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Laurel Creek

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The Laurel Creek Watershed (LCW) is located approximately in the middle of the Grand River Watershed in Ontario, Canada. Most of the watershed is found within the municipal boundaries of the City of Waterloo. As of 2003, the City of Waterloo has a population of 102,300. The Laurel Creek watershed is approximately 74.4 km2 (about 46 square miles) in area and includes the tributaries of Beaver Creek, Cedar Creek, Clair Creek, Forwell Creek, Maple Hill Creek and Monastery Creek.

The condition of Laurel Creek is variable with about 500m or 1/3 mile running through concrete channels as well as naturalized portions alongside wooded areas and select constructed reservoirs. Storage facilities exist along the creek to control flows. The larger facilities include Laurel Creek Reservoir, Columbia Lake, Laurel Lakes, Clair Pond, Silver Lake, Sunfish Lake and Forwell Ponds.

A number of organizations are involved in managing Laurel Creek including:

  • Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA)
  • Regional and municipal governments (such as the Region of Waterloo, and the City of Waterloo)

In 1993, the landmark Laurel Creek Watershed Study (LCWS) was completed. It still guides local policies on land use in the watershed. At the time the LCWS was completed, 50% of the watershed was urban, while the remaining land use was agriculture or in its natural state (i.e. woodlots, wetlands etc.). Continuing management concerns regarding the creek include:

  • Changes in land use from natural environments to agricultural and then to urban have degraded natural resources
  • Seven Environmentally Significant Protected Areas (ESPAs) in the watershed which include important woodlots and wetlands
  • Flows to the groundwater system (a major source of drinking water in this region) have been reduced; base flows to the creek have also decreased due to less infiltration
  • Water quality has been degraded
  • The potential for property damage and risk to life in several areas from some storm events

--Adapted from information provided by:

  1. Grand River Conservation Authority
  2. City of Waterloo
  3. Laurel Creek Monitoring Program
  4. "Waterloo's West Side Story: Planning for the LCW," by Lora Flahtery

Watershed Links

Laurel Creek Citizens' Committee
The Laurel Creek Citizensí Committee (LCCC) is a volunteer-run City Committee that sponsors projects aimed at restoring and improving Laurel Creek and its tributaries.

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Last Updated: January 20, 2006