View from a deep ravine behind homes on Holmcrest Trail. These homes overlook the east end portion of the Highland Creek Watershed where West Hill Creek and Centennial Creek meet as they flow through Stevenson’s Swamp out to Lake Ontario.

By Pam Collins

We in the Centennial Community are so fortunate to live surrounded by the natural beauty of one of the largest ravine systems in the world. Although Centennial News has addressed this issue in the past, we have welcomed many new property owners in the past few years and thought that it is important to address this again and help to educate everyone in the care and stewardship of our greatest asset.

For those of us who own property on or surrounded by ravine land, there are many things we should know to help keep this system healthy. Important guidelines for us to follow, as laid out by the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA), include:

  1. Refrain from dumping garbage, especially large items such as appliances or broken furniture, household items, even soil or dead plants from garden/houseplants or construction debris.
  2. Do not empty your pool or hot tub so the water flows into the ravine as this water contains chemicals such as chlorine, bromine or copper-based algaecides.
  3. Slope your patios and storm drains so water or rain pollution can enter the sanitary sewer connection.
  4. Consider manual sprinkler systems rather than automatic systems to avoid sheeting of water down the ravine slopes.
  5. Take care in managing the top of the ravine slopes. Natural or native plants help to stabilize the soil and absorb excess water. If dead trees must be removed, leave the stumps because the root systems help preserve stability and also leave a natural wildlife habitat.
  6. Keep your own home and yard maintained to protect the ravine system, including getting rid of invasive plants or vines that could kill off or strangle native plants.

Following these basic guidelines will help keep our treasured area ecologically healthy and manage the many strains it faces in this densely urban city. They will also help mitigate climate change in the future. Our enjoyment of our beautiful ravines and trails that make living here so special depends on us.

There are many more things you can do to preserve native plant and wildlife habitats. If you would like to explore more about the stewardship of your ravine property, you can access the site online: The Property Owner’s Guide to Healthy Ravines

Centennial News will be writing more on this topic as we move into spring and the planting season.