Mud Lake is one of the most ecologically important natural habitats in the urban part of Canada’s Capital Region. It is identified as a Provincially Significant Wetland and an Area of Natural and Scientific Interest by the government of Ontario and is classified a Protected Area management Category IV (habitat and species management area) as followed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
Plants and wildlife
This 60-hectare natural environment is a complex of wetlands along the Ottawa River, the majority of which is made up of deciduous swamp forest. The driest part, to the west, contains a mature forest stand which is made up predominantly of white, red and burr oak, as well as white pine.
Mud Lake is a habitat for a wide diversity of animal species. Located within the Lac Deschênes Ottawa River Important Bird Area and in a major migratory corridor, it specifically serves as an important environment for bird conservation and is recognized as one of the most popular urban sites for birdwatching in Canada. 269 species of birds have been recorded, as well as numerous species of amphibians, reptiles and fish that are not commonly found either regionally or nationally. It also hosts diverse plant life, with 44 rare and 15 uncommon plant species as well as several fauna species-at-risk.
Invasive non-native plant species
Several species of invasive non-native plants threaten the biodiversity of the Mud Lake habitat. Eleven of these species have been recorded, covering about 29 percent of the total area of this natural habitat. The primary species of invasive non-native plants are the following:
- glossy buckthorn and common buckthorn (Frangula alnus and Rhamnus cathartica);
- Norway maple (Acer platanoïdes);
- garlic mustard (Alliaria officinalis);
- honeysuckle (Lonicera spp.);
- dog-strangling vine (Cynanchum rossicum).
Please note that these invasive plants present no danger to public health.
For more information about these species, please visit the Invasive Species Centre website at www.invasivespeciescentre.ca.
Vegetation management project
To protect Mud Lake’s natural habitat, the National Capital Commission (NCC) has launched a vegetation management project. The NCC plans to undertake manual and mechanical work from the fall of 2015 to fall 2017 to control invasive non-native plant species. This work will allow native plant species to become re-established, as well as help to preserve the ecological integrity of the natural environment.
For more information about the project, please click on the interactive map below.
How can you help this project?
You can help to preserve the natural habitat at Mud Lake. If you would like to participate as a volunteer in the Mud Lake vegetation management project, please contact us by email or by phone at 613-239-5373.
What is there to do at Mud Lake?
A 2-kilometre trail meanders through this area of natural and scientific interest, along the edge of the lake and through several different forest stands and different environments. Beginner or experienced birders can observe more than 240 species of birds.
The NCC asks that you please remain on official marked trails, not pick plants, and not capture or handle any animals. Dogs and other pets are not permitted at Mud Lake.
|Universal Accessibility||The western section of the official trail, from Cassels Street, is accessible to all.|
|Parking||You can park on Cassels Street.|