Shoreline remediation work completed at Rouge Beach

Rouge National Urban Park

The Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) has completed shoreline remediation work to restore the traditional outflow of the river into Lake Ontario. Check out the before and after images to see how much beach habitat has been regained!

Spring, 2022                
Fall, 2022

While remediation work was expected to get underway earlier in the summer, nature had other plans. Parks Canada team members discovered common terns nesting on the exposed sandbar and delayed work to protect the success of the nest. We are happy to share the news that the baby terns have fledged and taken flight with their family.

Parks Canada sincerely thanks the public for their patience as we worked to remediate the shoreline erosion and make the beach a safer place for all.

While most visitors were very understanding and supportive of the reasons for moving forward with this work, there were others who voiced concerns about disturbing natural processes by removing the sediment to restore the outflow of the river. The mouth of the Rouge River is a dynamic system that is continually changing. While the exact location of the river mouth varies from year to year, this season, the exposed sandbar diverted the outflow of water in such a way as to create immediate risks to infrastructure, public safety and the stability of trees, specifically:

  • the potential release of contaminants into the lake if the washroom building and septic system became breached;
  • the destabilization of mature trees along the beach and waterfront trail, four of which had to be removed for public safety after becoming a falling risk;
  • the pooling of stagnant water leading to high levels of bacteria, including E. coli;
  • unsafe conditions for the public, including unpredictable water currents, steep drops in elevation on the eroded shoreline and unstable terrain.

Climate change impacts to coastal environments are particularly complex, and the Agency is committed to integrating climate change mitigation and adaptation actions on lands and in waters administered by Parks Canada.

To help address some of these issues, Parks Canada is working on a comprehensive Rouge Beach Improvements Project, that aims to mitigate the impacts of climate change and flooding by flood-proofing the access road to the beach area as well as by decommissioning a flood prone parking lot and relocating parking options further up slope and away from the flood zone.

In addition, and over the long term, Parks Canada is working with the TRCA to develop a Rouge Beach stabilization strategy to further protect the beach and shoreline against longshore erosion. Our teams are working with coastal engineers to propose measures to reduce erosion, stabilize and grow the beach through natural long shore deposition. Surveying, archeology and investigation are underway to better understand the lake dynamics in the Rouge Beach area. Long-term shoreline protection measures will be undertaken as a separate project and may include groynes, rip-rap and a variety of other structures and interventions to further protect the shoreline and beach assets and infrastructure such as the Waterfront Trail, rail line and washroom area. Once a detailed design and costing is completed, and project parameters defined, Parks Canada will prioritize the project for completion in the next 10 years.

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