August 30, 2016

Improving and Doubling the Size of a Wetland

The National Capital Commission and the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority Team Up to Enhance Black Rapids Creek

An important wetland in the Greenbelt’s west end will soon become a bigger and better piece of nature. The National Capital Commission (NCC) will team up with the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority (RVCA) and the Great Lakes Guardian Community Fund to enhance and double the size of the existing wetland in the headwaters of Black Rapids Creek.

The Black Rapids Wetland Enhancement Project will see the headwater wetland just off Woodroffe Avenue double in size from nearly 3,500 square meters to almost 7,000 square metres. It will be excavated and enhanced to include standing water, wetland plants and other habitat features such as turtle basking logs and nesting areas.

The Black Rapids Creek is a valuable meandering six kilometre stretch that provides habitat for some 19 fish species and numerous amphibians, reptiles and mammals.

Located in Ottawa’s west end, the creek’s headwaters begin around Greenbank Road and from there it flows east crossing Woodroffe Avenue, Merivale Road and Prince of Wales Drive before emptying into the Rideau River south of the Black Rapids Lock Station.

These enhancements will allow for improved water quality, more diverse plants to grow and provide winter and summer habitat for reptiles and amphibians. Local waterfowl will also benefit, as wetland areas like this are ideal spots to safely rear and feed their young. Root wads, sweeper trees and basking logs will be installed for turtles, waterfowl, amphibians and aquatic insects to use.

“Headwater areas and wetland features are quite unassuming areas, but they are very important pieces of the bigger watershed ecosystem,” said RVCA biologist Jennifer Lamoureux. “Having healthy, well-functioning headwaters means big benefits downstream. Improving this wetland feature will benefit Black Rapids Creek and also the Rideau River.”

The project construction is scheduled to start in early September and should take approximately three to four weeks to complete. There should be little to no impact on traffic on Woodroofe Avenue (north of Fallowfield). The area will be fenced off and signage installed to ensure public safety during construction.

“The National Capital Commission is delighted to partner with the RVCA and Great Lakes Community Guardian Fund to make real gains for this watershed and the health of the NCC’s Greenbelt natural areas,” said Eva Katic, Acting Chief, Greenbelt and Natural Resources “The engagement of these experts and local volunteers will bring us closer to achieving our natural area restoration goals for this project.”

Additional work will be undertaken by RVCA staff in coming years to monitor the health of the wetland habitat. “Ensuring success is critical,” says Lamoureux. “We want to make sure that this project thrives and operates as predicted. If not, we look for solutions and make additional efforts to ensure that the habitat succeeds.”

Changes do take time, but it is anticipated that the wetland will quickly become a vibrant natural area — making it a more valuable new feature for the health of the Canada’s Capital City.

For more information, contact

Jennifer Lamoureux
RVCA biologist
613-692-3571, ext. 1108
Jean Wolff
NCC Media Relations  
613-613-797-0279 (cellular)

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