There’s a new community commitment to restoring nature underway at Gonder’s Flats, a formerly degraded site on the Niagara River near Fort Erie, Ontario, Canada.
Donated to Niagara Parks in the 1930s, the shoreline property is now being transformed.
Wetland restoration and other habitat enhancements are benefiting reptiles, amphibians and birds.
Niagara Parks and its local partners are establishing a four-acre (1.5-hectare) wetland at Gonder’s Flats, where the habitats also brings multiple benefits beyond wildlife habitat, such as better water quality, and less erosion and flooding.
“Niagara Parks remains committed to our environmental stewardship mandate and we appreciate the countless community volunteers and generous funding partners, who share in our passion to protect the Niagara River corridor for future generations. Taking these necessary steps to restore the precious wetland habitat at Gonder’s Flats will ensure it is preserved as both as an important ecological site, while also improving its trail accessibility and providing new educational elements for visitors,” said April Jeffs, Niagara Parks chair.
The wetland project is supported by Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC), Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority, Land Care Niagara and Niagara Community Foundation.
DUC joins local partners who have already undertaken active restoration at Gonder’s Flats since 2014.
The regenerative activities at the site include shoreline rehabilitation, hundreds of native plantings, a pollinator garden and trails for people to enjoy the rejuvenated riverside setting.
“Ducks Unlimited Canada applauds the multi-year commitment to nature made by Niagara Parks at Gonder’s Flats,” said Lynette Mader, manager of provincial operations in Ontario.
“Increasingly, we are seeing communities carry out innovative projects like this one that restore pockets of lost natural infrastructure to shorelines and flood plains,” she added.
Shoreline restoration for a healthy river ecosystem
Gonder’s Flats was prioritized for critical environmental restoration work though the Niagara River Remedial Action Plan program.
The environmental project, led by Niagara Parks, is part of a larger focused effort to enhance the Niagara River ecosystem.
Three decades ago, the river was named a Great Lakes Area of Concern, due to water quality problems and habitat loss.
Today, significant action has enhanced the entire ecosystem.
Local partners include Niagara Parks, Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority, Land Care Niagara and Niagara Community Foundation.
Supporters also include the Town of Fort Erie, Birds Canada, Bert Miller Nature Club and Niagara Falls Nature Club.
The newly restored coastal wetland site will continue to naturalize over time and support biodiversity and species at risk.
Visitors will enjoy learning about the increasingly rare Great Lakes ecosystem, which is under restoration at Gonder’s Flats, with the addition of interpretive signage later this year.
Images courtesy of the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority.