14 Mile Creek

14Mile Creek July 2004

14Mile Creek July 2004

The 14 Mile Creek located in Oakville, Ontario, is part of a small watershed that is gradually being eroded by housing development since the early1990s.. Along its course the 14 Mile Creek was designated as an Environmentally Sensitive Area (ESA#12) in part to protect from further cropping some of the little neighbouring riparian forest left along its course .

From approximately the late 1950 to the early 1990s the ESA was left relatively undisturbed and a considerably diverse plant and animal populations was able to establish a hold in the ESA. The stream itself harboured trout, as well as, a rich diversity of minnows, darters, shiners, sticklebacks, and other creek fish species. A significant Redside Dace population, an uncommon minnow species in Ontario, was also found in this stream.

Significant damage to the ecological stability of the stream and surrounding forest at the ESA#12 started with the careless approach to road construction and siltation mitigation practices during the water works along Hwy 25 in early 2000. the unique stream substratum diversity that characterized the stream bed of this creek was overburden with a heavy layer of silt – in some places above 30cm deep. The habitats for gravel nesting species such as the Creek Chub and its associate species the Redside Dace, were eliminated upstream of and at the ESA#12; forcing the Redside and Creek Chub populations to settle further downstream at the boundary of the creek with the less suitable and more polluted run of the creek at and south of the Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW – one of the mayor transit arteries of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).

A second major transit artery, the 407ETR, crosses the watershed just south of its head waters, slowly but surely further diminishing the water quality of the stream.

New development is being planned to the west of the ESA#12 area, in what still is an open golf course landscape. This particular development, as planned, will encroach close to the riparian boundary of the creek – unlike the eastern development of the early 1990 that retain larger extents of upland forest cover and meadows between the development and the creek. Because of this, one of the main disturbances to the ESA#12 will be unmitigable hydraulic changes and loss of habitat diversity.

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