Naturalizing Shorelines in Fitzroy Harbour

74 native plants have been planted at Fitzroy Harbour, transforming the shoreline and helping protect the Ottawa River.

On Oct. 3, Ottawa Riverkeeper joined Watersheds Canada for a Shoreline Naturalization Planting Day at Fitzroy Harbour. Several people lent a hand for a considerable planting activity – over 70 plants were carefully placed to transform the moved lawn into a vibrant shoreline.

The shoreline, pre-planting

Seven different native plant species were chosen for this project, all of which are adapted to the shoreline habitat with roots that anchor well into sand. This helps prevent erosion of the shoreline. The trees and shrubs chosen for this site, including Sandbar Willow, Witch Hazel, and Alternate-Leaved Dogwood, form root networks at varying depths in the ground and stabilize the sand. The planted species that produce flowers and berries, such as Fragrant Sumac and Black Chokeberry, will also attract other native bird and pollinator species. The rose bushes and the Bush Honeysuckles’ beautiful yellow flowers will also add colour to this shoreline.

Shoreline development and de-naturalization are a cause of concern for the health of our river. With communities along the river and our partners, we hope to draw attention to the importance of natural shorelines in river protection. Together we are identifying areas that may be problematic and are supporting the transformation of these areas into natural shorelines.

Lining the plants along the shore

We begin the process with educational workshops. This summer, Ottawa Riverkeeper and Watershed Canada organised these  workshops in three locations: Fitzroy Harbour, Norway Bay, and Westmeath. For each location, the public was invited to come learn about the different considerations and issues with planning a shoreline naturalization. Following these workshops, planting days were chosen for the fall. 

There will also be another Shoreline Naturalization Planting Day this coming Monday, Oct. 16, in Westmeath. Several flower species will need to be planted and all are invited to come help. For more information, email

These Shoreline Naturalization Planting Days are a collaboration between Watersheds Canada and Ottawa Riverkeeper. Thanks to the Ontario Trillium Foundation for its generous support.