Dredging Season Begins in Toronto’s Keating Channel

PortsToronto will be hard at work over the next twelve weeks dredging thousands of tonnes of sediment which has built up where the Don River empties into the Keating Channel. The annual process, which involves scooping material from the bottom of the channel using a barge and excavator, is imperative to prevent siltation and debris from spilling into the harbour.  Further, a build-up could cause the river to back up and result in flooding.

In 2017, PortsToronto removed approximately 25,000 cubic meters of sediment material from the mouth of the Don River. Once the material is removed, the natural sediment is transported by dump scow barges to the Leslie Street Spit for containment in one of the specially designed cells or Confined Disposal Facility (CDF), specially designed by PortsToronto to properly contain the natural materials dredged from the channel and other parts of the harbour.

Over time, this process provides new habitats for marsh birds, turtles, small mammals and native fish while helping to prevent flooding and the potential for debris to enter the harbour. PortsToronto worked closely with the Toronto Region Conservation Authority (TCRA) to complete the Cell 1 Wetland Creation Project in 2007. The CDF was converted into a seven-hectare coastal wetland that has significantly increased fish populations with reports of pike and walleye returning to the harbour.

The Cell 2 wetland was officially completed in September 2016, providing an additional 9.3 hectares of habitat for a variety of fish and wildlife and more green space for the recreational enjoyment of the surrounding communities. The remaining cell (Cell 3) will continue to be used for dredged materials for the next 30-40 years until its capacity is reached.