At the MLPOA's 2017 AGM, Paul Macinnes from the Coalition of Haliburton Property Owners Association (CHA) spoke about a shoreline naturalization initiative they were coordinating in conjunction with Watersheds Canada, and subsidized by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO). Paul told us about the dangers of pollutants to the health of the lake – particularly, the dangers of phosphorus, which can leach into the water from the septic system through the ground. Grass won’t do much to stop this process, since its roots stretch only a few inches below the surface. It also does little to stop erosion of shorelines and provides no habitat for animals or shade for fish the way shrubs and trees do. The deeper the roots, the more that phosphorous gets intercepted before it actually gets into our lake. Phosphorous is a huge concern because it’s the volume control for algae, and more and more areas are having these blue-green algae outbreaks. Of ten sites participating in the inaugural design and planting in Haliburton County, MLPOA was allocated two. A Naturalization Designer, or Natural Edge Coordinator (Courtney Alison) from Watersheds Canada visited the properties that were chosen by the Lake Associations to work with the owners in completing a plan that took into account things like sightlines to the lake they wanted to maintain, how the property is used, and preferences for appearance. From there, the designer generated a plan including more than 100 native plants including silky dogwood, pussy willow, swamp rose and meadowsweet. While grass has a root system that’s somewhere between three and five inches deep, some of these native species have roots that go between 15 and 25 feet deep.
A grant amount of $2,250 was provided by Fisheries and Oceans Canada through the CHA, meant to cover 90% of the costs of a typical private property project, including design costs, plants, and labour to plant. While the DFO initially wanted to see 10% of the total cost paid by the property owners or the lake associations, the CHA arranged for Watersheds Canada to do the plant order and planting with the help of volunteers and the result was that demo properties with a standard size naturalization incurred no cash costs, and CHA paid all bills directly and submitted to the DFO for reimbursement. Volunteers and participants included Courtney Allison and an assistant from Watersheds Canada, Jim McHardy from the CHA, Anton Davies and Rob Wittmann from the MLPOA Board, and John Miles, Jana Bowins, Hilda Gelinas and Donna Wittmann.
To read and article on the initiative in the Minden Times, follow the link to: