Black Rapids Wetland Enhancement

The NCC has teamed up with the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority to design and construct a wetland in the headwaters of Black Rapids Creek, located in the Greenbelt. The wetland will fulfill the following functions: improve water quality, provide rare wetland habitat along the Black Rapids Creek system, increase overall biodiversity.

About the project

The existing shallow wetland feature is an area of 3,444 square metres, which will more than double after construction. A tributary that presently bypasses the wetland will be redirected through the newly constructed wetland, and will provide a larger wetland feature that supports amphibian breeding, fish habitat and bird foraging, as well as act as a water supply for wildlife.

The Black Rapids Wetland Enhancement Project, undertaken in September 2016, included:

  • repositioning fill from the existing work zone to create a wetland feature with a variety of side slopes
  • installing woody debris (i.e. root wads, basking logs and sweeper trees)
  • replanting the riparian area with native trees, shrubs and wetland vegetation

Monitoring for the effectiveness of the new wetland feature is planned for 2017, 2019 and 2021.

Project benefits

  • Increased wetland habitat in the catchment
  • Improved water quality for Black Rapids Creek and the Rideau River
  • More diverse submerged and emergent aquatic vegetation
  • New and enhanced winter and summer refuge areas for aquatic organisms, including fish, turtles and amphibians
  • A quiet area for waterfowl to rear their young, and an area for shorebirds to feed
  • Increased biodiversity of aquatic and terrestrial plants, as well as fish and wildlife
  • Enhanced habitat diversity with the installation of wood structures in the form of trees, stumps and large branches
  • New functional spawning, nursery, rearing and food supply habitat in the restored wetland feature for the fish community residing in the headwaters of Black Rapids Creek
  • Potential for interpretive signage describing the project and its benefits to Black Rapids Creek and the Rideau River
  • An opportunity for community groups and local NGOs to participate in the construction and effectiveness monitoring activity
  • Use of the site for environmental educational opportunities centred on learning about wetland and habitat restoration activities
  • A unique habitat feature with high visibility along the NCC’s Greenbelt Pathway network