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Big Creek Watershed Plan

The Big Creek Watershed has a drainage area of over 7,300 hectares (18,000 acres) and includes parts of the urban core of Amherstburg as well as rural and agricultural lands. Big Creek Marsh is the watershed's largest natural heritage feature, and consists of approximately 900 hectares (2,500 acres) of Provincially Significant Wetland (PSW) that has a controlled outlet to Lake Erie. Alterations to drainage, re-routing of watercourses, and clearing of natural features in the Big Creek Watershed since European settlement, have resulted in changes to watershed hydrology, reductions in water quality, and diminished ecological function. However, terrestrial fieldwork of the marsh areas at the southern end of the watershed contains one of the best examples of a shoreline lacustrine wetland in the Province of Ontario. The major historical diversions of headwater areas out of the Big Creek watershed have resulted in the loss of approximately half of the original watershed area. This has substantially affected the natural hydrology and flow conditions of this watershed.

big creek marsh foliage

The quality and health of Big Creek is a fundamental aspect of a healthy watershed and the health of communities in the watershed. A watershed-based approach to manage natural resources is vital to the protection and sustenance of a healthy watershed. The Town of Amherstburg, in partnership with the Ontario Ministry of the Environment (MOE), the Essex Region Conservation Authority (ERCA), and a group of private hunt clubs from the watershed, initiated the Big Creek Watershed Plan. This Plan aims to affirm and/or identify and assess natural resources in the Big Creek watershed, and to recommend appropriate strategies for the protection or management of the varied natural resource values and community priorities that exist in the area. Three key watershed-based studies inform the Plan. These are the Water Quantity Report, the Water Quality Study, and the Natural Heritage Study.

Big Creek Watershed Plan

The Town of Amherstburg, Essex Region Conservation Authority, and its partners initiated a watershed planning process for the Big Creek watershed. The Watershed Plan has been supported by several technical studies and included a broad public consultation process.  It will be used to inform and influence decisions and policies relating to land and water stewardship throughout the watershed.

Big Creek Watershed Plan Studies