Hamilton Watersheds

Note: This analysis has been completed for a scoped area of interest and not the entire municipal boundary for amalgamated Hamilton. Please see this blog post for more details.

Hamilton is a very interesting city from a watershed perspective. Within most of the urban boundary, it has 5 main watersheds: Spencer, Chedoke, Red Hill, Battlefield and Fifty Creeks. The Spencer and Red Hill watersheds alone cover 150 square kilometres, or 45% of urban Hamilton. The other two make up another 12%.

About 18 square kilometres (6%) of area drains into Cootes Paradise via numerous small creeks. The downtown and Stoney Creek areas of Hamilton are served by interstitial drains, covering another 60 square kilometres (20%).

Hamilton’s topography is distinctive in that the Niagara Escarpment runs right through it, and this is a big influence on the city’s drainage. The remaining 55 square kilometres (17%) of the Hamilton urban area has its drainage directed to external watersheds. Some goes to the Grand River, which actually drains into Lake Ontario, and some goes into the Welland River, Twenty Mile Creek and Forty Mile Creek watersheds that drain east into Niagara.

The map below shows rough boundaries of the watersheds. Overtop of that, I have mapped the numerous watercourses within them, as well as the Niagara Escarpment for reference. This started after building a similar resource I made for myself in Toronto, so I could remember the name of whatever I was following on my walks. Now I am expanding it to all metroscapes cities, mostly because it’s just so interesting.

This is a work in progress. See a mapping error? Have a name to put to an unnamed tributary? Please feel free to send me comments.

Watersheds in Other Cities