2022 Greener Greenspace Profile
Located in Caraquet, this public greenspace on the east coast of New Brunswick is a recreational waterfront path and a naturalized rock wall area that was landscaped to slow shoreline erosion and provide habitat for shorebirds, songbirds and small mammals.
Design and Process
This waterfront walking path and coastal greenspace was a revitalization project led by the town of Caraquet and designed by Helping Nature Heal Inc, a landscape design firm specializing in ecological restoration and living shorelines. The purpose of the project was to naturalize the area to slow coastal erosion and create habitat for native species. To do so, the designers incorporated a variety of native and heritage plant species sourced from Helping Nature Heal’s plant nursery and other local nurseries. The added trees and shrubs mimic what would normally be present and thriving in the area. The plants and biomass protect coastlines from erosive environmental forces. Grasses planted between rocks help stabilize the shoreline. This approach to shoreline management improves the health of the coastline by repairing coastal ecosystems and providing habitat for local wildlife. As a result, the naturalized area supports a diversity of insects, shorebirds, songbirds and small mammals.
The walking path provides public access to the coastline. The riparian buffer zone between the paved trail and the rock wall was expanded to be approximately four metres wide. This reduced the amount of area to be mowed. The riparian zone is now densely vegetated with native trees, shrubs, perennials and grasses. Not only does this buffer zone keep people from walking on and compacting the soil, but it also provides food and habitat for birds and other small animals. Coarse woody debris was added to the site to break down over time and feed the mycelium in the soil food web. An organic fertilizer containing mycorrhizal fungi was applied to aid in the decomposition process.
The Town of Caraquet has an environmental plan that emphasizes the need for soil preservation, biodiversity and climate change adaptation. The coastal naturalization project meets multiple goals listed in the town's plan. Climate change is a major concern in the region. The sea level is forecasted to rise significantly, and more frequent and powerful storms are expected in the coming decades. Naturalized shorelines combat coastal erosion and vegetated rock walls help prevent flooding.
To maintain and monitor the site into the future, Helping Nature Heal staff trained the municipal maintenance team on aspects of ongoing care for the site. Next year, volunteers from the municipal green committee will join in to help in the land stewardship. The public can read about the project on signage close to the trail. The project is an example of shoreline naturalization for the region and other municipalities are invited to visit and learn more about the approach taken.
For more information about Helping Nature Heal, visit their website.
Photos c/o Helping Nature Heal Inc.
Greener Greenspaces is a recognition program for sites from across Canada that exemplify greener greenspace stewardship. The aim of the program is to showcase examples of ecologically-focused land care as a means to inspire others and to further the movement across Canada.See the full list of 2022 recognition recipients here