Returning Nature to Niagara: Thorold–Lake Gibson Corridor Naturalization Project (2008 to 2010)
This project has 4 main objectives: habitat restoration, habitat protection, habitat clean up, and habitat education. This project aims to increase Carolinian forest cover in Niagara with a focus on restoring and expanding interior forest habitat as well as connecting existing forest fragments within the Thorold-Lake Gibson Corridor.
During the construction of the canals, much of the surrounding natural habitat around Lake Gibson was neglected or destroyed. Restoration efforts have taken place on public lands owned by Ontario Power Generation and the City of Thorold, including Mel Swart Park, along with privately owned properties surrounding Lake Gibson.
Various types of restoration strategies were used for this project. At least 52,000 native trees and shrubs will be planted from 2008-2010 as well as several thousand wildflowers and grasses in order to restore approximately 25 ha of land into forest and meadow. As a result, a 50 ha parcel of interior forest habitat will be created and preserved, which will be one of the largest in the Niagara Region.
Another component of this project included environmental education to students and the public, through several volunteer planting days, demonstration days, and information sessions. Over 7000 kg of garbage, scrap metal, and household debris have also been removed from the project sites promoting healthy wildlife habitat.