EVENTS    |    ABOUT US    |    CONTACT    |    LIBRARY      Find Us On Facebook social twitter Instagram icon youtube Kawartha Conservation On LinkedIn 

  • Characteristics
  • 2018 Grades
  • Actions
  • Links


The Staples River subwatershed is located in the north-west portion of the Kawartha Conservation watershed. The subwatershed stretches north-south, roughly centered on the intersection of Glenarm and Kirkfield roads.

Water flows northward into the southwest end of Balsam Lake.

Subwatershed Characteristics

  • Subwatershed area: 48 km² or 4,792 ha
  • Total watercourse length: 67 km
  • Length of main channel: 18 km
  • Density of watercourses: 1.39 km/km²

Natural Cover

  • Forest Interior (100 m): 228 ha
  • Forest Interior (200 m): 19 ha
  • Dominant Forest Type: Mixed Forest
  • Natural Cover: 33% 

Provincially Significant Wetlands

  • Balsam Lake 01: 367 ha
  • Balsam Lake 07 Complex: 100 ha
  • Balsam Lake South Bay No.42: 10 ha
  • Staples Creek: 34 ha

ANSI - Earth Science

  • Cobourg Hill No.1 Railway Cut: 0.52 ha
  • Cobourg Hill No. Middle Road Cut: 0.76 ha

2013 Grades

The follow grades are based on monitoring data from 2012 to 2017.

Surface Water Quality

Total Phosphorus 0.031 mg/L C Fair
Benthic Macroinvertebrates 5.23 (FBI) C Fair

The surface water quality grade was based on Total Phosphorous and/or Benthic Macroinvertebrates (aquatic insects).  A TP value below 0.03 mg/L (rivers) or 0.02 (lakes) meets the provincial guidelines and is in the B (good) or A (Excellent) grade range, while the result for Benthic Macroinvertebrates must be 5.00 or lower to receive a B (Good) or A (Very good to Excellent) grade.

Forest Conditions

IndicatorArea CoverPercent CoverGradeStatus
Forest Cover 10.4 km² 21.6% C Fair
Forest Interior 2.3 km² 4.8% D Poor
Forest Riparian Cover 1.4 km² 35.0% C Fair

The combined forest conditions grade for the Staples River subwatershed is ranked as fair.

Wetland Conditions

IndicatorArea CoverPercent CoverGradeStatus
Wetland Cover 7.4 km² 15.5% A Excellent


Agriculture makes up over 66 % of the land use, and can have an impact on water quality in Staples River. Wetland cover is excellent, but there is an opportunity to increase forest cover.

Farmers and rural property owners

Farmers should help prevent nutrient runoff from fields and manure stockpiles, as well as reduce erosion. Eroded soils can also add nutrients to the water, and cover up important fish spawning habitat. Click here for tips on nutrient reduction and erosion control.

Riparian forest along the banks of creeks and rivers can help improve water quality by reducing erosion and helping to filter nutrients in surface water runoff. Exisiting forest can be expanded to increase the amount of forest interior. Click here for more about planting trees.

The amount of existing wetland is excellent and needs to be maintained. Click here for more about wetlands.

River-side and shoreline property owners

Healthy shorelines throughout the subwatershed contribute to the of the health of Staples River and Balsam Lake. Create or maintain a 3 metre or larger buffer along the creek made up of native plants with deep roots. The plants will help prevent soil eroison and ice damage with their roots, and filter nutrients and other sediments in surface water runoff to the creek. Avoid cutting the grass all the way to the water. Click here for more about shoreline protection.


Here are links to some of the programs and activities taking place within the Staples River subwatershed:

Subwatershed Menu

Use the drop-down menu or click the subwatershed on the map and follow the link.


Do you need a custom map?

We create and print maps that show different types of geographical information.

Click here for details