Volunteers planted 450 native plants and shrubs on Oct. 24 in the park area at the corner of King and John St. in Old Town in the restoration project organized by Friends of One Mile Creek (FOMC).
The planting will help restore the Niagara on the Lake tree canopy which has been devastated by Emerald Ash Borer. The Town of NOTL has removed more than 876 ash trees out of 1,500 assessed – including 214 ash trees within the One Mile Creek watershed – the area drained by the creek.
Trees intercept rainfall in their canopy, slowing down runoff and allowing water to infiltrate the root zone. This helps flood control as well as biodiversity.
Whether it’s a creek or a lake, the strip of trees and shrubs that grow along the shoreline play an important role in nature. This riparian zone acts as a buffer between land and water and improves the water quality. The buffer also contributes to wildlife habitat.
We had 50 volunteers – working in two groups of 25 because of the pandemic – plant and mulch.
Trees 4 NOTL project
We are calling this the “Trees 4 NOTL” project because we hope it will be the first of several concentrated tree planting activities in the next several years.
Most of One Mile Creek flows past private property. However, the Town owns a triangle-shaped parcel of land adjacent to the creek at the corner of King and John Streets. This is the park area where FOMC, working with Communities in Bloom and others, planted a demonstration native pollinator garden in 2016.
At the request of FOMC, the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA) scoped a riparian restoration project for the area adjacent to One Mile Creek. We now have marked planting areas and will be roto tilling the turf prior to the planting on Oct. 24. In the span of about five hours on Oct. 24 we plan to dig holes, plant trees and shrubs, water, and spread mulch.
There are two planting areas:
- Area A will be fully mulched and densely planted with native trees and shrubs. More than 150 native trees to be planted include swamp white oak, burr oak, tulip tree, Freeman’s maple, sycamore, trembling aspen, hackberry and black gum. More than 200 native shrubs will be planted including elderberry, nannyberry, red osier dogwood and chokeberry.
- Area B: Trees will be planted in line with the mature trees along King Street to provide natural succession for the older trees. These tree plantings will be spaced apart to allow for turf mowing. The trees will include pin oak, burr oak, sycamore and tulip trees.
NPCA grant for King & John park
The tree planting is made possible because of a restoration project grant from NPCA, a community-based natural resource management agency that works to protect, enhance and sustain healthy watersheds. NPCA offers watershed programs and services that focus on flood and hazard management, source water protection, species protection, ecosystem restoration, community stewardship and land management. It is one of 36 conservation authorities in Ontario.
Over the past two years ago, we engaged in discussions with several organizations in order to develop the plans. We’ve been helped by:
- Parks and Works staff of the Town
- NPCA staff for the design, community engagement of volunteers and promotion
- Parks Canada staff because the area to be planted borders the Butler Barracks land owned by Parks Canada
- NOTL Communities in Bloom committee
- NOTL Hydro (who removed decommissioned lines and poles on the site).
The project cost is estimated at $2,600. At the NPCA Board meeting on Oct. 16, 2019, a grant of $1,950 was approved for this riparian plantings as one of 31 restoration projects. As well, FOMC has secured a $750 donation for the project from a neighbour in the area.
Because COVID prevented planting in spring 2020, the trees and shrubs were ordered and reserved to be available for this fall.
Future restoration plans
We hope the King and John plantings will provide a demonstration of the potential to begin to replace the hundreds of trees that have been lost to Emerald Ash Borer. For instance, by planting trees in clusters, it is hoped that the network effect of their root systems will encourage faster and healthier growth.
In future years, we want to encourage tree planting along One Mile Creek where it flows past private property. We need to identify neighbourhoods where the owners of properties bordering on One Mile Creek are receptive to riparian planting. If you own property along the creek – or know someone who does who might be receptive – please let us know by providing info in the form below. We will make a list of possible locations for future restoration projects in 2021 and 2022.
Interested in future plantings?
We hope to organize more restoration projects in 2021 and 2022 on the private property along One Mile Creek. Please let us know of your possible interest. At this point, there is no commitment to participate and we cannot guarantee that a project will be planned and approved.