November 2 2021 – Carp River with Janet Mason

While it was a chilly day with a few surprise snow squalls (one of which filled a participant’s binoculars), Janet Mason, a former board member of Macnamara Field Naturalists’ Club and Chair of the Friends of the Carp River Inc. challenged participants with many questions about our knowledge of the Carp River watershed.  She kept us moving at a brisk pace between stops where some of us (well, me anyway) displayed our complete ignorance of the waterway which lies entirely within the boundaries of the City of Ottawa right near our own neighbourhood.

We learned that the river begins at the Old Quarry Trail in Kanata and ends 42 kilometers later at the Ottawa River at Fitzroy. The area was dredged in the early 1900’s to create a 200-year flood plain.   Restoration has been undertaken along 2 of the 4 kilometers area (from HWY 417 to Richardson Side Road) to increase the water storage capacity while ensuring the same amount of water leaves the watershed as before.  The differences in the several ponds along the stretch hiked was highlighted and we now know not to look for turtles in the stormwater pond.

Janet discussed the shoreline management practices and arrangements made with local developers.  Sixteen hectares (5%) of the watershed were allowed for development and despite some poor choices in plant selection by those developers, this restoration is an excellent example of how natural areas can co-exist in commercial/suburban settings, providing habitat, recreation, and ecosystem services for adjacent and downstream communities.

We saw thirteen species of birds of some 150 which have been eBirded throughout all four seasons.  The deciduous and evergreen trees (many of which were planted by local Girl Guides years ago) were noted along with the great variety of Ottawa’s 13 species of Willow plant, many grasses and wildflowers which grow along the way.

Plans for a smart phone ecotracker App and a Living Classroom project are in the works by the Mississippi Regional Conservation Authority.   So, stay tuned for those.  Friends of the Carp River currently have six projects on the go along the watershed and we were encouraged to enter all observations to the iNaturalist App.


For more information about the Carp River Conservation Area, please see:

The eBird list for the outing can be found at:

eBird Checklist – 2 Nov 2021 – Kanata–Carp River Watershed Reclamation Area – 12 species (+1 other taxa)

Thank you to Janet Mason and all the wonderful the participants.

My apologies for the delay in submitting the blog.


Janet McCullough

Field Trip Coordinator, MFNC

Photos below courtesy of: Julian Romeski, Arlene Harrold, Linda Murphy and me.