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Trent-Severn Waterway National Historic Site of Canada

Two Watersheds

The Trent River basin encompasses some 218 lakes in the Haliburton Highlands region, 37 of which are directly controlled by Waterway dams. Water from these lakes flows south along either the Gull River, Burnt River, Nogies Creek, Mississauga River, Eels Creek or Jack Creek systems into the Kawartha Lakes. The Kawarthas drain down the Otonabee River into Rice Lake and on to Trenton on Lake Ontario via the Trent River. The Crowe River drains the eastern-most lakes in the Trent Watershed. Lake Scugog drains northward from the Oak Ridges Moraine to Sturgeon Lake.

The Trent River basin drains more than 12,000 km² of Central Ontario. The neighbouring Severn River watershed drains an area just over 6,000 km². Included in this watershed are the Canal Lake - Talbot River system, the Holland River, the Lake Simcoe - Couchiching basin, the Black River and the channels of the Severn River below the hamlet of Washago.

Because of the differing topography of these watersheds, they react differently to seasonal climatic variations. The fertile farmland of the Trent River and Lake Simcoe areas retains and releases water gradually following precipitation or a spring thaw. The shallow soils of the Canadian Shield which characterize the Haliburton Highlands and The Black River cannot absorb much water, resulting in more rapid runoff.