LTVCA Watershed-wide – It’s a busy spring for our land stewardship staff across our watershed! Tree planting season is here and we have 39 reforestation projects planned throughout the Lower Thames watershed. Projects have received over $80, 000 in grants to help reforest 25 hectares (61 acres). In addition, nineteen wetland restoration projects are planned which will provide habitat for waterfowl and other wildlife, slowing down runoff to capture sediment and nutrients before they enter waterways. Wetland funding partnerships with Ducks Unlimited, Elgin Clean Water Program, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, and Elgin Stewardship Council have helped offset costs. And over 10 grassland restoration projects will be planted to provide critical habitat for species at risk, helping to promote biodiversity across the landscape. Staff promoted our stewardship projects and programs at the Southwest Agricultural Conference, Chatham Kent Farm show, London Farm Show, Carolinian Canada’s Go Wild Grow Wild Expo, website and on social media.
Of particular interest is the 475 large stock trees being planted along highway 40 – 401 interchange near the on and off ramps. These trees will provide habitat and shield wind and snow along the roads. The entire site will also be planted in Tall Grass Prairie to create a savanna type habitat. The estimated $50,000 cost is being paid for by the Ministry of Transportation.
We have also been working alongside many students this spring. Partnering with Chatham-Kent Back To Your Roots, the LTVCA provides large stock trees to plant at local schools. Students can return to show their families the trees they planted many years down the road. In addition, Chatham Kent secondary school students built habitat boxes for Blue Birds and Wood Ducks for installation on private land at future and past restoration sites. Students become involved in the local conservation efforts and will take home one of the habitat boxes to put up at home.
Something new is coming to Chatham-Kent. ALUS – Alternative Land Use Services is a program that has been in Norfolk County for a number of years and is now running in Lambton, Middlesex, and Elgin Counties. This program subsidizes agricultural producers for their land taken out of production for buffer strips or other natural features. Funds are earmarked for the program to come to Chatham-Kent!
Our stewardship programs provide habitat and shade; they help to clean our air and water and they protect the soil, which promotes water infiltration and reduces erosion and flooding. Tree cover is especially important in large blocks or along natural streams or riparian areas, as a vital element to ecosystems. Enhancing and maintaining forest cover slows climate warming and assists with adaptation by preventing the release and improving the capture of CO2 from the atmosphere. Most importantly, land stewardship projects go a long way in helping us reduce phosphorus levels flowing off the land into our streams, rivers and lakes.
For information on our stewardship programs and services contact:
Greg Van Every – Environmental Project Coordinator
100 Thames St. Chatham, Ontario N7L2Y8
519-354-7310 ext. 229