Special Groundwater Projects - NVCA

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NVCA > Special Groundwater Projects

​​​​Special Projects

NVCA participates in special projects to gain a better understanding of the quality and quantity of groundwater in the watershed.

Please note that the reports below are highly technical documents. If you require these documents in a different format, plea​se contact NVCA. 

Overview of Water Balance Practices in the Greenbelt

Funded through the Greenbelt Foundation, this report: 

  • Outlines the policy framework associated with development-related water budgets at both the provincial level and in the municipal planning context as a desktop exercise.
  • Outlines the technical documents associated with both infiltration-focused water balances and feature-based water balances including minimum data requirements.
  • Outline generalized workflows as guidance to assist with the implementation of these documents.
Overview of Water Balance Practices in the Greenbelt

Review of the 2011-2017 NVCA Environmental Escherichia coli (E. coli) Sampling Prog​ram (2019)​ ​

This report looks at the usefulness of E. coli as an environmental health indicator. It provides an analysis of annual E. coli monitoring data gathered from the NVCA water quality monitoring program for the period of 2011-2017, and provide insights on future direction of E. coli monitoring as an environmental indicator at the​ NVCA.

NOTE: The results of E. coli counts for the NVCA watercourses are to illustrate long-term trends over time and for information purposes only. They should not be used to replace or supersede the more frequent monitoring obtained at public beaches in the watershed. Public beaches are monitored more rigorously by local health units than sampling conducted in this report. 

Review 2011 to 2017 NVCA Environmental E. coli Sampling Program

Community Ba​sed Monitoring: Applicability to the Low Water Response Program (2019)

This report looks at feasibility of using a citizen science approach to gathering detailed precipitation data across the watershed. This data would support the work of the Ontario Low Water Response program, of which NVCA is a participant, and also the authority's flood forecasting program. 


Considerations for Soil Moisture Monitoring (2019)

This report outlines considerations for an NVCA-focused soil moisture monitoring network. The authors evaluate various jurisdictional soil moisture monitoring networks, and examine site location, data use in support of internal and external program, d​ata management platform, equipment used, and other program ​elements. ​


Hydrologic Function: Framework Considerations and Approach to Subwatershed Baseline C​harac​terization​ (2018)

This report proposes ​establishing ​an evidence-based approach to the evaluation of hydrologic function. The report:
  1. proposes a scale-based framework approach to evaluate hydrologic function including baseline indicators, and
  2. applies a regional baseline characterization approach to four southern Ontario subwatersheds - Skootamatta River, Innisfil Creek, Whitemans Creek and Parkhill Creek - to evaluate applicability and provide lessons learned. 
The knowledge gained through application of this framework will enable protection, improvement and restoration of hydrologic function in Ontario as per the Provincial Policy Statement (PPS) and land use plans. The framework would ideally be used before and after development to assess whether hydrologic functions have been protected, improved or restored​.


​Integrated habitat groundwater modelling in support of the Hine's Emerald dragonfly (Somatochlora hineana) (2018)

Following on earlier work conducted in 2015 (see below), this study looked to complete ecological land classification mapping and model groundwater levels and chemistry in the southeastern Minesing Wetlands to identify other local ecohydrological habitats that would be potentially suitable habitats for globally rare Hine's Emerald Dragonfly

Groundwater_HED_ Minesing_Report_July 12_2018.pdf


Innisfil Creek Drought Management Plan Pilot Study (2017)​

This report summarizes the findings from the Innisfil Creek Drought Management Pilot Project. It provides recommendations for the Drought Management Plan for the Innisfil Creek subwatershed, a predominately rural area north of the Oak Ridges Moraine with a significant agricultural sector. 

The proposed plan aims to shift the drought response from a reactive approach to a proactive approach through a robust, locally driven process that:

  • is designed to orchestrate ​action when drought-like conditions occur, and/or 
  • minimize the potential for low water conditions to occur from human-induced water taken, when possible. 

The report provides short-term and long-term recommendations, and includes information on projected effects from climate change.


​If you would like the longer technical report, please contact NVCA.

Hydrogeological and geochemical evaluation of the eastern Minesing Wetland in support of the Hine’s Emerald Dragonfly (2015)

The Minesing Wetlands in Simcoe County is currently the only known location of the globally rare Hine's Emerald Dragonfly (Somatochlora hineana) in Ontario.

Funded through the MNRF Species at Risk Stewardship Fund, this study addresses key knowledge gaps for the recovery of Hine's Emerald Dragonfly related to groundwater levels and water chemistry in the Minesing fen and recharge areas.

Groundwater-Hines Emerald Dragonfly Minesing Report May 2015.pdf

Appendix 2 Contributing Recharge Areas for the Minesing Fen Results.pdf

This report has been optimized for web viewing. If you require a higher resolution version, please contact the NVCA office.

Field-based Agricultural Resource Inventory of the Innisfil Creek Subwatershed (2014, 2015)

This report presents the findings from the AgRI mapping of the Innisfil Creek Subwatershed. The inventory looks at crop distribution, crop rotation patterns, crop-specific irrigation characteristics at the subwatershed level. It was completed as part of the MNRF-funded Innisfil Creek Drought Management Pilot Project.

AgRI_Report_Innisfil Creek Subwatershed 2014.pdf

AgRI Report Innisfil Creek Subwatershed 2015.pdf

Percentile Groundwater Indicator Literature Review (2013)

Percentile Groundwater Indicator Lit Review 2013.pdf


Assessment and Progress Report of the IWRMS for the Innisfil Creek Subwatershed (2012)

WESA and Dr. Rob de Loe's team at University of Waterloo completed a three year preliminary third party assessment and progress report of the Integrated Water Resources Management Strategy for the Innisfil Creek subwatershed (2009).

Assessment and Progress Report of the IWRMS for the Innisfil Creek Subwatershed March 2012.pdf

Ontario Farm Groundwater Quality Survey Feasibility Project (2011)

The objective of the Ontario Farm Groundwater Quality Survey Feasibility Pilot Project was to determine the feasibility of resampling a subset of the original wells that were installed 19 years ago to assess trends in shallow groundwater quality and determine the feasibility of rolling this project out across the province, and determine what effect changes in agricultural practices may have had.

Ontario Farm Groundwater Quality Survey Feasibility Project 2011.pdf

Ontario Geological Survey South Simcoe 3D Geological Investigation Project (2011)

Scientists from the Ontario Geological Survey (OGS) complete a gravity geophysical survey to map an ancient river system - possibly millions of years old - buried deep below south Simcoe County. The NVCA has made in-kind contributions to this very important project, the results of which will be used to promote informed land-use planning decisions that can help protect drinking water and prevent overuse of stressed groundwater resources in south Simcoe County.


South Georgian Bay West Lake Simcoe Watershed Regional Headwaters Edge-matching Study (2010)

Golder Associates and AquaResources were retained by the NVCA to complete a geological edge matching study for the Tier 2 source water protection water budget model completed for the Nottawasaga and South Georgian Bay watersheds. The study consisted of an evaluation of the conceptual models and water budget transfers for independent water budget models for watersheds surrounding the South Georgian Bay (Nottawasaga River Watershed) and West Lake Simcoe Watersheds. The attached technical memo provides a detailed description of the conceptual hydrostratigraphic models for the relevant watershed areas, an overview of the hydrostratigraphic edge-matching and the predicted cross-boundary flows between the water budget models.

South Georgian Bay West Lake Simcoe Watershed Regional Headwaters Edge-matching Study 2010.pdf


Integrated Minesing Wetlands Monitoring Program - 2009 Results (2010)

The provincially significant Minesing Wetlands spans an area of over 6,000 hectares and is located within the townships of Clearview, Springwater and Essa in Simcoe County. Designated as a wetland of international importance by the RAMSAR Convention on Wetlands, it is home to 527 plant species and 568 animal species of which six are globally rare, 24 are nationally rare and more than 50 are rare in the province of Ontario. The eastern portion of the wetlands, conifer swamps and fen complex is sustained by groundwater discharge and is relatively isolated from the surface water influences that dominate the remainder of the wetland. Sustaining the current hydrogeological function of the eastern component of the wetland is directly related to the effective management of the associated recharge areas - the proximal Snow Valley Uplands.

Focusing on the groundwater-driven ecological wetland features in the eastern portion of the wetlands along with inflowing watercourses, data from the 2009 field season was collected on hydrologic parameters including baseflow measurements and groundwater levels, vegetation, and riverine benthic macroinvertebrates (aquatic insects) in order to:

  1. Provide a baseline hydrological and vegetative status of the eastern component of the wetlands along with the benthic assemblage descriptions of watercourses entering the fen, 

  2. Complete a comparative analysis to previous eco-hydrological monitoring work completed by Bradford (1999), and 

  3. Provide recommendations for future long-term monitoring in the groundwater-driven fen component of the wetlands.

Integrated Minesing Wetlands Monitoring Program 2009 Results 2010.pdf

Developing a Research Instrument for Uncovering Benefits and Barriers to Phosphorus Reduction Management Practices in the Agricultural Landscape of the Innisfil Creek Subwatershed (2010)

Community Based Social marketing (CBSM) has been used internationally as a method for motivating people to adopt sustainable lifestyle practices usually focusing on simple behaviours such as switching off lights and use of recycling bins. Farming is complex and changing farmer practices is complex as it often involves adoption of a system requiring a range of practices rather than discrete behaviours. The key barriers to adopting the above BMPs uncovered by research to date was lack of knowledge (eg. equine farm owners lack information on how to participate in EFP), lack of motivation (eg. low motivation to increase frequency and number of field sites for soil testing), inconvenience (e.g. few programs in place to support installation of windbreaks) and lack of social pressure (e.g. economic sustainability of crop production trumping environmental sustainability of aquatic habitat and water quality).

Developing a Research Instrument for Phosphorus Reduction Management Practices in the Ag Landscape of Innisfil Creek 2010.pdf


Niagara Escarpment Baseflow Study - 2009 and 2010 reports

The NVCA has an abundance of cold water fisheries within the watershed. These fisheries thrive in areas with significant groundwater discharge. A study was initiated to examine the relationship between groundwater contributions and geology. The NVCA worked in partnership with the Niagara Escarpment Biosphere Reserve (NEBR) and the Niagara Escarpment Commission (NEC) to identify areas with significant groundwater contribution along the Pretty, Pine, Mad and Boyne rivers. This was done by monitoring stream base flow and water quality.

Niagara Escarpment Baseflow Study 2009.pdf

Niagara Escarpment Baseflow Study 2010.pdf


Integrated Water Resource Management Strategy (2009)

This document provides general guidance on how to prepare an Integrated Water Resource Management Strategy (IWRMS) and was developed, in consultation with stakeholders who have similar water resource management issues as Innisfil​ Creek. This document is intended for water users, relevant public agencies and others interested in improving water management in the given sub-watershed.

The development of the Integrated Water Resource Management Strategy was funded in part through contributions by the Government of Canada and the Province of Ontario under the Canada-Ontario Water Supply Expansion Program (COWSEP), an initiative of the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Agriculture Policy Framework designed to position Canada's agri-food sector as a world leader. The Agricultural Adaptation Council administers COWSEP on behalf of the Government of Canada and the Province of Ontario.

Integrated Water Resource Management Strategy for Subwatersheds.pdf