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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 Markzelinski.com
  • 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.

Credit: Markzelinski.com

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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Credit: Markzelinski.com

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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Credit: markzelinski.com

Fishway

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

Keeping Nature Clean: The Impact of Litter at Royal Botanical Gardens

May 14, 2024

By Cassandra Doria, Communications Officer, Royal Botanical Gardens As the not-for-profit caretaker of 2,400 acres of land and ecosystems, Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG) holds a ...

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Spring: A Time for Environmental Awareness and Tree Appreciation

April 22, 2024

By Tys Theijsmeijer, Sr. Director Ecosystem Stewardship, Royal Botanical Gardens As spring blooms, let's celebrate environmental awareness by hugging our favorite trees or planting one ...

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Spring Fish Migrations: A New Season of Hope

March 27, 2024

By Tys Theijsmeijer, Sr. Director Ecosystem Stewardship, Royal Botanical Gardens April is the most intense month of activity at the Cootes Paradise Fishway as it’s ...

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Botanical Monitoring with RBG: What can the plants tell us about the place?

February 28, 2024

By Kasia Zgurzynski, Botany Assistant , Royal Botanical Gardens Originally published on the Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System Blog. To learn more about the EcoPark ...

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Impacts of Wildlife Feeding Along RBG Trails

February 27, 2024

By Jennifer Dick, Interpretation Specialist; and Barb McKean, Education Director, Royal Botanical Gardens. Wildlife in RBG’s nature sanctuaries have a problem — and the problem ...

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Invasive Plants Within the Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System

February 27, 2024

By Kasia Zgurzynski, Botany Assistant , Royal Botanical Gardens Originally published on the Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System Blog. To learn more about the EcoPark ...

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Controlled Burn and Prairie Management

January 23, 2024

Controlled Burns in RBG Nature Sanctuary No controlled burns are planned for RBG’s Nature Sanctuaries in 2024.  Tallgrass Prairie and Oak Savannah Management at RBG ...

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Cootes Drive Roadside Wildlife Protection Upgrade

December 5, 2023

By Tys Theijsmeijer, Sr. Director Ecosystem Stewardship, Royal Botanical Gardens Along Cootes Drive existing roadside wildlife barriers are being replaced and upgraded in December 2023 ...

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Shoreline Cleanup at Cootes Paradise Marsh

November 30, 2023

By Sara Roberston, Wetland Restoration Intern, Royal Botanical Gardens Early in November, a group of dedicated RBG Volunteers came out for a fun filled morning ...

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Additional Resources

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