Celebrating Bronte Bluffs restoration

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Gisele Shaw

Gisele Shaw

Gisele Shaw is the Manager of Corporate Communication for the town of Oakville since 2002. Prior to working for the town she worked for Halton Region as a communications specialist. She is a graduate of Humber College.

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The town celebrated the completion of a bioswale project at Bronte Bluffs on June 29, 2016 with community partners Conservation Halton, Bronte BIA, Bronte Historical Society, Bronte Horticultural Society, Oakvillegreen, Evergreen, and Amec Foster Wheeler. The bioswale is part of ongoing work by the town and community partners to restore and protect the area’s ecological health. Since 2014, a number of public events have been held to remove invasive plants and reintroduce native species.

“The bioswale in Bronte Bluffs is an excellent example of the innovative measures we can take to manage stormwater and reduce our ecological impact,” said Mayor Rob Burton. “Thanks to the work of our many partners within the community we are able to make Bronte a more livable, sustainable community.”

A bioswale is one of the many techniques associated with Low Impact Development (LID) and provides a natural way of dealing with stormwater. It is constructed of layers of engineered soil and specially selected plants that absorb water and filter out pollutants from urban runoff.

When rainwater flows down paved streets or other hard surfaces, it picks up chemicals, waste and bacteria which run into ditches and storm drain systems and eventually into our waterways. The bioswale lets water gradually soak through the plant and soil-based filters like a sponge, helping to cleanse the water before it enters the lake, while helping to reduce erosion.

Rain gardens, permeable paving and rain barrels are examples of LID techniques that residents can use at home.

The bioswale is a pilot project and was completed with support from the Great Lakes Guardian Community Fund. As part of Ontario’s Great Lakes Strategy, the Great Lakes Guardian Community Fund was set up to help people take action to protect and restore their corner of the Great Lakes by protecting water quality for human and ecological health; improving wetlands, beaches and coastal areas; and protecting habitats and species.

Other restoration projects at the Bronte Bluffs include:

  1. enhanced habitat and restored quality of the site’s tableland forest through the removal of invasive species, particularly garlic mustard, and replanting with native plants
  2. removing a direct outfall pipe into the lake and reducing erosion by planting native grasses and deeper rooted shrubs
  3. planting native wildflowers and plants that support pollinators such as bees and butterflies
  4. installing educational signage on Low Impact Development and protecting water quality on Lake Ontario.

The work also provides a more enjoyable and safer experience for those using the waterfront trail.

Bronte Bluffs is an elevated, forested park that overlooks Bronte Harbour and Lake Ontario. It has been identified as a potential Cultural Heritage Landscape under the Ontario Heritage Act. Popular with cyclists and hikers, the Bronte Bluffs offers a variety of environmental, cultural and recreational pursuits.



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