Native trees and shrubs help revitalize the One Mile Creek watershed

Volunteers planted 450 native plants and shrubs on Oct. 24, 2020, 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 that 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.

Oct 24 2020 tree planting of extended area along One Mile Creek. (Photo by René Bertschi)

Thanks to the hard and steady work of 50 volunteers – working in two groups of 25 because of the pandemic – the planting and mulching was done in a period of six hours. This video by René Bertschi includes drone photography that shows the first group of volunteers hard at work.

Tree list

At the request of FOMC, the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA) scoped the riparian restoration project for the area adjacent to One Mile Creek that is on land owned by the Town of NOTL. This is the park area where FOMC, working with Communities in Bloom and others, planted a demonstration native pollinator garden in 2016.

NPCA staff organized the tilling of sod to prepare for the planting as well as recruited students and others to join with FOMC volunteers for the planting.

A large area was densely planted with trees and shrubs and fully mulched. By planting trees in clusters, it is hoped that the network effect of their root systems will encourage faster and healthier growth. We also planted trees in line with the mature trees along King St. to provide for succession as the older trees decline.

QuantityPopular nameBotanical name
25Freeman mapleAcer x freemanii
20Red mapleAcer rubrum
10Sugar mapleAcer saccharum
55ServiceberryAmelanchier canadensis
50Black chokeberryAronia melanocarpa
10HackberryCeltis occidentalis
75Red osier dogwoodCornus sericea
4Tulip treeLirodendron tulipifera
25American sycamorePlatanus occidentalis
17Swamp white oakQuercus bicolor
13Red oakQuercus rubra
20Burr oakQuercus macrocarpa
6Black oakQuercus velutina
50Willow speciesSalix species
40ElderberrySambucus canadensis
30NannyberryViburnum lentago

Trees 4 NOTL project

We hope this first “Trees 4 NOTL” project will encourage more planting along One Mile Creek to restore the riparian zone.

Most of One Mile Creek flows past private property. Where adjacent neighbours of properties on One Mile Creek are receptive to riparian planting, we will try to organize a grant that can cover 75% of the cost of tree planting. If interested, please contact us using the form below.

Volunteers planting and mulching 450 native plants and shrubs on Oct. 24, 2020. (Photo by René Bertschi).

NPCA grant for King & John park

The Oct. 24 tree planting was made possible with 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 of $2,600 was covered by a $750 donation from a nearby landowner on the creek as well as a grant of $1,950 approved by the NPCA Board meeting on Oct. 16, 2019, as one of 31 restoration projects.

Because COVID prevented planting in spring 2020, the trees and shrubs were ordered and reserved to be available for this fall.

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 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.

Photo gallery: Planting day

Tree planting King and John Oct 24 2020
More than 50 volunteers helped with tree planting King and John Oct 24 2020
FOMC King and John Oct 24 tree planting Rene Bertschi 6
Oct 24 2020: Starting to mulch the newly planted native trees and shrubs.
View from drone of entire planting area for restoring riparian zone of One Mile Creek along King Street.
Oct. 24 after planting (left to right): Michael Fox, FOMC; Stuart McPherson, NPCA; Klara Young-Chin, FOMC; Kerry Royer, NPCA; Dylan Muileboom, Town of NOTL.
Oct. 24 after planting (left to right): Michael Fox, FOMC; Stuart McPherson, NPCA; Klara Young-Chin, FOMC; Kerry Royer, NPCA; Dylan Muileboom, Town of NOTL.

Photo gallery: before tree planting

King and John park turf tilled for tree planting Oct 19 2020 IMG_2081
Oct 19 2020: Hydro poles removed, turf tilled for tree planting

March 29 2020 Town staked property boundary
March 29 2020: View from John Street when Town staked property boundary with Parks Canada

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