During the course of a site development project, WalterFedy’s water resources team identified that the existing floodplain was not functioning effectively. Our client, Birdland Developments, also expressed a desire to enhance the natural habitat of the corridor and connect it to the existing community trail network. This presented an opportunity to enhance the existing agricultural drainage ditch to create a healthy stream with a hydraulically connected floodplain. Our water resources team recommended a natural channel design with a natural cross-section, widening the overbank flow area and adding a meander, pools and rifles, and offline pools. The design was then developed in close coordination with the owner, the Grand River Conservation Authority, GSP Group, and LGL Limited. By changing the path of the stream, introducing pools and riffles, and adding offline pools, the water flowing from the warmer stormwater pond upstream is cooler, cleaner, and enriched with oxygen as it flows through the reach, creating a desirable habitat for fish and other aquatic species. The enhanced stream and functioning floodplain also provide an opportunity for a variety of plant species to grow in the stream and along the banks, improving erosion control, energy dissipation, sediment capture, and animal diversity while creating an attractive environment for pedestrians on the adjacent path.
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