Sawmill Creek Report shows challenges to protecting local streams

Ecology Ottawa has been supporting a small neighbourhood team in clean-up and advocating for segment of Sawmill Creek for two years now. This hidden stretch of the urban creek has undergone dramatic changes as Ottawa South as been developed, particularly as the South Keys shopping centre has grown.

May 31, 2013 002

Looking North toward South Keys Mall

Sawmill Creek is not just a stream but a watershed and thus the surrounding ecosystem and the
biodiversity it supports all rely on its integrity.

The creek’s water quality and conditions
rely on the conditions surrounding the stream’s edges; known as the riparian zone. Clean-up teams over the seasons have spent a lot of time picking up garbage and construction debris, but have also spoken to property owners on both sides of the stream about containing garbage receptacles.




But it is not isolated stream, but interconnected to the Rideau River, the Ottawa River, the St. Lawrence and the Atlantic; so relatively minor changes at local and regional scales can have a big effect!

June 15, 2013 (2)

Properly maintained culverts and embankments reduce erosion and road runoff

This report takes us through a history of development, local significance and how the stream is being restored. Particularly dramatic are aerial photos of this piece of the stream from 1991, 2001, and 2011 – showing the dramatic encroachment of paved surfaces.

Read the full report here:


In Carleton University’s 2014 winter term a fourth year Environmental Studies student explored the development impact on this piece of Sawmill Creek.

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