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Issues and Challenges

Petticoat Creek watershed has not experienced the wide-spread urbanization which has occurred in most other GTA watersheds however there are still challenges to the health of the watershed:

  • The density and type of development have had significant impacts, including changes in hydrological patterns and the reduction and fragmentation of natural systems.


  • Our changing climate impacts watersheds. Changing weather patterns affect stream flows, flora and fauna, the types of vegetation which can adapt in ecological restoration efforts, and the demand for water from agriculture and other large scale users.


  • Climate change will also result in greater duration, intensity and frequency of heavy rain events, and a shift in the seasonal timing of high precipitation to more rain events occurring when the ground is already saturated or frozen. Development must be carefully planned in consideration of these changes in order to avoid increased risk of flooding to downstream residents, as well as erosion, both of which undermine infrastructure including sewers and bridges.


  • The majority of the watershed's natural and agricultural resources are protected by the Greenbelt and Central Pickering Development Plan, there is still a need to improve the sustainability of urbanized areas, and to protect and restore the remaining natural systems.


  • Older development in the southwest portion of Pickering was developed without the use of lot-level and stormwater management pond measures. The runoff from these areas flows directly into the stream, carrying sediment and contaminants with it. Rainwater harvesting and re-use for outdoor water consumption at the individual residential lot level is effective in conserving treated municipal water and in reducing runoff.
Petticoat Creek watershed aerial view to Lake Ontario