Kettle Creek Conservation Authority WatershedKettle Creek Conservation Authority is one of 36 conservation authorities in Ontario. A conservation authority’s jurisdiction is based on a watershed or the area of land that drains into a certain body of the water.

The watershed is hourglass in shape and drains 520 square kilometres of land in the heart of the Carolinian Zone on the north shore of Lake Erie. Kettle Creek outlets to Lake Erie at Port Stanley at an elevation of 166 metres above sea level. This represents an elevation drop of about 141 metres from its watershed height to the average Lake Erie water level, approximately 1.75 metres per kilometre. This steep drop in elevation results in flash flooding and a high degree of erosion. In many instances the bed of the stream is more than 30 metres below the level of the surrounding land.

The population of the Kettle Creek watershed in 2001 was approximately 44,406, distributed between an urban core in the City of St. Thomas and a rural periphery in the Township of Malahide, Municipality of Central Elgin, Township of Southwold, Township of Middlesex Centre and Township of Thames Centre, and the southern, mostly rural portion of the City of London. 

The main branch of Kettle Creek originates at Lake Whittaker, an 11 hectare groundwater-fed kettle lake. The watershed has three subwatersheds: Dodd Creek, Upper Kettle Creek and Lower Kettle Creek.

For the earliest inhabitants, both Native and European settlers, the creek was the lifeblood of their communities, providing them with transportation, a source of drinking water and food. However, today, the nature of the creek – deeply incised into the surrounding landscape – means that in many places it is hidden in deep valleys therefore losing some of its connections to surrounding communities. Small lakes and reservoirs throughout the watershed offer recreational opportunities to residents. Lake Whittaker is the focal point of a conservation area and attracts sport anglers.

To learn more about the Kettle Creek watershed download the Characterization Report Summary.

What is a watershed?

A watershed or drainage basin is an area of land that drains into a river or a lake. The boundary of a watershed is based on the elevation (natural contours) of a landscape. A drop of water that lands anywhere inside this boundary will eventually end up draining into Kettle Creek, before emptying into Lake Erie. This determination of boundaries is based on the natural shape of the land and therefore the watershed can fall across many municipal boundaries.