July 9, 2023 – At the 14th annual Water Canada Summit and Gala Awards, an event that brought about 300 water professionals and industry leaders this week to Ottawa, Watersheds Canada’s Natural Edge Program was nominated for the prestigious Conservation Award. Chloe Lajoie, the Natural Edge program manager, and Robert Pye, Watersheds Canada’s executive director were there in honour of the nomination last night.
Jen Smith, Editor Water Canada, said “Congratulations to Watersheds Canada on being a finalist. It was absolutely true what I said at the awards dinner: there were an incredible number of nominations this year, so making it to the top 3 was quite a feat!”
“Watersheds Canada is honoured to be a finalist for this national award. We will take pride in sharing Water Canada’s recognition with all our great funders, volunteers, and staff who support our shoreland habitat restoration work,” said Chloe Lajoie.
The Natural Edge shoreline restoration program is taking critical steps to create and conserve healthy shorelands across Canada. The program removes barriers to action for waterfront property owners, municipalities, and community groups to easily restore and protect their freshwater areas.
This one-of-a-kind program uses impactful technology with its own iOS App that creates personalized restoration plans using native plant species best suited for a property based on Canada’s hardiness zones and the site’s conditions. By using nature-based solutions, the Natural Edge Program is increasing the climate resiliency for Canada’s freshwater areas. Climate resilient shorelands have reduced soil erosion, improved water quality, vital wildlife habitat, and regulated water temperatures.
Chloe said “The Natural Edge Program is a grassroots and creative approach to effectively conserve and restore the riparian zone which is the first 30 metres of a shoreline. These areas are a crucial first line of defence in protecting our waterfront communities which are seeing increased impacts from climate change and development pressures.”
“Watersheds Canada is a small team with big goals, and after 20 years, we’ve made a significant impact. This conservation award nomination by Water Canada gives us so much confidence in the work we are doing on our lakes and rivers,” said Robert Pye.
Watersheds Canada is honoured to be recognized, and congratulates the other nominees and winners, including Connected Sensors, for their important contributions to water health, education, and policy work.
The Natural Edge Program provides the needed resources and action steps for communities to bring their shoreland back to a natural state while still making it functional for everyday use. In total since 2013, 34,000m of linear shoreline and 216,000m² of riparian habitat have been restored using 105,000 native plants across 6 provinces. If you are a landowner, community group, or municipality who wants to learn more about the importance of a natural shoreland, please visit https://naturaledge.watersheds.ca for free resources, the Native Plant Database, or to book a presentation or site visit.