WATERSHEDS CANADA'S NATURAL EDGE PROGRAM IN THE MUSKRAT WATERSHED
Following the Love Your Lake assessment of the shoreline properties on Muskrat Lake, Watersheds Canada implemented The Natural Edge program on 5 shoreline properties in November 2017 with the help from Algonquin College students in the Environmental Technician program. The Natural Edge is a program aimed to naturalize shorelines using native trees, shrubs, wildflowers, and grasses. The use of native plants ensures that natural ecosystems are enhanced and shorelines are stabilized using the species that are best suited to tolerate the local environmental conditions. This program provides landowners with a personalized planting plan with photos of proposed planting areas and plant species, the ordering, delivering and planting of plants, as well as a follow-up visit to assess the success of the new plants and the replacement of plants, if necessary.
In Spring 2018, Watersheds Canada partnered with the MWC and Algonquin College’s Office of Applied Research to undertake the monumental task of planting 45,000 native trees and plants over the next three years along agricultural stream banks and shorelines in the Muskrat Watershed. The goal of this project, created by Watersheds Canada, is to restore shorelines to their natural state. This, in turn, will stabilize the soil, reduce erosion and sedimentation while offering new habitat for wildlife and fish. The new trees and shrubs will also help absorb excess nutrients and prevent them from entering the water which causes problematic algae growths commonly seen in Muskrat Lake. With funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation and LUSH Cosmetics, Watersheds Canada, MWC and Algonquin College set a goal of planting 15,000 trees and shrubs each year till 2021.