapping Story Map
  2. Search by address on the online Interactive Floodplain Map
  3. Review Frequently Asked Questions
  4. Submit any further questions or comments to Otonabee Conservation

Visit www.otonabeeconservation.com for more information about this project.

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