July 27, 2020, Perth, Ontario – Watersheds Canada, Canadian Wildlife Federation, private donors, and the Love Your Lake Program are helping property owners across Eastern Ontario naturalize their shorelines with the new Natural Edge shoreline re-naturalization starter kit.
Lakes in Ontario are dominated with high levels of shoreline development and nutrient loading. Water quality studies show that much of the poor water quality is linked to land-based activities and lack of shoreline vegetation. Therefore, creating and maintaining a natural shoreline is the best line of defense when it comes to protecting our freshwater. To make naturalizations easier, the Natural Edge Program guides landowners through every step of the process, from planning to planting. It empowers property owners to restore their shoreline, protect their water quality, and create habitat for wildlife and pollinators using native trees, shrubs, and wildflowers.
Each $250 Natural Edge shoreline re-naturalization starter kit includes:
- A site visit;
- A customized planting plan;
- 50 native plants including 35 bareroot plants, 10 potted plants, and 5 wildflowers;
- 45 coconut fibre mats;
- Tree guards (if required); and
- 3 care guides.
Trained staff walk a property owner’s shoreline with them from a safe physical distance to create a planting plan using Watersheds Canada’s self-developed Natural Edge iOS App. Natural Edge staff act as a guide through the entire process and answer any questions or concerns that come up. Each starter kit is customized to each property owner and their preferences, including low height growth options and those seeking to attract pollinators using native shrubs and wildflowers.
“We’re excited to continue offering our Natural Edge Program through our new starter kits” says Chloe Lajoie, Natural Edge program manager. “We hope to reach new regions and help more landowners with taking on the role of restoring their shoreline.”
The Natural Edge Program can be applied to any shoreline property, whether a property has grass to the water’s edge, or has an existing natural vegetation buffer that can be further enhanced. Landowners can also easily order more than 50 plants if desired – staff add them to the planting plan at cost and take care of all the ordering for pick-up. Starter kits will be available for pick up fall 2020. Interested landowners are encouraged to book a free site visit early as limited starter kits are available under this program. Please note: two or more property site visits per day are required for locations more than 150 kilometres from the Watersheds Canada office in Perth (115-40 Sunset Blvd).
“The Canadian Wildlife Federation (CWF) is proud to be a funding partner for this great initiative,” said Terri-Lee Reid, CWF conservation researcher. “Planting native vegetation along shorelines provides so many great benefits to the health of shorelines and lakes. From protecting against erosion to reducing the amount of runoff into lakes, a naturalized shoreline is a simple step property owners can take to create long term benefits for wildlife by creating healthy shoreline habitats in which they thrive.”
Photo One: Sample page from a shoreline property’s planting plan. Plans are created on-site with landowners and Natural Edge staff based on a property’s soil and sunlight conditions, and the landowner’s personal preferences.
Shorelines are one of the richest environments on earth, but they are also among the most threatened, making them a priority for environmental stewardship and restoration. Since 2013, the Natural Edge Program has planted over 16,242 metres of shoreline using over 54,983 native trees, shrubs, and wildflowers. Regional delivery partners in Ontario, New Brunswick, Saskatchewan, and Alberta have been hard at work naturalizing residential, agricultural, and public parks (demonstration sites).
In addition to the support and hard work of local organizations, this Natural Edge starter kit program receives generous funding support from the Love Your Lake Program in partnership with Canadian Wildlife Federation and Rogers Foundation, private donors, and the Daniel and Susan Gottlieb Foundation. This support is crucial in expanding the program across Ontario, and Canada in the near future.
Visit NaturalEdge.Watersheds.ca to learn more ways to improve your shoreline health. #NaturalEdge
About Watersheds Canada
Watersheds Canada is a national non-profit charitable organization that works with landowners, communities, and organizations to enhance and protect lakes and rivers through developing effective and transferable long-term solutions. Watersheds Canada envisions people caring for their waters, resulting in clean, healthy lakes and rivers to support humans and wildlife for years to come. Learn more at Watersheds.ca
About the Canadian Wildlife Federation
The Canadian Wildlife Federation is a national not-for-profit charitable organization dedicated to ensuring an appreciation of our natural world and a lasting legacy of healthy wildlife and habitat. By spreading knowledge of human impacts on the environment, developing and delivering education programs, sponsoring research, promoting the sustainable use of natural resources, recommending policy changes, and co-operating with like-minded partners, CWF encourages a future in which Canadians can live in harmony with nature. For more information, visit CanadianWildlifeFederation.ca
Natural Edge program manager