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Eastern Creek Naturalization Project

About Eastern Creek

Newmarket's Eastern Creek is located in the East Holland sub-watershed. Water flowing through Eastern Creek eventually makes its way into Lake Simcoe via the East Holland River.

About the Project Site

Rainwater from as far east as Hwy. 404 drains into this section of the Eastern Creek.
The banks of the creek are eroded, and continue to erode further.
Due to the amount of urban runoff and hard surfaces upstream, the creek can rise significantly, resulting in more severe erosion.
Erosion deposits unwanted sediment downstream.
The banks of the creek currently have little to no vegetation to help stabilize them and filter rainwater before it enters the creek.
The lack of vegetation increases the amount of phosphorus entering the creek and eventually Lake Simcoe.
The lack of vegetation provides little to no habitat for wildlife (streambanks are usually abundant with wildlife).
The lack of buffer vegetation has caused the water temperature to increase, resulting in less hospitable habitat for aquatic organisms.
Urban runoff from nearby roads and parking lots enter the creek unfiltered.

About the Project

The banks of the creek will be re-graded, with a more gradual slope, and stabilized using bioengineering techniques to limit erosion.
Bioengineering techniques include the use of natural river stone to anchor the banks in place and planting a buffer zone of trees and shrubs on both banks of the creek. When the trees and shrubs take root, the roots will help anchor the banks in-place even further, limiting erosion.
Water entering the creek will be filtered using several methods:
The trees and shrubs planted in the buffer zone will filter-out some of the contaminants and phosphorus from urban runoff.
A number of micro-wetlands will be created adjacent to the creek, so that urban runoff will have a chance to settle and be filtered by wetland vegetation before entering the creek.
Several oil-grit separators will be installed to remove oil and other contaminants from urban runoff before entering the creek.
An area of 1,900 square meters will be restored and planted with plants, trees and shrubs.

Benefits

Limiting erosion and the use of oil-grit separators will significantly reduce the amount of unwanted sediment and contaminants deposited downstream.
The project will result in a estimated 1.2 kg reduction in phosphorus entering Lake Simcoe per year.
Trees and shrubs planted in the buffer zones, as well as pools and riffles constructed within the creek bed will provide habitat for a variety of wildlife species.
Trees and shrubs will shade the creek and help reduce water temperature, resulting in more hospitable habitat for aquatic organisms.
Trees and shrubs will help improve local air quality.
Hospital patients, visitors and local residents will be able to enjoy a more natural setting.
The project demonstrates to other private landowners that they can influence positive change and help improve the environmental health of the property they do business on.