Brampton’s river valleys, lakes and woodlots are an important part of making this City a great place to live, work and play. As the City grows, a number of steps are being taken to ensure that natural features are protected and enhanced. Primary among these measures is watershed and subwatershed planning.
A watershed is made up of the land drained by a river and its tributaries and is a discrete ecosystem which includes all water, the processes, factors and natural cycles which affect it and the organisms which live in the watershed. Examples of watersheds in the Brampton area include the lands that drain to the Credit River, Etobicoke Creek, Mimico Creek and the West Humber River. A subwatershed is comprised of the land drained by an individual tributary to the main watercourse.
In keeping with the principles of ecosystem planning, the boundaries of a watershed or subwatershed provide ideal natural limits for managing the interconnections and relationships between human activities and the natural environment. Prior to development occurring in a new planning area in Brampton, a subwatershed management plan is prepared in cooperation with the local Conservation Authority.
A subwatershed management plan is a document developed co-operatively to manage the water, land/water interactions, aquatic life and aquatic resources within a particular watershed, in order to protect the health of the ecosystem as land uses change.
Subwatershed studies typically provide details regarding specific subwatershed targets, goals and objectives to establish:
- Natural system linkages and functions;
- Surface and groundwater quantity and management;
- The enhancement and rehabilitation of natural features
- Areas suitable for development
- Best management practices for incorporation into subdivision designs
- Specific implementation schemes and responsibilities for all recommendations
- Management practices for open space areas and green space corridors
- An implementation strategy
- Directives for stormwater management
- Future monitoring requirements
The results of subwatershed planning exercises are reflected in the secondary planning documents approved by the City. Secondary plans set out the detailed land use designations, uses and policies which are then implemented through environmental implementation reports, block plans, plans of subdivision, zoning by-laws and site plan approvals. Engineering studies and approvals associated with new developments provide the design details and specifications for facilities such as storm water drainage systems and surface water quality and quantity management facilities.