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Natural Shorelines

Naturalizing Nepahwin’s Shoreline: One meter at a time
Jess McShane Photography - 20-08 - Cacciotti-18.JPG

Why natural shoreline buffers are important:


The area that transitions between the water and the land is known as the riparian zone or the “ribbon of life”. This area is a natural barrier to shoreline erosion and is used by many insects, fish, mammals and birds for food, rearing of young and protection.

By planting native trees, shrubs, grasses and wildflowers in the “ribbon of life” of public and commercial lands and private shoreline property, owners can help reform a natural shoreline buffer that benefits Nepahwin Lake’s water quality and resident animals, including humans!


What Nepahwin Lake shoreline property owners can do:


1. Be aware of the February 2022 Shoreline Development By-Law Amendments that stipulate:

a. The depth of required shoreline buffer and how much can be cleared.

b. The depth at which new structures, additions or reconstruction can occur.

2. Plant native plants. There are many good resources to guide native plant selection relevant to Sudbury’s Plant Hardiness Zone (4a and 4b). 

a. Watershed Canada’s Native Plant Database

b. Canadian Wildlife Federation’s Native Plant Encyclopedia

c.  Grow Me Instead: Beautiful Non-invasive Plants for your Garden; A guide for Northern Ontario

Property owners can access these themselves, and/or discuss with their local nursery or landscaper. Some  reliable shoreline native plants are Chokeberry, Sandbank Willow, Red Osier Dogwood, Sweet Gale and Joe-Pye Weed, but there are many more to explore!


What the Nepahwin Lake Watershed Stewardship Group (NLWSG) has done:

In 2021, NLWSG was the recipient of a Microgrant sponsored by Watersheds Canada, Canadian Wildlife Federation and the Love Your Lakes program and completed the  Nepahwin Beach Park  Shoreline Naturalization Project.


This Project focused on enhancing the naturalization of the riparian zone of the City of Greater Sudbury (CGS)-administered Nepahwin Beach Park. The municipal park is the main public access to Nepahwin Lake and as such a popular summer recreational destination for watershed residents. The lake has had annual late summer blue-green algae blooms in 2015-2018 inclusive, causing beach closure.

The park has ~120 m sloping grass shoreline toward  the lake with only a few shrubs. The project focused on naturalizing ~ 20-30 m of shoreline. NLWSG sought a project in the park, rather than private shoreline properties, as we felt it would have potential for greatest community, educational and environmental benefit.  


The Nepahwin Lake Watershed Stewardship Group (NLWSG) worked with the following CGS staff: Superintendent of Parks, Superintendent of Horticulture, Supervisor - Regreening Program, Environmental Planning Initiatives, Coordinator of the Lake Water Quality Program and the Director of Housing Operations of the Greater Sudbury Housing Corporation. We also worked directly with the greenhouse supplier.

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