Crisis Response for Friends of Cedarvale Park
In early November 2018, reports surfaced about University of Toronto research that suggested Toronto's ravines are on the brink of ecological collapse. Concerned residents asked the Friends of Cedarvale Park Facebook page about the health of Cedarvale ravine, prompting me to issue this response on behalf of the organization:
If you have seen the research out of University of Toronto this week about the ecological collapse of Toronto’s ravines, you may be wondering how Cedarvale is affected.
Fortunately, Norway maple is not as prevalent in Cedarvale as it is in other areas and much of the original tree cover remains on the sides of the ravine. In conjunction with Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation, we have added approximately 1,800 native trees and bushes to the park over the last six years and have, with approval from Parks, completed one phragmites removal. And while it is true that you can’t find trilliums in Cedarvale, you can find trout lilies, another spring ephemeral.
However, we certainly have plenty of invasives in Cedarvale - garlic mustard and dog-strangling vine have taken root in many places, there are two patches of phragmites (that we know of), as well as water hemlock - and a good proportion of the plants in the park are non-native.
What can you do to help?
First, do not attempt to remove invasives in the ravine on your own. We may only do this with permission from, and supervision by, Parks.
Consider writing to our councillor, Josh Matlow, to ask him to support the City’s Ravine Strategy and for an increased budget for Parks to administer stewardship programs. As part of these programs, invasives are removed. We have sought a stewardship program for Cedarvale, but so far have been unsuccessful. Currently, there are only ten such stewardship programs in the entire city.
Read the City’s Ravine Strategy.
Join us at our next planting in the spring, come on a plant identification walk with us, or volunteer in the pollinator garden!