Planning for the Future: A New Credit River Watershed Plan

Tree trunk with river in the background

The Future of the Credit River Watershed

Everyone lives in a watershed. But what is a watershed and why is it important?

A watershed is an area of land that drains surface water and groundwater into a body of water such as a river or stream. When we reference the Credit River Watershed, we mean the land which eventually drains its water into the Credit River and its tributaries.

Situated within one of the most densely populated regions of Canada, our watershed contains some of the most diverse landscapes in southern Ontario. The Credit River is almost 90 kilometres long and runs through nine towns and cities, eventually draining into Lake Ontario at Port Credit in Mississauga.

Map outlining the Credit River Watershed and the nine towns and municipalities that are part of the watershed. The four regions of Dufferin County, County of Wellington, Region of Halton and Region of Peel are also shown.
Map of the Credit River Watershed

Watersheds are important for both people and wildlife. A healthy watershed will slow, clean, filter and store water which reduces flood risk, improves water quality, provides habitat for a diversity of species and increases resilience in a changing climate. 

Our first watershed plan was published in 1956 and has shaped the way we’ve managed the watershed over the last 65 years. But conditions and threats today are much different from what they were in the 1950s. We’re currently developing a new watershed plan that will use the latest science and data to guide how we manage water, land and natural resources in the years to come.  

Two books, one closed and open opened
1956 Credit Valley Conservation Report

The first phase of the new plan, which tells the story of the health of our watershed and how it has evolved from the 1950’s to today, is well underway. Some interesting findings from Phase 1 of the plan include: 

  • The growing season is up to 25 days longer in some parts of the watershed than it was in the 1950s. 
  • Wetlands in the middle and upper part of the watershed rank good to excellent based on our index of biotic integrity. This index looks at water pollution and describes the health of plant and frog communities in the watershed. 
  • Although many frog populations are on the decline across the world, populations of grey treefrogs and green frogs have increased in the watershed since 2003. 
  • Natural assets (natural resources and ecosystems that provide services to watershed residents) across the watershed capture over 74,000 tonnes of carbon per year, valued at over $14 million in 2019 Canadian dollars. This is equal to carbon emissions produced by approximately 34,000 North American homes over one year, or approximately 15 per cent of the homes in Mississauga.  
  • Natural assets across the watershed can absorb and hold over 87 million cubic metres of water. This is roughly the volume of 35,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools. Under current climate conditions, this is valued at over $33 billion in avoided construction costs related to stormwater management across the watershed.  

Watch our video to learn more about what is involved in the creation of a watershed plan:

The community’s voice is an important part of the planning process. Take our survey to have your say in the development of our watershed plan. 

Learn more at  

Follow us on socials to learn more about what makes the Credit River Watershed so special, #CVCwatershed on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  

By Nicole Di Cintio, Marketing and Communications Specialist 

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