Carp River Living Classroom

Carp River Living Classroom

Animating a river and its wetlands for education & discovery in suburban Ottawa


What Is It?
The Carp River Restoration Project has utterly transformed a four kilometre section of the Carp River near the Canadian Tire Centre in suburban Kanata. In addition to realigning the river channel and restoring adjacent wetlands, the project entailed planting thousands of native trees, shrubs, plants and grasses to support biodiversity and a welcoming habitat for wildlife.

A paved four kilometre “Riverwalk” loop, which includes attractive footbridges across the river has been created.
The potential of the site as a living classroom can now be realized when amenities and interpretation resources are added through the generosity of the business community and philanthropists.

History of the Carp River Restoration Plan
Five years ago, the Carp River and its riparian wetlands were shallow, silt-filled and unwelcoming to fish and other wildlife. However, as watershed management agencies, city planners and citizen groups committed to biodiversity conservation have long understood, the Carp River system also presented exceptional opportunities. A thoughtful program of river and wetlands rehabilitation could reintroduce native flora and fauna, provide a living classrooms on wetlands and create a recreational attraction on the doorstep of more than a million National Capital Region residents.

Photo: Elena Petrcich



Who’s Involved?
The Carp River site is guided by a stewardship team representing planning, conservation management and public education expertise, together with on-the-ground knowledge of the site’s history, geographical features, natural vegetation and wildlife inhabitants.

  • Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority (MVCA)
    The MVCA is the inter-municipal body appointed to manage the Mississippi Valley and Carp River watersheds. MVCA works closely with the City of Ottawa, the Friends of the Carp River and many other organizations to ensure that watershed management activities are well coordinated and widely understood. MVCA is the lead organization for the project and will manage the site and its amenities on behalf of the City of Ottawa.
  • Ottawa Stewardship Council (OSC)
    Volunteer-run OSC is the primary non-profit organization that is coordinating support for the project in the community and with other non-profits.
  • The City of Ottawa
    The City of Ottawa owns the site and is working with the MVCA to develop a long-term environmental management strategy to protect, enhance or restore environmental quality in the Carp and Mississippi River watersheds in ways that respond to current and future demands on the river’s resources.
  • Friends of the Carp River (FCR)
    The FCR is made up of volunteers who work with landowners, recreational users, government agencies and businesses to improve the quality of the Carp River. Since 2012, the FCR has worked closely with the MVCA to implement the Carp River Action Plan, a strategic, multi-year program to improve the most degraded mid-reach section of the Carp River

The App
In the not-distant future, the first act of discovery for many visitors to the Carp River site will be to download a free app that will transform their site experience.
Volunteer programmers and GIS specialists have developed the prototype for a GIS-enabled mobile application that will be used on-site to help visitors understand and engage with what they are seeing. Available SOON for Apple and Google Play Stores!
The app and supporting website will engage, inform, educate and entertain visitors during and following their exploration. Designed for devices such as smartphones and tablets, the app will create a high level of engagement by means of:


  • a Discovery Story that motivates visitors to approach their site experience as “explorers on a mission”
  • alerts triggered as visitors enter zones identified by GIS reference points – each alert accompanied by zone-specific information and game play
  • an “encyclopedia” of plants, wildlife, geographical details, historical events, and did-you-knows
  • fun quizzes to test what visitors have learned
  • tools to capture, upload, and share data and photos



For more information, contact MVCA’s Community Relations Coordinator Shannon Gutoskie – or 613-253-0006 ext. 225. Domain For Sale For Sale

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