The Carp River Restoration Project has utterly transformed a 4 km section of the Carp River in Kanata from a straight, shallow, silt-filled channel into a healthy wetlands ecosystem centred on a meandering stream — much as the Carp River would have been many decades ago. In addition to realigning the river channel and restoring adjacent wetlands, the project entailed planting thousands of native trees, shrubs, flowers, and grasses to provide a welcoming habitat for wildlife and to develop biodiversity.
In the early 1900s the Carp River was dredged, straightened, and widened in an effort to reduce flood damage, drain fields, and improve flow. However, a lack of erosion control caused heavy silting which eventually reduced flow and promoted flooding. The recent restoration project narrows the channel and restores its meanders, which increases the diversity of aquatic habitats.
The project was initiated by developers in order to allow housing (Arcadia) and commercial development in and near the floodplain. Reduction in floodplain area was compensated for by improving water absorption and storage, with the end objective being no net increase or decrease in peak flows from pre-restoration levels at the downstream end at Richardson Side Road. In addition to upstream inflow from Glen Cairn, the area also takes in overflow from storm water ponds on the north side of Terry Fox Drive.
The restored river and its wetlands are an excellent example of how natural areas can co-exist in suburban settings, providing recreation and ecoservices for adjacent and downstream communities:
- protecting water quality
- mitigating flooding
- controlling erosion and reducing sedimentation
- providing groundwater recharge and discharge
- providing habitat for fish and wildlife
- sequestering carbon
- capturing storm water
- providing paths for walking and cycling
An independent web site dedicated to the restoration provides detailed information: Upper Carp Wetland
See our Walking page for information on how to explore and enjoy the restoration area.
Read our commentary on the project from 2011: Kanata West Development.