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Health of the Rideau River

 

Long Island to Hogs Back

In this partially urban area, the biodiversity of the River is under pressure.

image Health Card image
Sad face.
Northern leopard frog, Lithobates pipiens.
Northern leopard frog, Lithobates pipiens.
The elimination of shoreline vegetation and leaf litter, fallen tree trunks and branches, and logs has removed essential breeding habitats for frogs, turtles and birds.
Sad face.  Native aquatic plant diversity is low in this section of the River. This can be blamed on manicured lawns that reach to the water's edge, and on the many retaining walls that transform the River into an artificial channel with abrupt and tilted banks. Also, Eurasian water milfoil is an exotic plant species that has invaded the area to the detriment of indigenous plants.
Sad face.  The zebra mussel, an invasive exotic species, is so abundant that it poses a grave threat to the survival of native freshwater mussel populations.
Zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha) carpeting the floor of Mooneys Bay.
Zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha) carpet the floor of Mooneys Bay.
  Water Quality
Sad face.   Phosphorus is present in high concentration, the highest recorded from all sections of the River studied in this Project. Elevated levels of phosphorus cause excessive plant growth, thereby creating dense plant beds and large floating mats of decaying algae.  
Happy face.   During the course of the Project, levels of E. coli bacteria in this section of the River were low enough to permit swimming on most days.  
    Highlights
  • Shoreline restoration and protection is intended for Mooneys Bay.


Agriculture and Residential Development
Map of the Rideau River between Long Island and Hogs Back.
See a detailed map
of the Rideau River between Long Island
and Hogs Back.
In terms of the countryside that lines the shore, the length of the River between the Long Island and Hogs Back lock stations offers two distinct segments. Agricultural fields and forested areas line the River between Long Island (near Manotick) and Black Rapids Park. In some places, there are large cattail beds that buffer wave action caused by boat traffic. In others, however, the shoreline is being eroded because crops are grown to the water's edge, which provides no protection from motorboat wakes or runoff from heavy rain.

Mallard, Anas platyrhynchos.
Mallard, Anas platyrhynchos.
See also:
Biodiversity at a Glance: the situation of animals and plants, evaluated with the help of a Biodiversity Index.

Water Quality at a Glance: measurements of several components indicate the quality of the water.

Comparative graphs of the different sections of the River.

 

  Long Island to Hogs Back  
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 Don't Overlook...  
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A Project of the Canadian Museum of Nature
 Images: Canadian Museum of Nature, Thomas Cook, Hemera, André Martel