The Carp River system extends for forty-four kilometres through Kanata and West Carleton, to the Ottawa River at Fitzroy Harbour. After two centuries of alteration and intense use, the river has become more of a drainage ditch than a waterway. Many of our land use practises have directly contributed to rapid increases in river-bank erosion, siltation and subsequent flooding, overheating, algae growth, loss of fish and wildlifehabitat, and low oxygen content.
In 1993, WestCarleton Township’s Environmental Advisory Committee (EAC) began an extensive study of the problem. It was quickly established through landowner surveys and workshops that there was much interest in improving the river’s quality of life – both in and along it. It was also revealed that the most effective way to do this was to re-plant the banks with trees and shrubs, thus restoring the vegetation cover and its stabilizing root structure. By 1997, trial plantings had begun by volunteer community groups.
On the recommendation of the EAC and the Action Plan Coordinator, the Friends of the Carp River was formed. This citizen’s group would collaborate with the landowners and the public, and direct the project. Its goal: to encourage new shoreline management practices, thereby helping to restore the “ribbon of life” along the river’s length.
Today we work with Mississippi Valley Conservation and the City of Ottawa, with active support from the Ottawa Stewardship Council and the Rural Clean Water Program.