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Riverview Creek Naturalization Project

The goal of the Riverview Creek Naturalization project was to improve the overall health of this portion of the stream, enhancing aquatic and terrestrial habitat and improving biodiversity. Riverview Creek is highly visible within the Park and Zoo and from Water Street as well.

Through careful planning, a selection of natural channel design concepts and bioengineering techniques and materials were incorporated in to this project:

  • Re-alignment of the channel – increased the overall length of the system and decreased the bed gradient thereby reducing velocities and minimizing erosion potential;
  • Placement of natural river stone – to create riffles and pools and maintain a reasonable depth of water during low-flow conditions;
  • Installation of crib walls and root wads – stabilize the stream banks and provide refuge habitat for fish and other aquatic species; and,
  • Planting of native shrubs – along the stream banks to encourage benthic macro-invertebrate communities.
  • The Riverview Creek Naturalization  project also presented an opportunity for students from Peterborough Collegiate and Vocational School to actively participate in the project.

Riverview Creek is a warm water stream originating in the rural countryside in the Township of Selwyn. The creek is  approximately 4.5 km in length and has a catchment area of approximately 700 hectares. Riverview Creek is a tributary of the Otonabee River, entering the river at the Riverview Park and Zoo in the City of Peterborough.

Approximately 120 metres of Riverview Creek, immediately upstream of the outlet to the river, had been previously straightened and lined with concrete, a typical management practice at the time.  During the past 50+ years there has been little or no habitat for fish and other aquatic species along this section, due in part to the high flow velocities created by the straight, smooth channel.

In contrast to past management concepts, current practices promote meandering channels within a naturally vegetated floodplain as the most effective, efficient, and stable method of controlling flows, maintaining healthy streams, and ultimately protecting life and property in a watershed.

The naturalization of Riverview Creek involved:

  • removal of the concrete channel and re-alignment of the creek creating natural meanders, and the placement of river stone to create riffles and pools for fish and other aquatic species,
  • bank stabilization using crib walls, root wads and plant cuttings, and,
  • riparian buffer planting of native trees, shrubs and wildflowers along with placement of coir cloth to minimize soil erosion.

The outside banks of a watercourse typically experience the greatest hydraulic forces exerted within the stream.  A live crib wall, as pictured above, was installed to protect the outside meanders along Riverview Creek. A live crib wall is created using fresh cut timbers, soil and live plant cuttings. Eventually the timbers will decompose and the plant cuttings grow and proliferate. The resulting root mass binds the soils maintaining stream bank stability for years.

Students from Peterborough Collegiate and Vocational School helped to plant the riparian buffer of 200 native trees, shrubs and wildflowers. Interpretive signage describes the natural channel design concepts and bioengineering measures used to naturalize Riverview Creek.

Otonabee Conservation acknowledges the support of the many projects partners who contributed to the success of the Riverview Creek Naturalization project: Riverview Park and Zoo, Peterborough Utilities Services, Kiwanis Club of the Kawarthas, Ontario Trillium Foundation, Environment Canada’s Environmental Damages Fund, Community Stream Steward Program, Peterborough Collegiate and Vocational School and the Otonabee Conservation Foundation.