Prince’s Island Park: Constructed Wetland

It was such a pleasure to discover a constructed wetland in the heart of Calgary, Canada. I’ll be honest, I didn’t know it was even there until I finally walked to the far side of Prince’s Island Park the other day. I used to work beside the entrance to Prince’s Island Park so I am amazed that I never knew about the wetland. Obviously, if you are close to the river at all in Calgary, you will notice the large population of Canada Geese and various duck species but you would never guess that there is a wetland tucked into the park. The wetland was created to treat storm water before it enters the Bow River, but it also acts as a new habitat for lots of species and increases the biodiversity of the area.

This amazing work has been carried out by the Alberta Conservation Association. By artificially damming water and planting carefully selected plants like Wood’s Rose, Balsam Poplar and Slender Wheatgrass, they have developed a very impressive constructed wetland.

After the initial construction, it is up to nature to take over and that is definitely what has happened here. Whilst walking around the wetland area, you are surrounded by waterfowl, mostly Canada Goose, Mallard and the American Widgeon and the trees that line the pathway are filled with birds. I was treated to a sighting of my first North American Water Vole which was swimming between the banks of the wetland.

North American Water Vole (Microtus richardsoni)

Wetlands are an extremely important and useful ecosystem that we need to preserve and learn more about. I love that the pathway takes you all around the wetland banks on Prince’s Island and is filled with information signage to help teach people more about the importance of the flora and fauna of this special habitat. Constructed wetlands are a concept that other large cities should be thinking about; they increase biodiversity, improve water quality and can act as a buffer zone against floods, storms and other extreme weather events, especially along coastlines.

Solace in the City

I always have and always will prefer to be in natural landscapes over urban landscapes. So, when I find myself in an urban environment I am constantly looking for little pieces of nature peeking through. Nature gives me Solace, it calms me and this is important to find in the noisy, busy world that we live in.

The city of Calgary in Canada is a thriving metropolis and is luckily surrounded by nature on all sides. The Rocky Mountains can be seen from the city and the Bow River flows right through it. The Bow River is my favourite place to visit in Calgary, as it is always filled with nature. By only taking a few steps away from the busy streets, you can experience the solace of the river. All of the urban noises are overshadowed by the sounds of the river; the fast flowing water rushing by, the Magpies and of course the Canadian Geese. You can nearly forget your in the heart of a city if you sit there for long enough, which I think is pretty amazing.

The image displays a section of the WWI memorial found along the riverside in the Kensington neighbourhood of Calgary.