Natural Edge – Shoreline Restoration

Why are shorelines important?

Shorelines are vital habitat. Throughout their lifetimes, over 90% of aquatic species use shorelines for food, shelter, breeding, and rearing areas. Healthy shorelines are vital to maintaining the overall health of lakes and other bodies of water. Shorelines help filter pollutants, protect against erosion, and provide habitat for fish and other forms of wildlife. Shorelines are some of the most ecologically productive places on Earth. They support plants, microorganisms, insects, amphibians, birds, mammals, and fish. The first 10‐15 metres of land that surround lakes and rivers are responsible for 90% of lake life which are born, raised, and fed in these areas. Protect your shoreline with native plants that are the best adapted to your region in Canada. Native plants help protect your property from erosion, reduce flood water damage, and improve water quality.

Does your property have a Natural Edge?

Shorelines are one of 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.

Shorelines are the ribbon of life, providing habitat, including shelter and food, for over 90% of aquatic wildlife.

Example of a bare shoreline at Blackstrap Lake

The purpose of the Natural Edge program is to increase the amount of native vegetation within the riparian zones of waterbodies resulting in healthy and vibrant shorelines. This leads to cleaner waters, resilient shorelines, and an increase in wildlife habitats, of both aquatic and terrestrial species that depend on this crucial area. Secondly, this program works to educate landowners about maintaining a natural riparian zone and their role as shoreline stewards in preserving and caring for their shorelines. The Natural Edge program works on a simple step-by-step structure; education, one-on-one site visits, individualized planting plans, ordering of planting materials, plantings, and follow-up with continued support.

An example of a Natural Edge project before (2016, on left) and after (2019, on right).

Our planting plans are created onsite with the landowner and provide detailed information and plans to re-naturalize your shoreline property. We take photos of areas for planting and overlay native plants that are well suited to the property based on site conditions such as soil type and sunlight availability.

We are working with landowners to create a plan that works for them including options for low-growing plants in areas where views are important.

Us onsite building the plan at Blackstrap Lake

We are completing two shoreline restorations this summer through the Natural Edge program. On April 12th, we went to Outlook Regional Park for the survey and creation of a planting plan.

The Planting Site at Outlook Regional Park

On May 5th, we went to the Resort Village of Thode at Blackstrap Lake to begin the plan for their shoreline restoration.

The Planting Site at Blackstrap Lake

We will be returning on June 6th to both sites for plant drop-off with the landowners. Once they have finished planting, we will take our own “after” photos to share.

This project would not be possible without the support of the Royal Bank of Canada and Watersheds Canada. We are always thankful to our sponsors, who allow us to fulfill great projects like these!