’50 in 50′ Series: Floodplain Mapping (1975)


Lower Trent Conservation is celebrating its 50th anniversary! To commemorate this milestone occasion, we have released our ’50 in 50′ historical blog series. This special series features 50 articles highlighting some of the achievements, milestones and events of the past 50 years. We hope you enjoy them!

In 1975, Lower Trent Conservation along with other Conservation Authorities, took on the task of preparing emergency flood contingency plans and floodplain mapping. The first projects undertaken in the Lower Trent Conservation watershed was mapping for the Trent River floodplain in Trenton (from Highway 401 to the mouth of the river), and Mayhew and Rawdon Creeks, all in 1975.

Trentonian Newspaper Article, circa 1975

Floodplains are low-lying areas near watercourses that are naturally subject to flooding. Floodplain maps are produced using a science-based method of field surveys and computer models. Background data is gathered on land use, land cover, topography, soils, stream flow, and precipitation. Field surveys collect information on local infrastructure (culverts, bridges, etc.). Data is then entered into computer models to calculate stream flow and water levels. Review of technical work and modelling is completed to finalize the floodplain map. These maps establish protection areas to guide development projects to safe areas.

In 1975, the federal government initiated the Flood Damage Reduction Program (FDRP) to discourage future flood vulnerable development. The FDRP was carried out jointly with the provinces under cost sharing agreements; Ontario joined the Flood Damage Reduction Program in 1978. Municipalities or Conservation Authorities where they existed, were partners with the federal and provincial governments in the FDRP mapping process and paid a portion of the cost.

VillageAsks for floodplainMapping in BrightonBay_1977
Newspaper Article (author unknown), circa 1978

A large flooding event in 1980 (over 2 inches of rain on frozen ground) resulted in severe flooding and ice damage in many communities across the watershed, prompting many watershed municipalities to initiate the FDRP funding opportunities. Once a flood risk area was mapped and designated, Lower Trent Conservation worked with local municipalities to keep development away from flood vulnerable areas.

Field survey starts on flood plain_article1980
Trentonian Newspaper Article, circa 1980

Some local municipalities also opted to investigate whether a 2-zone floodplain concept could be applied in more developed areas of their municipalities.  The 2-zone concept identifies a floodway and the flood fringe. The floodway refers to the portion of flood plain where there is a high threat to public safety and property damage from flooding. The flood fringe is the portion of the floodplain where development may be permitted as long as certain flood protection standards and procedures are put in place.LTC Floodplains

An overview of floodplain mapping for watercourses in the Lower Trent Conservation watershed is shown below.  This mapping is a key tool used by Conservation Authority staff in delivering its environmental planning and floodplain regulations programs.

Year Waterbody Community Municipality Length of Mapping
1975 Trent River Trenton Quinte West 4 km
1975 Mayhew Creek Trenton Quinte West 2.4 km
1975 Rawdon Creek – Floodplain Mapping & Channelization Stirling Stirling-Rawdon 3.7 km
1978 Shelter Valley Creek & Barnum House Creek rural areas Alnwick / Haldimand 37 km (SVC) & 5.2 km (BHC)
1978 DND Creek Trenton & CFB Trenton

Quinte West

8 km
1978 Cold Creek & Butler Creek Frankford & Brighton Quinte West & Brighton 1 km (CC) & 4.5 km (BC)
1981 Cold Creek – Spill Analysis Frankford Quinte West 2 km
1981 Mayhew Creek Trenton Quinte West 2.4 km
1982 Colborne Creek Colborne Cramahe 3 km
1982 Trout Creek Campbellford Trent Hills 5.5 km
1983 Mill Creek (Burnley Creek) Warkworth Trent Hills 13 km
1983 Glen Miller Creek Glen Miller & Trenton Quinte West 6.5 km
1983 Cold Creek – 2 Zone Frankford Quinte West 1 km
1983 Mayhew Creek – 2 Zone Trenton Quinte West 2 km
1983 Trent River Trenton to Rice Lake Quinte West, Trent Hills, Alnwick / Haldimand 90 km
1984 Glen Miller Creek – Spill Analysis Trenton Quinte West 1 km
1985 Rawdon Creek Stirling Stirling-Rawdon 3.7 km
1985 Killoran Creek Hastings Trent Hills 0.5 km
1988 Trent River – Flood Damage Centres Trenton to Hastings Quinte West, Trent Hills 90 km
1988 Butler Creek – 2 Zone Brighton Brighton 4.5 km
1990 Lake Ontario Shoreline Entire Shoreline Alnwick / Haldimand, Cramahe, Brighton, Quinte West 140 km
1991 Colborne Creek – 2-Zone Colborne Cramahe 3 km
1991 Lake Ontario Tributary and Butler Creek – Spill Analysis Brighton Brighton 1.3 km
1995 South Sidney Creeks – Meyers, Massey & 2 others Sidney Township Quinte West 1 km (Meyers)
3 km (Trib 2)
2.2 km (Massey)
0.5 km (Trib 4)
1998 Dead Creek & York Creek Rural Areas Quinte West 2.7 km (Dead)

3.6 km (York)

2002 DND Creek Trenton – CFB Trenton Quinte West 8 km
2012 DND Creek – Update for Industrial Park Trenton Quinte West 2 km


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