This map shows the bedrock geology across the watershed. Bedrock is the foundation of the earth which controls the shape of the land in the Quinte Region. The Bedrock in the Quinte Region is one billion year old Precambrian rock formed from molten lava, and 400 million year old sedimentary limestone deposited in the glacial sea beds. Because the soil and sediment cover is thin, bedrock characteristics largely control the physical landscape of the Quinte Region, including surface water and groundwater flow. Understanding the configuration and properties of the bedrock is critical to many areas of our lives; construction and civil engineering, waste management, water and mineral resource extraction and much more. Without an understanding of the bedrock geology of our area there can be no assurance of a healthy environment or sustainable development.
This map displays the average annual precipitation across the watershed. This data was interpolated from Environment Canada climate stations to show precipitation trends across the watershed. Precipitation trends are important when forecasting floods, determining the water budget, ground water recharge, and surface water runoff.
The mean annual temperature map shows the average annual recorded temperature across the watershed. This data was interpolated from Environment Canada climate stations to show temperature trends across the watershed. This data is an important statistic when calculating evapotranspiration for water budgeting activities. Overall, evapotranspiration can account for approximately 60% of the annual precipitation received by the watershed.
The Ontario Provincial Groundwater Monitoring Network (PGMN) is a network of almost 400 wells across Ontario that record data on groundwater quality and quantity. The data collected assists in determining groundwater quality and aquifer extents across the province with the goal of assuring safe drinking water supplies and will compliment knowledge gained through the regional groundwater studies. The network will also provide and early warning system for changes in water levels caused by climate conditions or human activities and information on regional trends in groundwater quality. There are 31 PGMN wells in the Quinte Conservation watershed.
The Ontario Provincial Water Quality Monitoring Network (PWQMN) is designed to collect water quality information from rivers and streams at strategic locations throughout Ontario on a monthly basis. Quinte Conservation has been participating in this program for more than 20 years. The water samples are sent to the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change where they are analyzed for various general chemistry parameters such as metals, mercury, suspended solids, and many others. This information is appended to a database to represent the wealth of historic and current surface water quality.
This map illustrates soil types across the watershed. Soil types help to determine flow of groundwater. In sands and gravel, groundwater can flow at a rate of metres per year. In finer grained materials, such as silts and clays, the flow rate can be centimetres per year. In open fractured bedrock, flow rates can be variable ranging from centimetres to kilometres per year subject to the size of the fractures.
This map shows the rate of permeability of the soil. The permeability of a soil depends primarily on the average size of particle shape and soil structure. In general, the smaller the soil particle, the smaller the average size of its pores. The permeability is related to how connected the pore spaces are (for example clay has a high porosity, however the pores are not well connected and therefore the permeability is low). Permeability is an important soil parameter for all projects where the flow of water through soil or rock is a concern, for example, knowing the recharge rate for ground water or the vulnerability of an aquifer. Groundwater contamination by pollutants such as pesticides and nutrients introduced at ground surface is affected by the soil properties. Soil permeability is one of the controlling factors for the rate at which a contaminant travels through soils. Generally, soils with higher permeability facilitate easier transport of pollutants into the groundwater.
Surficial geology is concerned with the description of the soils within the watershed including types and distribution of these soils. Surficial geology in the Quinte Watersheds is predominated by features from the most recent glacial period (ending approximately 10,000 years ago), including till (deposits of sediment left behind as glaciers melted) and ice carved landforms. Significant features such as eskers, moraines and drumlins are evident throughout the Quinte Region, however for the majority a thin layer of sediment overlies bedrock that was exposed by glaciation. Surficial geology is important in that the soils overlying the bedrock serve to protect the ground water and are the foundation behind the productivity of agricultural crops and forestry. Soils also absorb water and slowly release it serving to assist in recharge of the aquifers.
A map of water table elevation illustrates the gradient and direction of ground water movement. The water table is the top level underground where all spaces in the soil and bedrock are filled with water. Water table elevation is necessary to know when drilling wells to assist in planning construction and well depths. It is also important when planning waste disposal systems such as septic systems to ensure proper design and treatment above the water table.
This map shows the number of wells per square kilometer throughout the watershed. In the northern regions the density is very low whereas around the major population nodes the density is much greater. This distribution reflects the settlement patterns of the watershed. The distribution of wells is important in evaluating where groundwater is being used and evaluating potential stresses on the groundwater and water budget in the watershed.
The wetland map shows all wetlands in the Quinte Watershed. Historically, the loss and degradation of wetlands has been significant, particularly in southern Ontario where approximately half of wetlands have been destroyed. Wetland habitats are essential to the existence of wildlife for shelter, food, and reproduction. For example, many Great Lakes fish and wildlife species, including many species at risk, inhabit wetlands during part of their life cycles. Wetlands also perform essential water quantity and quality improvement functions, such as the reduction of stream flows and water filtration.