March 15, 2022
Quinte, ON – The shorelines of the Quinte Watershed have been given a recent facelift with the completion of a 3-year shoreline naturalization project. In 2019, the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) awarded Watersheds Canada a $350,400 Grow grant to restore the Quinte Watershed’s shorelines with native plants. This project – the Natural Edge Program – was completed in partnership with Quinte Conservation, and planted 23,700 native plants on 5,800 metres of shoreline.
Beginning in 2019 and concluding in fall 2021, the Natural Edge Program was implemented throughout the Quinte Watershed with the majority of uptake in Prince Edward County, and the Moira, Napanee, and Salmon River drainage basins. These projects were completed on 75 landowner properties, which included the planting of two large agricultural buffers, as well as 11 public and community parks.
This project addressed several regional areas of concern such as fragmented wildlife habitat and poor water quality. Establishing plants near water bodies helps to:
- Reduce water runoff
- Stabilize banks and prevent soil erosion
- Prevent algae blooms by filtering out fertilizers in runoff
- Establish and connect habitat for a wide array of wildlife
- Sequester carbon from the atmosphere
Several partner organizations helped implement and connect landowners to the program. Watersheds Canada and Quinte Conservation would like to thank the Friends of Wellers Bay, Friends of the Salmon River, Friends of the Napanee River, Friends of Stoco Lake, West Lake Community Association, Big Clear Lake Association, Kennebec Lake Association, Skootamatta Lake Association, Moira Lake Association, Fourteen Island Lake Association, Quinte Field Naturalists, Belleville Rotary Club, Madoc Lions Club, PEC Natural Cover Group, Cherry Valley Park Association, O’Hara Volunteer Association, The County of Prince Edward, City of Belleville, Town of Greater Napanee, the Municipality of Centre Hastings, the Town of Deseronto, and the Municipality of Tweed for their support, as well as volunteers who assisted with plantings.
“This was a fantastic project to undertake in partnership with Quinte Conservation! We made quite an impact within three years and the reception from the landowners wanting to take part was great to see,” says Chloe Lajoie, Natural Edge Program Manager, Watersheds Canada. “I want to thank all our participating landowners, supportive partners, and volunteers. Without all of you this project would not have been possible.”
“The OTF funding allowed us to bring the Natural Edge Program to our Quinte Watershed, and the response was overwhelmingly positive,” says Maya Navrot, Quinte Conservation Outreach and Stewardship Coordinator. “Landowners were excited to explore a natural option for stabilizing their shore while supporting wildlife and protecting their water. We’re excited to continue to deliver the Natural Edge Program that has been so well received across our region and has huge impacts on the health of our local watersheds.”
The Natural Edge program included a site visit by staff where they assessed the property and determined suitable planting sites. With the input of landowners, suitable plants for the site were chosen, and a planting plan was designed on the Natural Edge App. Planting was then completed the following spring/fall.
Quinte Conservation is continuing to deliver the Natural Edge Program’s shoreline naturalization starter kits. If you have any inquiries or are interested in seeing if your property is eligible for the Natural Edge program, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit naturaledge.watersheds.ca to learn more.
The Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) is an agency of the Government of Ontario, and one of Canada’s leading granting foundations. Last year, nearly $112M was invested into 1,384 community projects and partnerships to build healthy and vibrant communities and strengthen the impact of Ontario’s non-profit sector. In 2020/21, OTF supported Ontario’s economic recovery by helping non-profit organizations rebuild and recover from the impacts of COVID-19. Visit otf.ca to learn more.
Chloe Lajoie, Natural Edge Program Manager