The Water

Restoring & Nourishing Water

The Ignatius Jesuit Centre property includes a portion of Marden Creek, a watercourse that feeds the Speed River and eventually the Grand River. The stewardship of this creek is part of our mission statement that commits use to the care of the land. Our land management policy specifically includes restoring the Marden Creek watershed as a mandate.

From the early 1800's until October of 2010, Marden Creek was dammed on our property, forming the ponds that could be seen from Highway 6.

Dams cause environmental damage; they limit the range of fish and negatively impact water quality.

It is for these reasons that the dam removal and Marden Creek restoration have become integral aspects of theOld-Growth Forest Project. The goal of the Marden Creek Restoration Project is to restore the Creek to its natural state as a cold water stream capable of supporting Brook Trout, an specie that can survive in cold, clean water. The Wellington County Stewardship Council, Trout Unlimited, the Ministry of Natural Resources, and the Grand River Conservation Authority partnered with us to ensure that the dam removal work was done in an environmentally sound manner.

The Wellington County Stewardship council and Trout Unlimited Canada will continue to work with the Ignatius Old-Growth Forest Project to re-vegetate the mud flats exposed as a result of the dam removal to a biologically diverse wetland community.

Waterway History

The Ignatius Jesuit Centre pond was constructed by the Nichol Family in 1832. The dam was originally used to power a lumber mill and eventually a grist mill. Tom Bedford bought the land from the Nichols, and then sold to the Jesuits Fathers of Upper Canada in the early 1900's. In the early 1930s the dam was rebuilt. There were a number of earlier dam failures that were caused by weather episodes that contributed to the rebuild.

An Important Part of Our Project

The dam which created the Ignatius Jesuit Centre pond was located within the boundaries of the Old-Growth Forest project area.

Marden Creek and the Speed River are integral landscape features in the Plant an Old Growth Forest project area. Reestablishing the natural flow of Marden Creek will change the lay of the land over a significant portion of the project area.

There is a concerted effort by a variety of environmental stewardship groups to return the Marden Creek to a cold water stream. For years, dams/ponds along Marden Creek have increased the water temperature, causing it to no longer be a cold water stream. As of October of 2010, the Ignatius Jesuit Centre pond was drained, and the dam was removed.  Already, only a month after the dam removal, and for the first time in IJC history, Brook Trout have been found on the property!

Brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis), an indicator species of good water quality, historically traveled the Marden Creek to Speed River. With the dam in place, their range currently extended to where the Marden enters the Ignatius Jesuit Centre property. At that point, the water temperature increased to the point that the trout could not survive. The temperature increase was directly related to water being heated in the large pond.

Benefits of Restoring Marden Creek

  • Restoring the ability of the Marden Creek to find its natural course to the Speed River.
  • Ensuring healthy habitat for fish and other aquatic life.
  • Reestablishing fish passage upstream and downstream.
  • Improving water quality.
  • Improving the aesthetics of the creek.
  • Improving fishing opportunities (for cold water species).
  • Removing the risk of dam failure. (A failure could see large amounts of sediment released into the Speed River, harming aquatic life. It could also put land users in harms way should they be downstream at the time of a failure.)

Restoration Program

A tentative schedule is presented below. It is subject to change.


  • Identify desired design features.
  • Undertake required background studies and research.
  • Contract for engineered design drawings.
  • Plan for environmental monitoring.

  • Undertake construction.
  • Begin draw down of the pond.

  • Tree planting along new stream banks (as required).
  • In-stream work to increase fish habitat (as required).

Related Sites Of Interest