Learn About Nature and Wildlife
More than 1,800 species of plants and animals make the Credit River Watershed their home. Some species are seasonal residents, while others are here year-round. Some species are very particular about where they live, and others can be found just about anywhere. Altogether, these species make up the biodiversity of the Credit River Watershed – there are:
- More than 1,400 species of plants
- 55 species of mammals
- 264 species of birds
- 5 species of turtles, 7 species of snakes, and 17 species of amphibians
- Many species of insects
- 79 species of fish
The Credit River Watershed has become infiltrated by many invasive species.
Species at Risk
The Credit River Watershed is home to at least 44 species at risk (SAR). Many SAR are in danger of becoming extinct, or disappearing from Canada or Ontario.
We identify local species of conservation concern. The good news is that together, we can act to protect and recover many of these species and safeguard Ontario’s biodiversity.
Natural vegetation covers about 34 per cent of the Credit River Watershed. This vegetation occurs in plant communities that were not planted and are not being maintained by people.
Ecosystems in the Credit River Watershed:
Wetlands are lands:
- Where the water table is close to the surface and/or
- Seasonally or permanently flooded by shallow water
The four main types of wetlands in the Credit River Watershed are swamp, marsh, bog and fen. Wetlands have many ecological, economic and social values.
The watershed contains many natural and artificial lakes and ponds.
- Vernal pools are typically very small temporary or intermittent pools.
- Lakes are enduring bodies of water. Some are natural ponds, while others may be kettle lakes.
- Artificial waterbodies were created through construction of dams or for agriculture or recreation.
There are approximately 2,018 kilometres of rivers and streams in the Credit River Watershed. They provide homes for many fish and stream insect species.
- The upper and middle parts of the watershed generally contain coldwater streams.
- The lower parts of the watershed contain warmwater streams.
Grasslands are open areas typically made up of grasses and meadow flowers. They may include a few trees and shrubs. Broadly termed open country habitat, these areas include:
- Native prairie and savannah
- Old fields and meadows
- Pasture lands
The Iroquois Plain, not far from the Lake Ontario shoreline, was home to most native prairie and savannah in the watershed. Today only small remnants remain in the City of Mississauga.
Agricultural activity created most of existing grasslands in the watershed. Many former agricultural plots succeeded to meadow and thicket. This created important habitat for pollinators and grassland birds.
There are over 80 types of forests in the Credit River Watershed.
- There are deciduous (broadleaf) forests, coniferous (needle-leaf) forests, and mixed forests.
- There are young forest and mature forests
- There are moist valley bottom forests and dry upland forests.
Healthy forests are multi-layered, with the tallest canopy trees shading younger trees, and lower layers of shrub and ground vegetation. Healthy forests have a diversity of native species and are structurally diverse, providing many microhabitats for wildlife.
Natural Heritage Inventory
We maintain an evolving inventory of the natural heritage features of the Credit River Watershed. Learn about our Natural Heritage Inventory program.