Subwatershed

Did you know that the Lake Simcoe watershed is made up of 21 subwatersheds? A watershed is an area of land drained by a river or stream. Similar to the branch of a tree, creeks empty into streams, which then empty into larger streams, eventually forming one main trunk, or river.

In our watershed, all of these rivers ultimately drain into Lake Simcoe. Within this system, everything is connected to everything else. In other words, actions which take place at the top of the system can and do affect those downstream.

More info from the LSRCA


Lake Simcoe Watershed Map
watershed map

Subwatershed Information

Please click on each Subwatershed below to find out more.

The Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority completes report cards and subwatershed plans. Please visit http://www.lsrca.on.ca/reports/ for more information.

Barrie Creeks

Vibrant Urban Area

The Barrie Creeks empty into Lake Simcoe at the base of Kempenfelt Bay. 93% of the subwatershed is within City of Barrie. Barrie began as a small outpost at the start of the Nine Mile Portage crossing from Kempenfelt Bay to Fort Willow and the Nottawasaga River, which empties into Georgian Bay (originally an aboriginal transportation route). You can still follow the trail today. The urban beaches and 90 parks in the city are remarkably clean and festivals abound year round throughout the community.

Barrie Creek

Area: 37.5 km2
Percent Natural Cover: 17%
Percent Wetland Cover: 3%
Stressed Subwatershed: Yes
LSRCA Subwatershed Plan Complete: Yes

See the future plan.

Beaver River

Woodlands, Farm and Historic Hamlets

Much of Lake Simcoe ’s most easterly subwatershed is farmland. "Buy local, buy fresh", they say. Flowing from the Oak Ridges Moraine to the river mouth in Beaverton, the area embraces the City of Kawartha Lakes and historic towns and hamlets. The smells, sights and sounds of the pristine Beaver River wetland can be experienced along a 17-km stretch of abandoned railway bed. Wildlife is abundant.

Beaver River

Area: 327.3km2
Percent Natural Cover: 32%
Percent Wetland Cover: 19%
Stressed Subwatershed: Yes
LSRCA Subwatershed Plan Complete: Yes

See the Wetland Trail future plan.

See the Subwatershed future plan.

Black River

A Gem of a Natural Area

This subwatershed originating on the Oak Ridges Moraine runs down through Sutton to Lake Simcoe and it’s a gem! More than 50% is natural – forests and wetlands. This helps the health of the river and Lake Simcoe, and provides wonderful nature-based recreational opportunities. Human activity is starting to take a toll, but LSRCA now has an action plan for ways to prevent further decline. A recent study estimates the value of the services that this ecosystem provides would cost $180 million to replace with man-made solutions!

Black River
Area: 375km2
Percent Natural Cover: 51%
Percent Wetland Cover: 24%
Stressed Subwatershed: Yes
LSRCA Subwatershed Plan Complete: Yes

See the future plan.

Jackson's Point Creek

Two contrasting themes

The story of this beautiful once rugged lakeside area has two contrasting themes. The saga of the Chippewas of Georgina Island tells of the hardships and geographical challenges to overcome, and a bright future. On the mainland, the story is of irrepressible pioneering optimism. The character of this subwatershed has been deeply shaped by the past and the two stories are now integrated in many ways.

Jackson's Point Creek
Area: Included in Black River Subwatershed Plan
Percent Natural Cover: 47%
Percent Wetland Cover: 28%
Stressed Subwatershed: Yes
LSRCA Subwatershed Plan Complete: Yes

See the future plan.

East Holland River

Degradation now determination

The East Holland River, flowing from the Oak Ridges Moraine, joins the West Holland continuing on to Lake Simcoe’s Cook’s Bay. This is one of Lake Simcoe’s most populated urban subwatersheds. It boasts recreation areas and a large close-to-market agricultural area including two vegetable polders. But it is a textbook case of the degradation that comes from human activity. However it also shows the power of spirited work that people can do – and what a good impact they can have as well.

East Holland River
Area: 247km2
Percent Natural Cover: 33%
Percent Wetland Cover: 11%
Stressed Subwatershed: Yes
LSRCA Subwatershed Plan Complete: Yes

See the future plan.

Keswick Creek

Hope for the Future

This is one Lake Simcoe’s smallest subwatersheds, and is often overlooked on maps. Two thirds of Keswick’s households live here and they will be joined by many more in coming years. This population surge diminished Keswick Creeks’ natural habitat, but the area has an extensive waterfront that gives it potential for the future if people of this area can show that restoring a lake works best when both nature and people benefit.

Keswick Creek
Area: Included in East Holland Subwatershed Plan
Percent Natural Cover: 9%
Percent Wetland Cover: 3%
Stressed Subwatershed: Yes
LSRCA Subwatershed Plan Complete: Yes

See the future plan.

Georgina Creeks

Where Sunsets are Breathtaking

Mid-1800s entrepreneurs who enjoyed getting away from the hustle transformed what was once farmland into estates and cottage developments here. They claimed this area had "the most beautiful outlook over Cook’s Bay" – and surely it still does! Today, a combination of natural forests, serene parks, mature trees and hedges make it home to a wide range of animals, birds and amphibians – and those who enjoy all that nature offers.

Georgina Creeks
Area: 49km2
Percent Natural Cover: 42%
Percent Wetland Cover: 14%
Stressed Subwatershed: No
LSRCA Subwatershed Plan Complete: No

Hawkestone Creek

History and Country Charm

Located between Oro North and Oro South Creeks, Hawkestone Creek empties into Lake Simcoe on the northwest shore. Meandering country roads, small villages, gorgeous country gardens, beautiful views of the lake and countryside, Hawkestone Creek boasts all this and more. The flavour is pure cottage country. The area was favoured by First Nations people long before the European settlers arrived in 1844. Some old homesteads from the 19th century still survive.

Hawkestone Creek
Area: 47.84km2
Percent Natural Cover: 57%
Percent Wetland Cover: 22%
Stressed Subwatershed: No
LSRCA Subwatershed Plan Complete: In Progress

Carthew Bay Creeks

Beauty in Blue

Carthew Bay Creeks are located within Oro Medonte just north of Hawkestone Creek. This area comprises a number of small villages of historic significance, a beautiful yacht club, secluded bay and panoramic views of Lake Simcoe. Once the home of First Nation’s people, the area was settled by Europeans in the mid-1800s and today is the home of countryside enthusiasts and cottagers.

Carthew Bay Creeks
Area: Being included in Oro/Hawkstone Subwatershed Plan
Percent Natural Cover: 55%
Percent Wetland Cover: 12%
Stressed Subwatershed: No
LSRCA Subwatershed Plan Complete: In Progress

Hewitt's Creek

Small and Compact

The smallest of the Lake Simcoe watersheds, Hewitt’s Creek lies between Lovers Creek and Innisfil Creeks within the municipalities of Barrie and Innisfil. It flows into Kempenfelt Bay largely through agricultural land – only 20% of the subwatershed is urbanized. Implementation plans are underway to streamline the creek’s ground water processes and recharge areas in conjunction with the nearby more urban subwatersheds.

Hewitt's Creek
Area: 17.5km2
Percent Natural Cover: 20%
Percent Wetland Cover: 5%
Stressed Subwatershed: Yes
LSRCA Subwatershed Plan Complete: Yes

See the future plan.

Innisfil Creeks

The Best Sunrise

There are 17 Innisfil Creeks, so you are never far from water anywhere in this subwatershed. The township comprises 29 unique villages as well as extensive agricultural lands. Outlet shopping and antiquing are pastimes for visitors and residents alike and for those seeking more athletic pastimes, the Trans Canada Trail runs through the community. Early birds can see the best sunrises from the lakeshore at Innisfil Beach Park.

Innisfil Creeks
Area: 107.15km2
Percent Natural Cover: 33%
Percent Wetland Cover: 11%
Stressed Subwatershed: Yes
LSRCA Subwatershed Plan Complete: Yes

See the future plan.

Lover's Creek

A place for Lovers?

Lover’s Creek lies between Barrie and Hewitt's Creeks and is the least stressed of the three with development accounting for only 21% of the area. It features beautiful forests, wetlands and grasslands along with some agriculture surrounding small housing developments. Equally close to Barrie and the countryside, Lovers Creek is a coveted area for both householders and cottagers.

Lover's Creek
Area: 59.9km2
Percent Natural Cover: 35%
Percent Wetland Cover: 13.5%
Stressed Subwatershed: Yes
LSRCA Subwatershed Plan Complete: Yes

See the future plan.

Maskinonge River

Needs Help to Heal

The Maskinonge has been much loved over the years for its natural beauty and recreational opportunities. Today the river is struggling – symptoms being low water, and visible weeds and algae. In 2009 the community stewardship "Maskinonge River Recovery Project" began on-the-ground environmental projects. The greatest challenge for this area is that agricultural areas occupy 70% of the land and these need more best management practices. But urban areas are also contributing contaminants.

Maskinonge River
Area: 63.5km2
Percent Natural Cover: 21%
Percent Wetland Cover: 9%
Stressed Subwatershed: Yes
LSRCA Subwatershed Plan Complete: Yes

See the future plan.

Oro Creeks North

Year Round Recreation

Now a charming mix of agriculture, small villages and cottages, this subwatershed is also a recreational paradise with walking and biking trails and first-class skiing facilities. Oro North has a proud military and railroad history and the Oro North Creeks fed the many saw and grain mills in the subwatershed. Some of the old mills can still be found by intrepid explorers of the area.

Oro Creeks North
Area: 75.26km2
Percent Natural Cover: 45.5%
Percent Wetland Cover: 13.5%
Stressed Subwatershed: No
LSRCA Subwatershed Plan Complete: In Progress

Oro Creeks South

Feel the History

Long established First Nation trails and encampments dotted this subwatershed before European settlers arrived to begin farming the area. A large black community was established following the War of 1812 when black veterans were deeded lands in Shanty Bay, and railroad development played a large role in the communities by establishing a large shipping station here. St. Thomas Anglican Church – one of Canada’s oldest surviving churches (circa 1840) – can still be visited in Shanty Bay.

Oro Creeks South
Area: 57.39km2
Percent Natural Cover: 46.5%
Percent Wetland Cover: 12%
Stressed Subwatershed: No
LSRCA Subwatershed Plan Complete: In Progress

Pefferlaw River

Sense the Magic

The River (as locals call it) and the lush rolling landscape of this subwatershed seem far removed from modern life – and people like it that way. In the early days, the river was a maritime highway carrying felled logs. Water’s journey begins on the Oak Ridges Moraine 44km to the south. The water quality is good comparatively, but better agricultural and urban practices need implementation or the trend will decline.

Pefferlaw River
Area: 425km2
Percent Natural Cover: 43%
Percent Wetland Cover: 17%
Stressed Subwatershed: Yes
LSRCA Subwatershed Plan Complete: Yes (includes Uxbridge Brook and Beaverton Creeks)

See the future plan.

Beaverton Creeks

Big waves Quiet Shores

This cottage country interspersed with farmland is park-like. Many of the cottages and now more permanent homes peek out through mature cedars towards the "big lake." Most have been there a long time. Famous golf course designer Stanley Thompson was there early as well. In 1926 he laid out the front nine holes of the aptly named Cedarhurst Golf Club – and lined them with cedars.

Beaverton Creeks
Area: Included in Pefferlaw River Subwatershed Plan
Percent Natural Cover: 32%
Percent Wetland Cover: 12%
Stressed Subwatershed: No
LSRCA Subwatershed Plan Complete: Yes

See the future plan.

Ramara Creeks

Venice Renewed

This subwatershed is the home to the 1,000 acre “Lagoon City” community started in 1963. It boasts 5,000 feet of beach and 12 miles of canals that provide lake access. Upstream is agricultural lands. Provincially significant wetlands are to the north and east. Managing summer weed growth in the canals is a challenge and ultimately, the goal may be to establish natural vegetation as buffers along the majority of the shoreline.

Ramara Creeks
Area: 137.5km2
Percent Natural Cover: 41%
Percent Wetland Cover: 22%
Stressed Subwatershed: No
LSRCA Subwatershed Plan Complete: Will begin in 2014

Talbot River

Unique Experiences

A plaque on the bridge over the beautiful and historic Talbot River just north of Beaverton reminds us that Samuel Champlain passed this way in 1615. Today the Talbot River is part of the century-old Trent-Severn Waterway, which runs east/west connecting Lake Huron to Lake Ontario. The source is Mitchell Lake in the Kawarthas. Lock 41 is the Lake Simcoe gateway to Talbot River section of the Waterway.

Talbot River
Area: 70.5km2
Percent Natural Cover: 39%
Percent Wetland Cover: 12%
Stressed Subwatershed: No
LSRCA Subwatershed Plan Complete: Pending

Talbot Creeks

Venice Renewed

This subwatershed is mainly agricultural with a number of residential and cottage community developments along the Lake Simcoe shoreline.

Talbot Creeks
Area: Part of White's Creek Subwatershed
Percent Natural Cover: 48%
Percent Wetland Cover: 21%
Stressed Subwatershed: No
LSRCA Subwatershed Plan Complete: Pending

Uxbridge Brook

Another Unique Experience

Previously on an individual resource plan, the Uxbridge Brook Subwatershed is now included as part of the part of the Pefferlaw River Subwatershed.

Uxbridge Brook
West Holland River

Good Things Grow-o-o

Beginning at the Oak Ridges Moraine, the West Holland River Subwatershed flows through some of the most productive vegetable farming operations in Ontario before discharging into the southwest corner of Cook’s Bay. Water levels in the Holland Marsh, a drained wetland, are carefully controlled with canals and pumping stations, and farmers markets abound. Wildlife is abundant. York and Peel regions as well as Simcoe County take responsibility for this beautiful agricultural area.

West Holland River
Area: 354km2
Percent Natural Cover: 31%
Percent Wetland Cover: 10%
Stressed Subwatershed: Yes
LSRCA Subwatershed Plan Complete: Yes

See the future plan.

White's Creek

Being Awakened

Headwaters in the Kawartha Lakes flow to Lake Simcoe. Rich fur trading in this area brought First Nations and European settlers together. Early agriculture and forestry shaped the communities and the landscape.

White's Creek
Area: 105.05km2
Percent Natural Cover: 26%
Percent Wetland Cover: 19%
Stressed Subwatershed: No
LSRCA Subwatershed Plan Complete: Pending


The Ministry of Natural Resources and the Lake Simcoe Conservation Authority have been working on identifying potential priority areas for restoration. Work is still underway and the mapping will eventually be available to everyone in an interactive format. In the meantime, please see the mapping below.

East Holland priority potential restoration areas

east holland priorities

Aquatic Habitat Stewardship Priorities

Barrie Creeks

Beaver River

Black River

East Holland River

Georgina Creeks

Hawkestone Creek

Hewitt's Creek

Innisfil Creeks

Lover's Creek

Maskinonge River

Oro Creeks North

Oro Creeks South

Pefferlaw River

Ramara Creeks

Uxbridge Brook

West Holland River

White's Creek


See the grand plan

To protect and restore the ecological health of Lake Simcoe and its watershed.

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Stewardship

A guide with input from contractors to help prepare for work along shorelines. Click here.

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