’50 in 50′ Series: The Oak Ridges Moraine – Southern Ontario’s Rain Barrel (2002)


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!

The unique concentration of environmental, geological, and hydrological features of the Oak Ridges Moraine makes its ecosystem vital to south-central Ontario. In 2002, the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing established the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan under the authority of the Oak Ridges Moraine Protection Act, 2001.

The Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan was implemented to provide land use and resource management planning direction to provincial ministries and agencies, municipalities, municipal planning authorities, landowners, and other stakeholders on how to protect the Moraine’s ecological and hydrological features and functions. Through planning service agreements, Lower Trent Conservation provides advice regarding implementation of the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan to local municipalities.

ORM Where the rivers begin.png

The Oak Ridges Moraine is a hummocky ridge of land that stretches 160 kilometres from the Niagara Escarpment near Orangeville in the west to almost the Trent River in Northumberland County in the east. Formed over 15,000 years ago during the retreat of the last great ice age, it is one of the most significant landforms in southern Ontario. The Oak Ridges Moraine is called an interlobate moraine, meaning that it was created between two lobes of ice, or glaciers.

The Moraine is often referred to as the rain barrel of southern Ontario, providing a source of water for over 200,000 people. Like a sponge, it absorbs rain and snowmelt into its deep sandy layers, eventually releasing it to rivers, streams, and springs. In fact, the groundwater within the Oak Ridges Moraine provides a source for about 65 rivers and streams. Within the Lower Trent watershed region, it is a significant headwater area for most of the stream systems west of the Trent River including Burnley, Percy, Salt, Cold, Shelter Valley, and Barnum House Creeks.ORMrainbarrel.jpg

The Oak Ridges Moraine is also one of the last remaining green corridors in southern Ontario; its rivers, streams, and forests are important to wildlife. Lower Trent Conservation is involved with the Rice Lake Plains Joint Initiative, a multi-partner venture aimed at the preservation and enhancement of the globally rare tallgrass communities found on the eastern end of the Moraine including prairies, savannas, barrens, and oak woodlands.

Lower Trent Conservation is dedicated to protecting the natural integrity of the Oak Ridges Moraine. We continue to work with many partners, as well as municipalities, landowners, other Conservation Authorities, and various government agencies to ensure ‘southern Ontario’s rain barrel’ remains full and clean.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s