Sjoholm Renaturalization on Stewart Lake
Site Visit: August 17, 2018
Planting Date: October 5, 2018
The Sjoholm Family cottages on a very small island in Stewart Lake. In the winter of 2013/2014 the property was vandalized by a trespasser and a couple of small structures were burned down. The environmental impact of this fire was significant, with numerous trees damaged and requiring removal and a large amount of natural vegetation lost. The Sjoholms have been working hard to help the shoreline recover but are concerned about erosion and the loss of shade impacting the health of the moss and other groundcover.
The Sjoholms applied for a Restore Your Muskoka Shore grant to enhance this damaged section of shoreline with native plant species and trees. The property has almost barren-type conditions (thin soil over bedrock, bedrock outcrops, hot and dry) which presents a challenge for establishing new species. Species tolerant of these conditions, such as Lowbush Blueberry (already abundant on the island), Smooth Serviceberry, and Fragrant Sumac were among those chosen.
This section of the island is an important habitat for aquatic turtles as they enjoy basking on a small floating animal habitat platform (installed by the Stewart Lake Association) throughout the spring and summer and they often lay their eggs in the sandy soil near the shore.