Beach grass planting at local beaches saving habitat

Owen Warren and Kylie Violette of Alexander Kuska Catholic Elementary School were with their classmates planting beach grass in Wainfleet Monday.

Owen Warren and Kylie Violette of Alexander Kuska Catholic Elementary School were with their classmates planting beach grass in Wainfleet Monday.

The grade 7/8 students of Alexander Kuska Catholic Elementary School were learning about important environmental issues by helping out with a very important project Monday.

They were at the end of Augustine Rd. planting beach grass and creating a boardwalk in the Long Beach area of Wainfleet.

“We do this to help save the habitat for toads,” grade seven student Owen Warren said. “They hide in the sand in the winter so they don’t freeze to death.”

“The beach grass helps firm up the sand so that the houses by the beach don’t get flooded when the tide comes in,” grade eight student Kylie Violette said.

The project by the Bert Miller Nature Club has students helping with grass plantings and laying out of boardwalks at several of the local beaches.

“We are working in partnership with the local cottage association, the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority, the municipalities and local elementary and high school students,” Albert Garofalo from the Bert Miller Nature Club said. “This project is supported by the Great Lakes Guardian and Community Fund and the Ministry of the Environment.”

“Beach grass is critical,” he said. “Without it the dunes would be moving around.”

“It is critical too for the unique species and sand dune habitat to be stable,” he said. “No beach grass, no dunes.”

“Because beach grass is easily trampled by beach goers, so, we have installed these boardwalks that were built by Port Colborne High School students to keep beach goers on the boardwalks so they don’t trample the beach grass,” he said.

The beach grass works like a snow fence on the sand dunes keeping the sand together and supporting the habitat.