Carp River Monitoring Program

Does 1 inch of rain equal a 1 foot rise in the Carp River?

Since August of 2012, volunteers have been monitoring rain fall and water level at 6 locations along the length of the Carp River.  The data are sent to the MVCA for analysis to correlate rain fall with the rise and fall of the Carp River.
VolunteerMonitoringMap

The genesis of the program was that data about the river were needed to measure any impact of changes in the river’s watershed. In addition, anecdotal accounts from long time residents were that downstream flooding, particularly at the village of Carp, had been increasing over the years. The cause(s) for the change are not confirmed, but climate change (increase in number and scale of large rainfall events), increase in upstream runoff from more hardscape, and sedimentation are suspected.

Bridge GaugeThe objectives for the program are to:

1. create baseline water level data along the entire length of the Carp River;
2. monitor changes, if any, over the years as upstream development occurs, particularly at Kanata West in the near term;
3. monitor changes, if any, due to remediation measures, particularly large scale engineered restoration projects (which includes what is being done as part of Kanata West); and
4. calibrate a hydraulic model so that changes can be applied to create river behaviour projections.

Data from volunteers are integrated with data from three MVCA flow gauges in the river, which are located at Maple Grove in Kanata, Richardson Side Road, and Kinburn.

A detailed downloadable map in PDF of all monitoring locations in the Carp River watershed is available.

Trends

The MVCA has been monitoring flow rates at Kinburn since 1972.   These are measurements taken at a single point in the river, but some conclusions can be drawn.  There is less water flowing in the Carp River averaged over the year likely due to lower snow fall, but there is more water in the river in the summer:

  • The maximum annual flow has been decreasing.  This correlates with less snow melt.
  • The mean annual flow has decreased slightly.
  • The maximum summer flow has been increasing, likely due to more frequent and larger summer storms.
  • Mean summer flows are increasing.  While a trend in higher temperatures should lead to more evapotranspiration, it is believed that summer flow rates are higher due to more hard surfaces upstream.
  • The minimum summer 7-day mean flow has been increasing.

Historical graphs of the data in PDF are available.