Wildflower planters wanted! New program seeks shoreline stewards
Wild about wildflowers? Interested in shoring up your shoreline against invasive species? Waterfront landowners in Muskoka can beautify their shorelines with shrubs and wildflowers while reaping the benefits of biodiversity! Muskoka’s new Restore Your Muskoka Shore program will help residents with installing new shoreline gardens.
The Muskoka Watershed Council, in collaboration with The District Municipality of Muskoka, has received funding through the Great Lakes Guardian Community Fund for a new program which offers natural waterfront garden installation with wildflowers and other native plants—from the consultation stage through to volunteer planting—to private waterfront landowners.
The Great Lakes Guardian Community Fund is a Provincial funding program that helps people take action to protect and restore their corner of the Great Lakes. Since it launched in 2012, the Great Lakes Guardian Community Fund has awarded $7.5 million to 375 community-based projects.
The Restore Your Muskoka Shore program will provide the tools to allow landowners to implement the shoreline stewardship practices they have learned from past educational outreach initiatives, such as the Love Your Lake program and the Federation of Ontario Cottagers’ Association’s DockTalk program. This time, the tools are the actual plants themselves with access to the resources to install them.
Shoreline biodiversity and healthy, well-vegetated riparian zones will be the key themes expressed throughout each project.
Healthy riparian zones are the natural, vegetated buffers that extend from sunlit waters onto land and help protect lakes, streams and rivers from upland impacts. They include natural vegetation as well as fallen trees, branches, washed-up logs, and the rocks or pebbles that run along any length of shoreline.
Natural shoreline buffers maintain water quality by reducing erosion, filtering out sediments, slowing the flow of water, taking in excess nutrients and, to a degree, processing contaminants that might otherwise enter the water unchecked.
A shoreline buffer acts like our eyelashes, keeping sediment and irritants (pollutants) out of the watershed. In addition, shoreline buffers provide suitable habitat for all developmental cycles of many wildlife species, particularly amphibians, reptiles, fish and macroinvertebrates.
Muskoka Watershed Council is seeking a limited number of lake association to participate in the program, with at least one in each of the six Area Municipalities in Muskoka. If your lake association is interested in participating in this shoreline restoration program, please contact the Muskoka Watershed Council at firstname.lastname@example.org by July 12th. First come first served!