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Wetland Restoration at West Confederation Park

Project update - October 2023

We’re restoring the wetland in Confederation Park (southeast area) starting in spring 2024, that was removed over 50 years ago. This area will become a valuable habitat for many plants and animals and will feature shallow marsh vegetation including wetland grasses, sedges, and rushes.

If you have any questions about the Wetland Restoration at West Confederation Park, contact the project team by email.

About the Project


We’re restoring a small wetland in the southeast area of West Confederation Park that was removed more than 50 years ago.

This seasonal wetland will play an important role in our city. It will become a valuable habitat for many plants and animals. The wetland will also help purify the water before it recharges local groundwater. 

Wetland features

  • The wetland will be approximately ½ hectare in size –half the size of a football field.
  • This type of wetland will experience seasonal wet and dry periods. During the spring when it’s typically wet and rainy, the water level will be up to ½ metre deep. In the middle of summer, the wetland will become mainly dry.
  • Visitors can use the gravel trails and a potential boardwalk to check out aquatic plants and wildlife that live in the wetland.

Please see photo of the design of the wetland.

Photo above is the design of the wetland for the southeast area of West Confederation Park.

What you might see

Once established, the wetland will include a variety of native plants and shallow marsh vegetation, including:

  • Cattails
  • Foxtail and wheatgrass
  • Sedges
  • Rushes
  • Pin Cherry
  • Willows

The wetland will attract many species of birds and insects, and may potentially include:

  • Amphibians: Boreal Chorus Frog, and salamanders
  • Insects: Dragonflies, Damselflies, Clam Shrimp, and Caddis fly
  • Birds: Sora, Yellow-headed blackbird, Redwing blackbird, Pine Siskin, and Hawks
  • Bats

Photos above from left to right show a dragonfly, yellow-headed blackbird, and a hawk.

Background


Before The City established a Wetland Conservation Plan (2004), it was more common for wetlands, like the one in West Confederation Park, to be drained to accommodate new communities and homes in the area.

Today, as homes and industry are created, we work hard to protect these precious natural areas, or ensure that what is lost is re-created somewhere else. This project is one of the ways we’re fulfilling our ‘no net loss’ principle of the Wetland Conservation Plan.

Previous studies and engagement


In 2015, we gathered community feedback to understand how the park is being used and public opinions about restoring the wetland. Then, we completed a feasibility study in 2017 that included conducting a technical assessment to see if the wetland can be restored.

What we heard from community and park visitors

  • More than 200 Calgarians participated in the online and in-person engagement.
  • We heard strong support for the project. Participants were excited to restore the wetland and preserve nature in our urban settings.
  • Based on the size of the wetland and the fact that it’s already a generally wetter area, people didn’t foresee the wetland interfering with how they use the park; in fact, they thought the wetland might encourage them to visit the park more. 

Project timeline

  • Detailed design: Fall 2022 – Spring 2023
  • Anticipated regulatory permitting – Spring/Fall 2023
  • Anticipated construction start – Spring 2024
 

Stay connected and get involved

As we move closer to construction in 2024, we’ll be inviting the community to come out and help with the planting.

Sign up for email updates to receive news and notices about how you can get involved.

Click to view full size image

Project documents

Frequently asked questions


Why has the project been ongoing since 2015?

Since the feasibility study was completed in 2017, we’ve been pursuing provincial and funding approvals. Funding to complete the restoration is now in place through The City’s Wetland Compensation Fund.

How will the wetland impact the current park amenities?

The wetland will be located within an underutilized area of the park that typically remains wetter than other areas. The feasibility study completed in 2017 concluded the nearby regional pathway will not be impacted by flooding from the wetland in the event of a major rainstorm.

Will this wetland lead to more mosquitos in the area?

Over the long-term, once the wetland is established and becomes a healthy functioning habitat, it will attract natural mosquito predators like birds and dragon flies that will balance the mosquito population.

In the first few years of the wetland establishing, the number of mosquitos may increase, but it will balance out over time.

In general, mosquitos rely on still, standing pools of water. Since the water level in a wetland fluctuates throughout the season based on ground saturation and rain fall levels, the timing of standing water in the wetland will control the population to some extent. 

How do wetlands recharge groundwater?

Wetlands recharge groundwater by storing water before releasing it slowly. Wetlands help to recharge local groundwater and prevent downstream flooding. They will trap nutrients and sediments in water. Wetlands will then send cleaner water downstream.

Why is the pond smaller than the original?

While the original wetland was larger, as a result of urban development, existing park amenities and existing underground infrastructure such as a stormwater line, the new wetland will have a slightly smaller footprint (approx. 0.5 hectares).


This information has no legal status and cannot be used as an official interpretation of the various bylaws, codes and regulations currently in effect. The City of Calgary accepts no responsibility to persons relying solely on this information. Web pages are updated periodically. ​

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