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PERTH, May 15, 2023 – Staff and volunteers duelled thick grass, invasive species and hardened shorelines last weekend as they planted nearly 1,200 native trees, shrubs and wildflowers along the Tay River in Last Duel Park.
The Rideau Valley Conservation Authority (RVCA) partnered with the Town of Perth to implement the major shoreline naturalization project at the former campground. Environment and Climate Change Canada’s (ECCC) Nature Smart Climate Solutions Fund provided funding.
All told, staff and volunteers helped naturalize more than 350 metres of shoreline on May 13.
The new plantings in three areas along the existing pathway left room for three lookouts over the Tay River, and in some areas favoured low-growing plants to preserve the view for path users.
Natural shorelines are the “ribbon of life,” with more than 90% of lake and river species depending on the intersection of land and water at some point during their life cycles. Natural shorelines also help to reduce erosion as deep-rooted native plants and trees hold the soil in place in the face of wake, wind and runoff. They also slow stormwater so it has time to soak into the ground, filtering contaminants in the process and improving local water quality.
“We’re thrilled to partner with the Town of Perth to bring this project to life,” said RVCA’s shoreline naturalization co-ordinator Brandon Holden. “It may not look like much right now, but once these plants and trees take root residents will reap the benefits of this healthy shoreline for decades to come.”
This won’t be the last duel for the new shoreline plants, though. They’ll contend with competing grasses and invasive species for at least three years as the new plants take root and begin to grow. To aid them in their battle, coir mats have been deployed to suppress weeds and grasses around many of the seedlings. While the planting areas are designated no-mow zones, some maintenance may be required if existing grasses or invasive species begin to out-compete the native plants.
“We extend a huge thanks to the volunteers who came out over the Mother’s Day weekend to improve their park and support natural climate solutions in their community,” said Shannon Baillon, Director of Community Services at the Town of Perth. “We look forward to enjoying a more beautiful shoreline for years to come.”
RVCA offers generous financial and technical support for shoreline naturalization for any waterfront landowners in the Rideau Valley watershed. Learn more and book a site visit at https://www.rvca.ca/stewardship-grants/shoreline-naturalization/shoreline-naturalization-program.