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Conservation Projects

Conservation Projects at RBG

RBG’s conservation efforts occur in forest, wetland and prairie habitats and range from species at risk inventories to invasive alien species management.

In additions to our display gardens and horticultural conservation work, Royal Botanical Gardens works hard to preserve and restore its nature sanctuaries. This includes Project Paradise —one of the largest freshwater restoration projects of its kind in North America— that works to restore aquatic habitats of Cootes Paradise and Grindstone Creek marshes.

  • Staff Measuring Fish At Fishway Credit
  • Bald Eagle Eaglet in Nest
  • Grey Doe Trail Boardwalk In Fall
  • Volunteers and staff Installing Fence Posts on an RBG trail
  • Field Burning at Princess Point

Major Projects

Royal Botanical Gardens’ 1,100 hectares is dominated by nature sanctuaries enveloping the western end of Lake Ontario. These properties are dominated by three types of habitats: wetlands, forest, and prairies. With more than 750 native plant species, 277 types of migratory birds, 37 mammal species, 14 reptile species, 9 amphibian species and 68 species of Lake Ontario fish, the area is an important contributor to ecosystems that span international borders.


Wetland Restoration

An innovative freshwater marsh restoration venture, Project Paradise includes a range of conservation projects with a long-term goal is to create the underlying conditions for ecosystem recovery.

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Grasslands Restoration

RBG’s nature sanctuaries contain about 5hectares of grasslands45 of which are being actively conserved to help this diverse ecosystem thriveGrasslands have crucial flowers, food plants, and habitat for pollinators like bees and butterflies, as well as bird and mammal species that are becoming increasingly rare.

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Forest Protection

The Nature Sanctuaries at Royal Botanical Gardens are home too 400 hectares (1,000 acres) of forest ecosystem with over 70 species of trees.

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Special Protection Areas

To ensure that all species have an opportunity to persist, 20 percent of RBG’s nature sanctuaries remain without formal trails, creating core areas protected from human and other associated disturbances. These areas have been named ‘Special Protection Areas’. For the visitor, next to these areas there are observation points and interpretive signage to help you appreciate the significance of these unique spaces.

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Bald Eagles

In 2013, RBG was home to the first eaglets to hatch on the Canadian shoreline of Lake Ontario in over 50 years.

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Located at the mouth of the Desjardins Canal, RBG’s Fishway is protecting native species and their wetland habitats.

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Turtle Conservation

With a variety of habitat adjacent to these extensive wetlands, it’s no surprise that RBG is home to four native turtle species. Through our wetland restoration efforts and the SiteSpecific Recovery Plan, RBG works to protect and restore habitat for turtles and all wildlife across our 2,400 acres of protected nature lands.  

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Invasive Species Management

RBG’s widespread properties support a diverse range of species concentrated in our natural lands. Invasive species are one of the largest threats to the sustainability of the region’s biodiversity.

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Support Conservation at RBG

These conservation projects are possible thanks to the generous support of RBG Members and donors. With a donation to Growing up Green, you can ensure an active, vibrant and healthy future for the children of today and tomorrow through our horticultural and conservation projects.

Conservation Stories

Ecological Corridor Pilot Program Receives $3.5M contribution from Parks Canada

January 26, 2023

Photo courtesy of Parks Canada Photo courtesy of Parks Canada NEWS RELEASE From Cootes to Escarpment Ecopark System ******* Government of Canada contributes over $3.5M ...

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Low Waters and Ecological Implications

November 10, 2022

By Tys Theysmeyer, Head of Natural Areas, Royal Botanical Gardens A truly dry summer and fall has led to challenging conditions for fish and wildlife.  ...

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Species at Risk

October 7, 2022

By Tys Theysmeyer, Head of Natural Areas, Royal Botanical Gardens Did you know that Royal Botanical Gardens is home to over 50 different species at risk? ...

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Invasive Jumping Worms: How to Identify & What to Do

September 27, 2022

By Karin Davidson-Taylor, Education Program Officer, Royal Botanical Gardens Jumping worms are a new group of non-native invasive earthworms that threaten gardens and natural ecosystems. According ...

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All About Sunflowers: Native Species & Beloved Cultivars

September 8, 2022

By Tys Theysmeyer, Head of Natural Areas, Royal Botanical Gardens Few plant species bring a smile to peoples face like sunflowers. The smiles can get ...

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The Ups and Downs of Lake Ontario – And the Marsh Drains Away Again

August 22, 2022

By Tys Theysmeyer, Head of Natural Lands, Royal Botanical Gardens. Paddling in Cootes Paradise Marsh will be a challenge throughout this fall as a dry ...

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Welcome Niigaanii: Cootes Paradise’s Newest Blandings Turtle

August 17, 2022

On Friday August 12, RBG's intrepid turtle team released Niigaanii, an endangered Blanding's turtle, marking the inaugural return of the first group of Blanding’s sent ...

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Giant Hogweed? It may be a look alike!

June 24, 2022

The Invasive ornamental plant Giant Hogweed has several look-alike species flowering at similar times creating identification confusion.  These similar native plants grow in wetland areas and are ...

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Turtles on the Move

June 15, 2022

By Christie Brodie, Interpretation Projects Coordinator, Royal Botanical Gardens. With eight species, Ontario has the highest diversity of turtles in all of Canada. Sadly, they ...

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Additional Resources

Learn more about RBG’s conservation efforts with these downloadable PDF resources.