Upper Carp Wetland

In January 2016, construction started on Phase 1 of the Carp River Restoration Project (CRRP) between Richardson Side Road and Highway 417. The full restoration project involves the realignment of the river and the construction of one habitat pond and nine wet meadows with scenic viewing features, planting and landscaping. Construction will also include multi-use pathways in the river corridor along with five bridge crossings over the Carp, Poole and Feedmill Creeks. Phase 1 of the project, expected to be completed by spring 2017, will also include a multi-use pathway between the intersection of Terry Fox Drive and Richardson Side Road, and the planned extension of Campeau Drive. Connections to the new residential communities on the west side of the Carp River are also proposed.

The later stages of the project, south of Highway 417, are expected to begin in early 2017 with the entire project planned for completion in 2018. The pathways will provide an excellent opportunity from which to view and study wetland life. 

Carp River - 2005

Until the early 1900s the upper portion of the Carp River was a wetland with a wide, shallow and indistinct flood-plain that was straightened and ditched by the Township of March to create farmland.  Some of this land became housing developments in the 1960s and were incorporated into the City of Kanata in 1978 and then the City of Ottawa in 2001. 

The broad, flat Carp valley is prone to flooding because water does't readily penetrate Leda clay. In July 2009, a 100-millimetre, 24-hour rainstorm flooded about 1,500 homes. It became quite apparent the flood-plain had to be modified to provide for safe development, hence the Carp River Restoration Plan (CRRP).  But the costs of the plan - to be split 75:25 between developers and the City - keep going up, and environmental benefits (artificial ponds for fish and waterfowl habitat and recreational pathways) - kept getting scaled back. 

The questions now are whether the restored urban reach of the wetland from Hazelden Rd downstream 6km to the urban boundary at the Robertson Side Road and 500m beyond will provide sufficient drainage when having to flow through the shallow sediment filled rural reach of the former municipal drain?  And, how long will it take for this engineered wetland to provide the eco-system services of a natural wetland, functions such as:

  • protecting water quality
  • reducing flood damage
  • controlling erosion
  • providing groundwater recharge and discharge
  • providing habitat for fish and wildlife
  • recreational enjoyment
  • sustainable wetland habitat
  • retention of carbon to help slow the release of greenhouse gases?

The CRRP is the City's most extensive and expensive wetland rehabilitation endeavour ever undertaken and will take many years to determine its success. It is generally believed that it takes at least a decade to determine whether the many small ecosystems found in a natural wetland are functioning in a sustainable manner in the new terrestrial and hydrological features..  The City and the MVCA are committed to monitoring the general functioning of the wetland over the first two years with developers prepared to make necessary changes, but it will likely depend on the community's knowledge and skills to determine how well the wetland functions over the long term.

Poole Creek - WEPP, 2011

Monitoring opportunities:
  1. What is the impact on the rural downstream Carp River?
  2. How well is the restoration functioning related to:
Wetland features
    • Carp River
    • Poole Creek
    • Feedmill Creek
    • streams
    • outfalls
    • recreational pathways
    • walking trails
    • informal community connections
    • parks
    • rural downstream
    • water routes