by Monica Seidel, Digital Communications and Marketing Intern
Because of support for generous granting programs and individual givers, Watersheds Canada is able to offer people like Jane an opportunity to naturalize her shoreline at a reduced cost. Jane was a Natural Edge participant in September 2014, and first contacted Watersheds Canada with concerns about erosion along her shoreline. As we walked the shoreline together, Jane told us about her reservations for losing her shoreline view, and about her plant preferences for her 20.5 m of shoreline. Together we picked native species like red osier dogwood, gray dogwood, silky dogwood, highbush cranberry, and bush honeysuckle to plant on her property. Since initially participating in 2014, Jane has had Watersheds Canada staff come out to her property to help re-plant trees that were lost to erosion and animals, and also for help identifying native and non-native species growing on her property.
Jane’s shoreline in September 2014 before participating in the Natural Edge program.
What made you decide to naturalize your shoreline?
“I could see some erosion happening so I wanted to prevent that. I also wanted to keep the geese from coming up so frequently on my property, so participating in the Natural Edge program would help address both of those problems. It would make the shoreline beautiful with native plant species. The plants are also in between my septic system and the water, so they can take up any extra nutrients that aren’t dealt with in the soil, making sure excess nutrients don’t end up in the water.”
Have you had any geese coming up on your property since participating in the program?
“They haven’t come up through the dense foliage but they still come up around the dock. That’s why this year  I thought I would contact Watersheds Canada again to get more plants along the shoreline. I am fine with there being foliage along the edge of the lawn to deter the geese, and I will still be able to bring canoes down to the water and lift them over the low growing plants.”
Jane’s naturalized shoreline in September 2019.
Do you have other recommendations for other property owners who are thinking about naturalizing their shoreline?
“Well, I was apprehensive at the beginning because I didn’t want to lose any of the water view – I wanted the ‘walk right onto the beach’ effect for my property. Now when I sit on the dock, I really enjoy the look of the natural plants rather than grass coming right to the water’s edge. Natural is gorgeous! I get the view of the water from the porch and the dock but I don’t need it for all along the shoreline. An unforeseen bonus is the return of the Monarch and other butterflies. There must be some Milkweed sheltering among the Dogwoods.”
What was your experience like with Watersheds Canada and their staff?
“Everybody was great. The staff have been out a few times to plant and identify plants for me.”
Is there anything you’d like to tell someone who is considering having the program done on their property?
“Well I don’t know why anyone wouldn’t follow Watersheds Canada’s suggestions because it adds to the overall natural environment – there’s really no downside.”
Shorelines are one the richest environments on earth, but they are also among the most threatened. Habitat loss and degradation, water quality impairments, and increasing pressures from shoreline development can deteriorate our lakes and rivers, making them a priority for environmental stewardship and restoration. The Natural Edge program offers you will a free site visit to give you advice and voluntary recommendations to improve the health of your shoreline property. Contact us to learn more and book your site visit!