Keeping erosion of Grand River shore at bay

Industry leaders in ecological restoration, Kayanase, started a project to help combat erosion along the Grand River, beginning at Chiefswood Park. A fishing derby organized by Holdon Vyse and Kylee Vyse donated its earnings towards the project.

“It’s our river, right? So we have to take care of it as best we can,” said Holdon. “If there’s anything we can do to keep the river and its banks healthier, longer, I want to help out.”

Kayanase is an ecological restoration and native plant and seed business based on the Six Nations of the Grand River territory.

“Our organization is about restoring Mother Earth holistically, through the collection of native seeds, to seed processing, seed propagation, planting, monitoring, and eventually back to healthful biodiversity,” says Kayanase’s website. “We are dedicated to improving the health of Mother Earth using science-based approaches and Traditional Ecological knowledge.”

Holdon said he heard about the project from a friend of his who was spearheading the project from Kayanase. He and his family wanted to help, so they partnered with Grand Passage Outlet and put together the fishing derby that ran from early summer to Labour Day weekend. Participants registered at Grand Passage Outlet and sent in pictures of their catches and measurements to Holdon.

Some of the other partners and sponsors were Bison Baits, Mudcat Milling, and Joe Ford Fishing. Joe Ford Fishing donated a one-day charter as a prize to one of the winners.

Work on the banks began once the derby was over. Holdon and his wife Kylee, along with their daughter Savannah, joined a team from Kayanase to begin beefing up the banks around Chiefswood Park in hopes of stopping or preventing any more erosion of the shore.

“There’s been an issue with the banks for years now. We have probably already lost 30 feet of bank at Chiefswood Park,” said Holdon. “The bank erodes into the water, making silt on the bottom, which disrupts the habitat for a lot of species.”

Holdon said he brought a tractor out to help the team place banana cloth along the banks, stapled into the bank with small trees to keep the cloth there.

“The idea is that the little stakes, willow stakes I think, take hold where we placed them. The trees or branches would keep the cloth there long enough for the trees to grow to a good size.”

Holdon said the most challenging part of the day was walking along the slippery banks. Other than that, the weather was great and everyone involved had a great time helping out with the project.

“We covered about 100 feet along the banks,” he said. “I sure would hope we can plant more.”

Kayanase offers a full range of services for ecological restoration that promotes the conservation of natural biodiversity and habitat protection while using an adaptive management strategy to account for the constantly changing characteristics of land, weather, and human influences.

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