Shoreline restoration plan awaits work permits for next phase

The lead on the Sam Slick Park shoreline restoration plan says the weather this summer did little to disrupt the next step for the Coalition of Haliburton Property Owners Association (CHA) project from going ahead as planned.

Paul Heaven of Glenside Ecological Services Limited who was hired by the CHA to draft and administer the  plan to restore the shoreline said after consultation with CHA director Jim McHardy “the dry summer did have some impact on some of the plant material that we did plant [but] most of it is still going strong so that is good.”

In June the plan started with Glenside and volunteers who planted a variety of shrubs and trees to start the creation of a six-metre buffer area for the improvement of shoreline and included the removal of non-native and invasive species from the park on Head Lake across from Haliburton Highlands Secondary School. This site will act as an education model for other areas and will be part of a documentary produced by Sticks and Stones Productions said McHardy.

Heaven a wildlife biologist with close to 25 years of experience started his Minden-based company in 1996. He said although shoreline restoration is a relatively new field it’s not a big step for him as he has studied aspects related to it which include the study of fish habitats and environmental impact upon areas.

Before starting the work on the 0.27 hectare park Heaven said the erosion of its shoreline wasn’t terrible. However there wasn’t much of a buffer area between the water and the land and the naturalization of the shoreline will benefit users and wildlife such as fish.

Just before the next planting (from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.) on Sept. 24 there will be the installation of 20 coir logs which will re-establish the area and provide an opportunity for the root structure of dogwood plants to take hold.

Three access points will be installed Sept. 19 to 23. Assuming work permits are granted from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry and Department of Fisheries and Oceans the work will take at least two days and require heavy machinery such as mini-excavator he said. One of the access points will be an angled path that curves through the buffer zone which will eliminate the geese’s direct sight lines discouraging them from coming into the park. The path will end with two big stepping stones from where people can fish.

“We have a lot of people doing that. We don’t want to stop that. Let’s just provide a better access point – two access points – they can use on a regular basis” he said.

Located where snowmobiles have traditionally entered the park the third access point will be for snowmobiles and require large flat stones that will extend down into and under the water. This addresses some of the erosion at the shoreline. Heaven said this work won’t cause any traffic stoppages on County Road 21.

On Sept. 24 volunteers will be needed to help with a day-long planting. Heaven hopes students will be included but this has not been confirmed.

Anyone interested in participating in the shoreline naturalization workshop and planting event can contact Jim McHardy with the CHA at or call 705-205-2310.

McHardy said the “site is designed to showcase options inspire action and resource lakeshore landowners. It also represents the commitment of the Township of Dysart et al and local businesses to healthy lakes.”

He said they are grateful for the support from the municipality which has partnered in this endeavour the high school and in particular local businesses which will be acknowledged after the second phase.

Reference material will be available through the CHA website and information about the project will be on signage that will be added to educate the public about the project.

The six-meter buffer is key to preventing geese from seeing what they want to eat. This next planting will add to what was already planted back in June.

“If the geese can see the grass they’ll come to it. They still can. There is no doubt about it. [The vegetation buffer] has got to come up further and higher. It will come” he said.