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A living shoreline project is taking shape at Lake Banook

A living shoreline is being built at part of Lake Banook in Dartmouth, N.S., partly with the goal of helping filter contaminants that would otherwise end up in the water.

The work being done at Birch Cove Park includes installing a fence made of trees to protect the perimeter of the living shoreline. Native species such as red dogwood and willow will be planted to promote biodiversity.

Elizabeth Montgomery, a water resources specialist with the Halifax Regional Municipality’s environment and climate change team, said this is the first naturalization project for the municipality.

“Generally, sources of pollution in lakes come from land, so the more we can do to capture the overland flow that ends up in the water, the less likely there will be contamination,” she said.

Montgomery said a living shoreline provides many benefits to the ecosystem, such as greater habitat for pollinators and more shade for fish. It can also help against goose droppings.

Elizabeth Montgomery, a water resources specialist with the Halifax Regional Municipality's environment and climate change team, says because the living shoreline will act as a filter, it should help maintain good water quality for recreational purposes.Elizabeth Montgomery, a water resources specialist with the Halifax Regional Municipality's environment and climate change team, says because the living shoreline will act as a filter, it should help maintain good water quality for recreational purposes.

Elizabeth Montgomery, a water resources specialist with the Halifax Regional Municipality’s environment and climate change team, says because the living shoreline will act as a filter, it should help maintain good water quality for recreational purposes.

Elizabeth Montgomery, water resources specialist at HRM, says the living shoreline will act as a filter and help maintain water quality. (Pat Callaghan/CBC)

Montgomery said the manure washes into the water when it rains. That can cause high E. coli levels that lead to beach closures.

“You’re retaining the land a little more, but you’re also reducing the areas right on the beach where geese like to hang out,” Montgomery says. “And so when they’re not there, they don’t go to the toilet and they cause these kinds of E. coli problems.”

Shauna Doll, an environmental specialist with the council, said 32 sites have been identified for potential naturalization projects. Shauna Doll, an environmental specialist with the council, said 32 sites have been identified for potential naturalization projects.

Shauna Doll, an environmental specialist with the council, said 32 sites have been identified for potential naturalization projects.

Shauna Doll, an environmental specialist with the council, said 32 sites have been identified for potential naturalization projects. (Pat Callaghan/CBC)

Shauna Doll, an environmental specialist with the municipality, is assisting with the installation.

She said some of the project’s goals are to slow stormwater flow and reduce erosion.

But there are also aesthetic benefits, such as people enjoying the native plants and the species they attract, such as bees and butterflies.

“If we take care of nature, nature will take care of us,” Doll said, noting that the council has identified 32 sites for potential naturalization projects.

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