Project at a Glance
Robinson Consultants undertook an integrated watershed/subwatershed study for the Carp River basin.

Key features:

  • 300 km2 largely rural watershed
  • rapidly urbanizing
  • upper watershed
  • degraded channel
  • low baseflow

Key deliverables:

  • surface water strategy
  • groundwater strategy
  • greenlands plan
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Carp River Watershed/Subwatershed Study

The City of Ottawa engaged Robinson Consultants to undertake an integrated watershed / subwatershed study for the Carp River basin. This largely rural watershed includes in its headwaters a rapidly expanding urban area. The study focuses on a conservation management and resource protection strategy for the rural areas. This strategy was based on stewardship programs to protect key aquatic and terrestrial resources in agricultural and rural settings. In the rapidly urbanizing headwaters, the study focus was geared towards regulatory and policy-based development guidelines and criteria for stormwater management, natural area and groundwater protection, and stream restoration.

One of the key study findings was the significant role that the headwater tributaries, and their associated wetlands, play in maintaining base flows in the Carp River. The study demonstrated the linkage between the wetlands in the headwaters of Feedmill and Poole Creeks and the Carp River, and the need to protect them.

The study included three deliverables: a surface water strategy, a groundwater strategy, and a greenlands strategy, both for the watershed and subwatershed areas. Within the rural areas, the team conducted workshops with local farmers and landowners to determine the best mix of rural Best Management Practices that could be implemented to meet farmers' needs and protect the watercourses. At the subwatershed scale, the recommended plan provided direction for stormwater management planning and proposed a restoration plan that would improve aquatic habitats in the upper Carp River.

Comprehensive public consultation was included to obtain meaningful public input in the plan. The study made extensive use of GIS technology and the City's natural heritage information to examine inter-relationships between watershed features and to inform the public at open houses.