Ribbon of Life

The health of a lake or river hinges on the delicate shoreline – the “Ribbon of Life.”  The complex interplay of plants, animals, land, wetlands, and water combine to make the shoreline the single most important part of the river ecosystem.

  • Shorelines are breeding grounds, nurseries, food sources, shelter, and hiding places for many species.
  • 90% of all living things in a lake or river are found along the shoreline.
  • Shorelines are effective natural filters and buffer zones, acting as the “kidneys” for the watershed.
  • Shorelines help to improve the quality and quantity of ground water.
  • Polluted run-off is trapped and absorbed by the vegetation, thus protecting water quality.
  • A well-treed shoreline disrupts the flight pattern of geese, which are attracted to bare floodplain for ease of landing and takeoff when they pillage farmers’ crops.

Benefits from the Carp River’s Ribbon of Life

Together with its main tributaries, the Carp River sustains a Ribbon of Life almost 100 kilometres long across Stittsville, Kanata South, Kanata North, West Carleton, and Rideau-Goulbourn

Clean Drinking Water.  Water from the Carp River and its tributaries (Poole Creek, Huntley Creek, Corkery Creek, and Feedmill Creek) empties into the Ottawa River and contributes to the City’s drinking water.

Climate Change.  The Carp River’s wetlands and floodplains store, release, and filter water with the seasonal rhythm of winter snow pack, spring freshet, and summer drought. Resilience in the system moderates extremes of flood and drought.

Habitat. The river’s ecosystem provides habitat for wildlife, including species at risk like the Blanding’s turtle, Snapping turtle, and Barn Swallows.  Plants along the shoreline offer pollinators a bounty of nectar-filled flowers from spring through fall.

Recreation.  In addition to the ecological benefits of a healthy water system, the Carp River provides many recreational opportunities such as canoeing, hiking, bird watching, and fishing.   Check out our recommendations for paddlingwalking, and fishing the river.

Snapping turtle hatchling at the Carp River Conservation Area.
Kingfisher at storm water pond connected to the Carp River.