A young male volunteer, kneeling on the grass, plants a tree on a river shoreline.

Why are shorelines important?

The shoreline is where land, water, and air meet. It is a vital link providing plants and wildlife the resources they need for life. We also rely on shorelines for sustenance. People have grown up along the water's edge and we continue to return to the shore to rest and restore our spirits. Those of us who live by water experience its magic every day. Our health and the long-term value of our waterfront property depend on how we care for the shore - the “ribbon of life”.

Natural Shorelines: The Best Approach

A natural shoreline is considered the best approach to protecting a lake or river's edge. Planting and maintaining a buffer zone along your shoreline will have many benefits. This zone, made of native plants, will slow erosion, provide food and shelter for fish and wildlife, and protect your property. Best of all, natural shorelines mean less work and more time to enjoy the water. Roots from shrubs and trees absorb wave and ice energy. This stabilizes soils and prevents erosion. Shrubs and trees also discourage Canada Geese. This means you won't have to deal with their waste or have nuisance interactions with these birds. Plants near the shore slow surface runoff and filter contaminants before they reach the lake. Naturalized shorelines provide vital food and shelter for fish and wildlife species.

Natural Edge Shoreline Naturalization Program

full service natural edge program, showing a page from a planting plan and the finished planted shoreline

Quinte Conservation is a delivery partner of Watersheds Canada's Natural Edge Program. By offering a shoreline restoration program, we aim to make it easy and engaging for waterfront property owners to naturalize their shoreline with beautiful native species. Natural shorelines protect against erosion, support wildlife, and help to protect water quality.

Our program includes a free (confidential) site visit, the creation of a customized shoreline-planting plan, and Ontario native trees, shrubs and wildflowers.

Each planting plan takes into consideration the site conditions (light, soil, and moisture) and landowner preferences (aesthetics, access, maintaining water views, supporting wildlife).

Watch: A Natural Edge Site Visit

Subsidized shoreline naturalization kits are available in 2024  

Each kit includes:

  • A site visit and customized planting plan
  • A minimum of 50 native plants, including potted trees, shrubs, and wildflowers
  • Coconut fibre mats for trees and shrubs
  • Mulch for wildflowers
  • Tree guards (as needed)
  • A Plant Care Guide, Habitat Creation Guide, and Wildflower Garden Guide

If you are interested in learning more about the project or connecting with project staff for a confidential free site visit, please apply.

Apply now  

Additional Resources

Restoring Your Shoreline

Solutions for Shoreline Erosion

Healthy Waterfronts

Lake Protection Workbook: A Self-Assessment Tool for Shoreline Property Owners

BQRAP Habitat Enhancement Grant Program for Waterfront Property Owners 

For more information, call 613-968-3434 ext. 124 or email stewardship@quinteconservation.ca.