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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

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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New Technology & Grassland Restoration

May 25, 2022

By Tys Theysmeyer, Head of Natural Lands, Royal Botanical Gardens. The team from the Unmanned and Remote Sensing Innovation Centre at Mohawk College had another great day ...

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Spongy Moth Management

May 6, 2022

About Spongy Moths Lymantria dispar dispar (formerly known as Gypsy Moth or LDD) is a non-native invasive pest that was introduced in the late 19th century. ...

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The Future of Trees

October 7, 2021

By Tys Theijsmeijer, Head of Natural Lands, Royal Botanical Gardens. Fall is defined by the changing colour of deciduous trees and made deeply special to each ...

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What’s in the Water at Cootes Paradise Marsh

April 23, 2021

By Tys Theysmeyer, Head of Natural Lands, Royal Botanical Gardens. What’s in the water? The answer is an ever-changing array of things. That said, most ...

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Trail Running Impacts

April 1, 2021

By Jennifer Dick, Manager of Interpretation, Royal Botanical Gardens. I’ve been a hiker since I could walk. Exploring new trails to see different landscapes, learn to ...

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The Rise and Fall of our Wetlands

March 29, 2021

By Tys Theysmeyer, Head of Natural Lands, Royal Botanical Gardens. Lots of people are wondering what happened to all the water in Cootes Paradise Marsh this ...

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You Otter Hear About This!

November 3, 2020

By Jackson Hudecki, Special Programs Coordinator, Royal Botanical Gardens. Out getting her nature fix and looking for birds this weekend, one of our staff came ...

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Additional Resources

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