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Toronto and Region Conservation Announces the Completion of a Watershed Plan for Petticoat Creek

Mar 21, 2013


For Immediate Distribution

(Scarborough/Markham/Pickering, March 21, 2013)  Toronto and Region Conservation recently released the Petticoat Creek Watershed Action Plan.  Watershed plans help to guide governments at all levels to make decisions based on sound science to support healthy ecosystems. Our watersheds support our communities by providing ecological goods and services, and nature-based recreation, their health depends on our actions over the long-term. As our climate changes, weather patterns affect stream flow, flora and fauna, the types of vegetation which adapt in ecological restoration efforts, and the demand for water from agriculture and other large scale users.

Climate change will also result in greater duration, intensity and frequency of heavy rain events, and a shift in the seasonal timing of high precipitation to more rain events occurring when the ground is already saturated or frozen. These are all factors to be considered when planning for the long-term health of Petticoat Creek watershed, its natural features, flora and fauna, and the people who live here.

"It has been more than five decades since the last plan for Petticoat Creek watershed was done. Obviously, the land uses in the area have changed significantly during that time, and an assessment of the watershed's current health was needed in order to plan its future. This plan includes a summary of the state of the watershed, and recommendations about how to maintain its health, and to make improvements where needed," said Adele Freeman, the Director of Watershed Management at Toronto and Region Conservation. "We know that the best opportunities for ecological restoration have been in the part of the watershed in Rouge Park, and we found that improvements to stormwater management in the urban areas would dramatically improve water quality in the stream."

Public consultations were held in the early stages of the planning process in 2008 and 2009, and stakeholders were engaged at key points during plan development. Major findings include: 


  • while only the southern 20% of the watershed is urbanized, the density and type of development have significant negative impacts, including changes to how water moves above and below ground, and reduced natural vegetation
  • unlike its neighbouring watersheds whose sources are in the Oak Ridges Moraine, most of the flow in Petticoat Creek comes from surface water, which means that stormwater management and improvements to practices affecting water flowing over land from precipitation can have significant positive effects on the stream
  • much of the ecological restoration work in Petticoat Creek watershed has been on lands in the Rouge National Park study area
  • the ecosystems in the watershed are currently in fair health, but they need more attention to prevent degradation and are well-positioned to respond favourably to remediation efforts


To view the entire plan, including recommendations and next steps for implementation, please see the full version of the Petticoat Creek Watershed Action Plan at , and at public libraries in Scarborough, Pickering and Markham.

For more information about the Petticoat Creek Watershed Action Plan, contact Gary Bowen, Watershed Specialist, Toronto and Region Conservation 416-661-6600 ext 5385

About Petticoat Creek Watershed

The Petticoat Creek river system is 49 kilometres long, with rural lands in the north and urban development in the south. The geographic area drained by this river system, or watershed, includes lands in Toronto, Markham and Pickering, and is home to roughly 25,000 people. The watershed includes recreational amenities such Rouge National Park, Altona Forest, and Petticoat Creek Conservation Area, where the stream flows into Lake Ontario.

Toronto and Region Conservation

With over 55 years of experience, Toronto and Region Conservation (TRCA) helps people understand, enjoy and look-after the natural environment. Our vision is for The Living City®, where human settlement can flourish forever as part of nature's beauty and diversity. For more information, call 416-661-6600 or visit us at





Media contact:

Rowena Calpito, Supervisor, Media Management, Toronto and Region Conservation                   

416-661-6600 ext 5632,

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Media contact:

Elizabeth Oakley
Tel: 416-661-6600 ext 5856

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