Friends of the Rouge Watershed has planted over 727,108 native trees, shrubs, and flowers since its
beginning in 1991. FRW’s habitat restoration and conservation efforts have helped to strengthen the
ecological integrity of the Rouge Watershed. The creation of forest, wetland, and meadow cover has provided valuable habitat to the thousands of native species that have suffered from
deforestation and habitat loss in the Rouge. Many of the plant and animal species you see below have
returned to the Rouge as a result of FRW’s work with community partners and volunteers.
By restoring wetlands, like the Beare Wetland, FRW is providing habitat for: hatching areas for
Blanding’s turtles and snapping turtles; feeding areas for barn and bank swallows, common nighthawks,
chimney swifts and Monarch butterflies; locations where dense blazing star is spreading by seed; and a
favourite spot for least bitterns, pied billed grebes, Virginia rails, peregrine falcons and Cooper’s hawks.
Parks Canada and the Toronto Zoo have released dozens of captive-raised Blanding’s turtles at the Beare
Wetland to help this species at risk recover from dangerously low population levels.
Restoring meadows with native wildflowers, such as dense blazing star and milkweed, provides habitat
and food for insects and animals. Pollinators, like bees and butterflies, are stressed due to habitat loss
and fragmentation. Bees provide imperative ecosystem services, like pollination, required for future
natural landscape and even agricultural production! Without them, 1/3 of the food we consume daily
would disappear. Whether they’re pollinating farm crops, or pollinating food sources that wild and
farmed animals rely on, bees have a hand in expanding our food options. This is why FRW strives to
provide habitat for these important pollinators, among many other insects. By planting native plants as
habitat in the Rouge Watershed, we can strengthen the diversity of species and give a helping hand to
When ecological areas are restored, they reduce pollution, climate change, flooding and erosion through
the absorption of pollutants, carbon and water. They improve our water and air quality, benefit our
health and quality of life, and provide habitat for rare and endangered flora and fauna. By restoring
forests, important habitat is created for native species. FRW’s work in the Rouge Watershed has
returned previously degraded landscapes to the naturally diverse ecosystems they should be.