The District Municipality of Muskoka and Muskoka Watershed Council have received funding through the Great Lakes Guardian Community Fund for the Restore Your Muskoka Shore program in 2018.
The purpose of the program is to restore ten privately owned shorelines located along six lakes within the District of Muskoka through shoreline re-naturalization using native trees, shrubs and plants. As shorelines are among the most ecological diverse, productive and sensitive ecosystems on earth, the program will aim to improve water quality, reduce erosion, and enhance fish and wildlife habitat.
The Restore Your Muskoka Shore program will engage a number of volunteers from the community, including landowners, neighbors and lake associations, to help with planting native trees, plants and shrubs. Properties for renaturalization will be selected based on the willingness of the landowner, the site conditions (for example high vegetation versus plain grass), and ultimately the opportunity for providing the greatest environmental benefit.
Each of the 10 properties will be planted separately during different dates, and for each property a planting event will be held in which volunteers will be engaged. The planting will feature a small workshop on planting techniques, the importance of naturalization, and the message that anyone can do this type of work on their own properties.
Funding will cover the cost of 50 plants per site (5 trees, 20 shrubs, and 25 wildflowers/ferns) as well as the associated materials (soil, mulch, etc). Additional costs, if there are any, are the responsibility of the landowner.
The Restore Your Muskoka Shore program is seeking interested lake associations to participate in the program. Lake associations will assist with promoting the program on their lake, selecting the successful applicant(s) for renaturalization, and recruiting volunteers to assist with planting. If your lake association is interested in this program, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
At least one lake association will be selected in each of the 6 Area Municipalities in Muskoka (Huntsville, Bracebridge, Gravenhurst, Muskoka Lakes, Georgian Bay and Lake of Bays).
About the Great Lakes Guardian Community Fund
As part of Ontario’s Great Lakes Strategy and to support the Great Lakes Protection Act, the Great Lakes Guardian Community Fund was set up to help 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, which supported more than 37,000 volunteers to plant over 285,000 trees and shrubs, release over 800,000 fish, create or enhance 760 kilometres of trail and collect over 2,800 bags of garbage.
This year, the Great Lakes Guardian Community Fund is investing $1.5 million in over 60 local projects to help keep our Great Lakes fishable, swimmable and drinkable.
About Watersheds Canada and The Natural Edge Program
The Restore Your Muskoka Shore program benefitted from the resources developed by Watersheds Canada for their The Natural Edge program, including an app to develop planting plans, a native plant database and aftercare resources.
Watersheds Canada is a federally incorporated non-profit organization and registered Canadian charity. Watersheds Canada believes that every person has the right to access clean and healthy lakes and rivers in Canada. They work to keep these precious places naturally clean and healthy for people and wildlife to continue using for years to come. Watersheds Canada loves working with others to meet the needs of local communities, whether it’s a concerned citizen, a landowner, a lake association looking for help, or a coalition of groups interested in activating their local community.
The Natural Edge is a shoreline naturalization program, available to waterfront property owners in select areas, to plant native trees, shrubs, groundcovers, wildflowers, and grasses along the water’s edge. The program is generously funded through Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Great Lakes Community Guardian Fund.