Success Story - At Home
Wabamun Lake Shoreline Naturalization Project
Urbanized shorelines with retaining walls and non-native vegetation are very common on lake properties in Alberta. They have a huge impact on the lake and shoreline, from impacting aquatic life and water quality to reducing the stability and diversity of the lake shore.
More naturalized shorelines protect the shoreline from erosion, prevent nutrient loading, re-establish wildlife habitat, improve fish habitat and water quality, and are more visually pleasing. With this in mind, Kelly and Doug Aldridge decided to naturalize their Seba Beach property on Lake Wabamun, showing that reversing an urbanized shoreline into a healthy natural environment is possible without sacrificing views of the lake or recreational use.
The project began in 2009 with a full property assessment that helped them determine the state of their shoreline property and the potential for changes or enhancements to make it more natural. The property had suffered from a severe erosion problem in the past for which some shoreline armoring with rock/gravel material had already occurred. The upper slopes of the shoreline were shored up by railway ties and had a manicured lawn behind.
Before photo - the “urbanized” shoreline
With the assessment done, the Aldridges then considered what human uses they wanted to preserve or create and what type of naturalization they desired, for example:
- views to preserve or create
- recreation areas for children/adults
- dock access and location
- desire for certain types of plantings, e.g. native species, flowering plants, berry producing shrubs
- issues needing correction, e.g. erosion problems
In the fall of 2009, the Aldridge family consulted with a professional biologist on their naturalization plan before submitting applications for the municipal, provincial and federal authorizations needed. All the required approvals came in the spring of 2010, so the work could be done that summer.
The first step of the work was to remove the retaining wall and fire pit and to install a silt fence. Then, the top soil was removed and a re-grading of the slope to a ratio of 1:5 occurred. The soil was then leveled, native trees, shrubs and flowers were planted and native grass and flower mix was seeded over the open areas. Watering and spot weeding were the final maintenance steps for the first summer.
One year later, the benefits of the naturalization have started to show. The shore line is now better looking, healthier and reduces a lot of the environmental and human problems on the site. Look at the difference - it speaks for itself!
After photo - the naturalized shoreline
The full report, which includes all details about assessments, permits, legislation, costs, and procedures, is available at www.wwmc.ca (see Watershed Information – Studies and Reports).If you are interested in undertaking a project like this to naturalize your shoreline, you are welcome to contact Kelly Aldridge who will be happy to answer any questions you may have via telephone: 780-953-2695 or e-mail: email@example.com