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Kathryn MartellLost Creeks and Wetlands of Edmonton

As cities grow and sprawl they greatly impact the nearby environment. Some of the most pervasive and far-reaching impacts are those on aquatic systems - urban infrastructure has significant effects on hydrology, aquatic creatures, and river channels. One of the major impacts occurs when creeks and wetlands are paved over, or filled to create area for urban development.

The McKernan area of west-central Edmonton is built on what was once McKernan's Lake. This lake covered approximately 30 acres and played an important community role in early Edmonton as a popular skating, curling, and picnic spot.
Groat Road, which was originally Groat Creek
What remains of Groat Creek,
which was paved to create
Groat Road.

Various studies in the '90s showed that the aquatic impact was linked to the impervious area such as pavement and concrete in water catchments, and that beyond 20% impervious area, streams begin to be severely affected. They concluded that perhaps the only prevention was to limit watershed development. This task only becomes more difficult, however, as the population booms.

Edmonton's population in 2001 was approximately 670,000 with a greater metropolitan population of 940,000, a growth of more than 8% from the previous census of 1996. Part of the current growth is being accommodated by new developments along Whitemud Creek, Blackmud Creek, Fulton Creek, and in marsh areas in the city's north end.

  • Develop an understanding of bioregional mapping and explore its relevance to city planning in Edmonton
  • Begin a documentation of Edmonton's "lost" creeks and wetlands
  • Create a graphic and geographic account of impacts to aquatic systems within the City of Edmonton
  • Produce a map of "Lost Creeks and Wetlands of Edmonton", to serve as a focus for evaluating urban impacts and a tool for directing future growth.

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