What is a watershed?

    A watershed is an area of land that drains rainfall and snowmelt into streams and rivers which then flows into a larger body of water such as a lake, bay or harbour.

    Why are healthy watersheds important?

    Healthy watersheds play a vital role for both humans and the environment:

    • Healthy watersheds provide more opportunities for recreation, such as kayaking, canoeing, boating, and fishing.
    • Healthy watersheds create ideal conditions for thriving forests, wetlands, and rivers.
    • Healthy watersheds contribute to the local economy by boosting tourism and increasing property values along waterways.

    What watersheds is the City of Hamilton a part of?

    The City of Hamilton covers a large geographical area and contains many watersheds and subwatersheds. These watersheds are shared between several municipalities and fall under the management of several Conservation Authorities including the Hamilton Conservation Authority, Conservation Halton, the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority, and the Grand River Conservation Authority.

    What is a Watershed Action Plan?

    It is a framework to guide decisions and actions to protect, restore, and enhance natural resources to support healthy and resilient communities.

    The City of Hamilton Watershed Action Plan will help to identify and guide the work to address non-point-source pollution and will focus on activities that are within the care and control of the City of Hamilton. Actions under the new Plan will benefit recreation and natural habitats in each watershed and will continue the City of Hamilton's and partners efforts to delist Hamilton Harbour as an identified Area of Concern.

    How will the Watershed Action Plan be funded?

    Many actions in the City of Hamilton Watershed Action Plan will help to address water quality and quantity issues from stormwater runoff. So, it only makes sense that the implementation of the City of Hamilton Watershed Action Plan be paid for by revenues from the City’s new stormwater fee (starting in 2025). 

    To learn more about stormwater, how Hamiltonians are currently paying for stormwater management, and the new stormwater fee, please visit Hamilton.ca/stormwater.

    What is point-source pollution?

    Point-source pollution comes from a single, easily identifiable place, such as a wastewater treatment plant or a factory.

    What is non-point-source pollution?

    Non-point-source pollution comes from many different places and sources, such as runoff from city streets, farms, or construction sites after a period of rain. Non-point-source pollution is difficult to identify, so we need a wide range of solutions to help address the impacts.

    What is water quality?

    Water quality refers to the physical, chemical, and biological characteristics of water, as well as its suitability for various purposes such as drinking, recreation, agriculture, and industrial use.

    Maintaining good water quality is essential for human health, ecosystem stability, and sustainable development.

    What is water quantity?

    Water quantity refers to the amount or volume of water available in a specific location over a given period.

    Efforts to address water quantity issues include water conservation measures, infrastructure development for water storage and distribution, groundwater management practices, and policies to promote efficient water use and allocation.

    What types of actions will be considered in the City of Hamilton Watershed Action Plan?

    There are three types of projects: capital, policies and programs, and operations and maintenance.  

    A capital project is one that involves a significant investment to build, maintain, or improve a City of Hamilton asset. Some examples include sewer separation, dredging works, and golf course runoff management.

    Policies and programs shift the way that the City of Hamilton views and implements services to benefit the greater community. Some example policies and programs include promoting more low impact development (LID), community outreach and education, and the incorporation of a stormwater use rate.

    Operation and maintenance refer to functional checks, services, and repairing and replacing necessary devices within the day-to-day operations of the City of Hamilton. Some examples include salt and snow management, catch basin cleaning, and street sweeping.