Perth, ON, June 29, 2022 – A recent stewardship and education event for Thousand Islands property owners showed them how the actions they take on their properties can directly protect their river’s health.
Neighbours and property owners attended a planting demonstration workshop on June 2, 2022 to learn about the many benefits of having a naturalized shoreline. Attendees could then immediately put that information into practice as they helped plant 138 native plants on two properties. In just a few hours, 286m2 of shoreline was restored using native plants. Restoring shoreline with native plants is an example of a nature-based solution that protects shorelines from erosion and flooding impacts, provides critical wildlife habitat, and provides increased shoreline resiliency in the wake of climate change.
“During the floods of 2017 and 2019, we realized how vulnerable our shoreline was,” said Blu Mackintosh, a shoreline property owner in the Thousand Islands Area. “When the water receded, we were left with erosion and bare ground at the water’s edge. There should have been vegetation providing habitat for wildlife there, helping to keep the water healthy and clean. We approached Watersheds Canada for a ‘Natural Edge’ planting plan to make our shoreline stable and beautiful with native wild plants and cope with weather extremes.”
“TIARA (the Thousand Islands Area Residents’ Association) was happy to get involved by sending volunteers to help on the actual planting day. We hope other waterfront landowners will take advantage of this program to protect their shorelines in a natural and sustainable way”, Mackintosh adds.
The Natural Edge Program works directly with landowners and community groups to restore shoreline areas using native plants and the Natural Edge iOS App that creates a customized planting plan for each property. Plants are chosen by the landowner based on their personal preferences and the site conditions found on their property. Plants like Allegheny Serviceberry, Spotted Joe-Pye Weed, and Nannyberry were chosen for the two properties planted on June 2nd because they are deep-rooted and have complex root systems, making them ideal for shoreline stabilization and controlling erosion typically experienced on the St. Lawrence River.
“Nature-based solutions are strategic actions that can be taken by property owners to protect or restore terrestrial and aquatic areas in their community”, said Chloe Lajoie, Natural Edge Program Manager at Watersheds Canada. “Our Natural Edge Program is an example of a nature-based solution. By restoring shorelines with native plant species, individuals can address the challenges they are experiencing on their property. This integrated approach sees people working with nature to combat climate change and biodiversity loss while supporting sustainable development and recreational activities on their property.”
The St. Lawrence River is just one of many Canadian freshwater bodies that benefited from the national launch of the Natural Edge Program in 2021-2022. The national launch took place across British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Ontario, and New Brunswick. It was possible because of a generous donation from the RBC Foundation through RBC Tech for Nature, a global, multi-year commitment to support new ideas, technologies, and partnerships to address our most complex environmental challenges.
“At RBC, we believe in the power of innovative technologies to address and scale solutions to some of the most pressing environmental issues of our time,” said Valerie Chort, Vice-President, Corporate Citizenship & Sustainability, RBC. “We’re proud to have worked alongside Watersheds Canada and the Natural Edge Program to develop real-world, scalable solutions to tackle the challenges that continue to plague our environment.”
A list of trained partners who currently deliver the Natural Edge Program across Canada can be found on the Natural Edge Program’s website: https://naturaledge.watersheds.ca. Property owners who are interested in renaturalizing and restoring their shoreline can participate in the Natural Edge Program by contacting a delivery partner located near them or they can use the free tools and guides on the Natural Edge website to get started on their own. The Natural Edge website includes four extensive resource guides, a Canada-wide Native Plant Database, and tutorial videos that can help landowners succeed at every stage of their shoreline restoration efforts.
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
Natural Edge Program Manager