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.
The Kettle Creek Watershed
The Kettle Creek watershed is hourglass in shape and drains 520 square kilometers 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 is approximately 84,000, distributed between an urban core in the City of St Thomas and a rural periphery.
The main branch of Kettle Creek originates at Lake Whittaker, an 11 hectare spring-fed kettle lake. The watershed is comprised of three subwatersheds: Dodd Creek, Upper Kettle Creek, and Lower Kettle Creek.