Hamilton Conservation Authority City of Hamilton Bruce Trail Conservancy
 
 

 

Christie Stream Valley

General Summary

The Christie Stream Valley is located north of Highway 8 in the former municipality of Flamborough. Included in this area is a 7.5 km segment of the main trunk of Spencer Creek, along which are found Christie Conservation Area, which is centered on a 60 ha reservoir, and the historic Crooks Hollow Conservation Area downstream.

Significance

Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources Designation:
• Provincially Significant Wetland

City of Hamilton Environmentally Significant Area (ESA) Criteria:
• Significant Earth Science Feature

- the area encompasses significant bedrock exposures
- the area contains significant species
- the area serves as a link between the natural areas in the Spencer Creek headwaters and the Dundas Valley re-entrant

Physical Description

The study area encompasses the floodplain valley of Spencer Creek and adjoining upland areas, the central portion of which is dominated by the Christie reservoir, constructed in 1971 as a multi-purpose flood control and recreation facility. Its water quality is adversely impacted by upstream agricultural and industrial activities. Soil development in the floodplain and reservoir is affected by seasonal flooding and deposition of alluvium, and consists mainly of sandy loam. Small springs and groundwater-supported wet areas occur on the north side of this area.

The contact between bituminous dolostone of the Eramosa Member of the Lockport Formation and the overlying brown dolostone of the Guelph Formation is exposed in two geologically significant outcrops: one near the main dam, and the other in a roadcut on the north side of the Crooks Hollow Conservation Area.

Ecological Land Classification

Most of the area consists of former agricultural lands which have been converted to manicured parkland on the north side, and conifer plantations and successional fields on the south side. Only small pockets of remnant natural communities (cattail marsh, cedar swamp, broadleaf swamp, and broadleaf upland woods) are present.

Flora and Fauna Summary

Vascular Plants

Nature Counts surveyors recorded 222 species. Of these, one is a locally uncommon species, one is a locally rare species, and 43 (19%) are non-native species. The American chestnut (Castanea dentata) was documented in this area before 1976 and again in 2002.

Butterflies

During field surveys in 2001, 26 species were recorded. Of these, six are locally uncommon, the Two-spotted Skipper (Euphyes bimacula) is locally rare, and the Monarch (Danaus plexippus) is a COSEWIC special concern species.

Fish

Due to the agricultural setting and general lack of natural areas and riparian habitat, warmwater conditions prevail in the creek and reservoir. Between 1970 and 2001, a total of 25 species were collected, with 21 species recorded since 1990, including two species uncommon in the City of Hamilton and three rare species, Black Redhorse (Moxostoma duquesnei), Redside Dace (Clinostomus elongates) and Rosyface Shiner (Notropis rubellus). Below the Christie dam, Spencer Creek flows in a step-pool sequence over bedrock and contains an abundance of Creek Chub (Semotilus atromaculatus), Longnose Dace (Rhinichthys cataractae), Bluntnose Minnow, Fathead Minnow (Pimephales promelas) and Common Carp.

Herpetofauna

A total of 14 species were recorded between 1984 and 1992, including a locally uncommon species and the Eastern Milk Snake (Lampropeltis triangulum triangulum), a COSEWIC special concern species.

Breeding Birds

Nature Counts surveyors recorded 45 species. Of these, 10 are locally uncommon species, one, Common Snipe (Gallinago gallinago), is a locally rare species, and two are interior forest species.

Mammals

Nine common species were recorded during the 1991 NAI surveys and one additional species was observed in 1998. Three new species records were added when the Nature Counts project conducted small mammal trapping and bat mist netting in July of 2002.

Waterfalls

 


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