Volunteers dig deep to fight Hamilton beachfront erosion


Staff member
Feb 15, 2004
The Beach Strip
Posted with permission from the Hamilton Spectator

Children, seniors and families turned up and put more that 5,000 plants into the ground in an effort to keep the integrity of the shoreline and curb further erosion

News 04:43 PM
by Rosie-Ann Grover Hamilton Spectator

The waterfront is everyone's backyard.

That's the sentiment and motivation from several of the 40 or so volunteers who turned up on the beachfront Saturday morning to dig in and help.

In total, they put an astounding 5,850 plants, mainly native marram grass and common milkweed in the ground along the dunes of Beach Boulevard near Dexter Avenue in a community effort to increase the natural integrity of the shoreline and prevent erosion problems in the future.

"It's about helping the environment but helping us too. It's a beautiful place to be," said Ed Nowlan, who lives near the beach. He says the area has suffered due to utility clear cutting and high water levels this year.

"We're hoping this will mitigate that. But it's not the only answer," he said.

The mass planting was a joint initiative by the city, the Hamilton Conservation Authority, Environment Hamilton and the Hamilton Naturalists' Club.

Under the hot and hazy September sun, children and seniors were a big part of the group working quickly to get the three truck loads of plants in the sand.

The grass is ideal for the location says Diana Gora, Restoration Coordinator for Environment Hamilton.

"The roots will interlock with each other and keep sand from moving," she said. And the milkweed, she added, not only spreads quickly but is paramount to some wildlife in the area.

"We love helping our butterflies," said 13-year-old Calvin Melanson as he buried a milkweed plant. This he explains will attract the Monarch butterfly. He's been collecting their eggs and providing a habitable space in their home garden to allow them to flourish.

"They have a much higher chance at life," he said.

Nine-year-old Kayla and her friend Oliver, nearly seven, were some of the first volunteers to arrive. With their brightly coloured shovels and buckets, they too had their thoughts on the Monarchs.

"We hope to see more butterflies," Kyla said, as Oliver nodded in agreement.

Kyla's mom, Brigitte Berkenbosch, explained the milkweed's role to them.

"This brings the butterflies back," she said, to their excitement.

"This is close to my heart," Berkenbosch says. "It's important for the children to be involved. It's their neighbourhood."

Gora, who also works with the Naturalist's Club, was happy with the turnout and reminded volunteers several times to stop for a drink in the heat.

"The goal is to get these plants in and quickly establish themselves," Gora said. "As the severe weather increases, we're hoping that this will help curb the erosion of the dunes."

Top Bottom