The Silver Creek watershed has an area of approximately 2,700 hectares. The creek’s headwaters flow into Lake of the Clouds in Castle Glen. It then flows down the Niagara Escarpment and into East Black Bass Bay. This watershed suffers from few erosion problems thanks to its heavy forest cover, rock and gravel stream bed and has few areas where the creek runs through agricultural land uses. The Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority (NVCA) has done a few stream bank rehabilitation and exclusion fencing projects in the lower section. Since this stream has a relatively high amount of ground water input, it has been designated as a cold water fish habitat by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR). Game fish such as brook trout, Chinook salmon and rainbow trout are abundant in Silver Creek. The NVCA’s 2000 Watershed Health Monitoring Summary lists Silver Creek as “unimpaired” and recommends protection.
The Silver Creek Wetland, or its proper name, Collingwood Shores Complex, at the mouth covers an area of approximately 166 hectares. This beautiful Provincially Significant Coastal Wetland consists of four small, individual wetlands both in The Blue Mountains and Collingwood along the Nottawasaga Bay shoreline. The Wetland provides a variety of important biological, social and hydrological functions. This large Wetland is one of the few remaining on Nottawasaga Bay and plays a vital role as a habitat and spawning ground for a diverse variety of birds, fish and plant species. Some are endangered or threatened; therefore their habitat must be protected.
In 1995, the Watershed Trust took up the cause of preserving the Wetland from the Nature League. In 2002, we were successful in convincing the Town of Collingwood to enact an Interim Control By-law (ICBL) to prevent a proposed golf course. The developer appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB), but the Board supported the Town. After an unsuccessful appeal to the Divisional Court, the golf course proposal was withdrawn.
Unfortunately, the approval by the OMB of the Castle Glen Resort Community proposal cast an ominous shadow over this watershed. It would never be allowed under the present Niagara Escarpment Plan, but was permitted by the OMB in 2006. The proposed development resides in The Town of The Blue Mountains at the headwaters of Silver Creek. Ultimately, it could comprise 1,600 residential units including the existing Thunderhill subdivision of 75 units, 300 hotel or commercial accommodation units, a golf course and 5,000 square meters of related commercial space.
The Watershed Trust has developed a vision and a plan to preserve this Provincially Significant Wetland. We are working with the Town of Collingwood, The Blue Mountains and the Conservation Authorities to ensure the permanent protection of the Wetland.
We have also been monitoring the storm runoff efffects in Townline Creek and Silver Creek. Click here for our 2015 findings.
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