Natural Capital Project Update: Planting in Paradise

Our bioswale project was created in response to water quality issues affecting residents and visitors to the Ajax waterfront.  In recent years, as a result of contaminated run-off, the Town of Ajax and its residents have had limited access to swimmable water and beaches and the bioswales are a perfect solution!

The structure of these bioswales resembles a rain garden and is designed to control storm water, reducing the amount overflowing onto the beaches. The bioswale mimics wetland processes by providing a planted area of trees and shrubs which will absorb and filter storm water as it is slowed by the soil and root systems of the plants—for free! This is a great way to enhance the waterfront and naturally filter contaminants like automotive run-off and road salts, while restoring the environment.

Last fall Sierra Club hosted the first of two tree planting events at our Paradise Beach location, following the design and construction of the bioswales the previous summer.  96 passionate and interested volunteers from around the community came out to the event and were able to plant approximately 450 native plants in a matter of a couple hours. We had our second bioswale planting last Wednesday on, where we were joined by a number of middle-school and high-school groups giving back for Earth Day. Even though the cold and windy day brought rain and hail a number of times, the determined student and parent volunteers were able to get 450 shrubs into the bioswale ground in just a few short hours- WOW!

Before we left for the day a flock of wild Turkeys decided to stroll by and check out what we were doing. Although it’s still early in spring, once the trees and shrubs in the bioswale begin growing it will provide habitat space for birds and small animals to live and thrive in. It will also help reduce storm water overflow, leading to the improvement of aesthetics and recreation along the waterfront.