SNC strives to conserve what they value; protecting people and planting trees

Seen in image above: Photo taken at the Robert Graham Conservation Area during the annual SNC bus tour. Smith photo, Nation Valley News

NATION VALLEY — South Nation Conservation (SNC) works with 16 member municipalities in Eastern Ontario to deliver local environmental programs and services that improve water resources.

SNC maintains 20,000 acres of community forests and plants over 120,000 trees every spring.

“Conservation Authorities are local environmental organizations with boots on the ground, fingers in the soil, and hands in the water,” adds Bill Smirle, SNC Chair. “SNC helps the province and municipalities achieve shared environmental objectives while supporting safe and sustainable growth.”

Our programs support watershed, environmental management activities. Some examples of spring work include monitoring water levels, operating dams and water control structures, and providing advanced notice of flooding to municipalities and residents.

Recent announcements included a 50 percent reduction in the province’s commitment to supporting natural hazard programs, the cancellation of local student jobs and the elimination of the province’s tree planting program that offered funding and support to people planting trees.

“It’s not about the numbers, it’s about commitment,” explains Angela Coleman, SNC General Manager. “The province is an important partner.”

Provincial funding supported Conservation Authority programs which updated floodplain maps and informed municipal planning decisions. These funds were the only dedicated transfer payment received by the Province since a reduction in 1995.

Conservation Authorities are governed by municipally-appointed Boards and largely funded by municipalities, self-generated revenue, and fundraising.

Programs cuts are untimely; people are experiencing historic floods and gearing up to plant record numbers of trees. SNC is setting a record in trees planted to date this spring.

The Conservation Authorities Act of 1946 was recently updated through a multi-year review to create the Building Better Communities and Conserving Watersheds Act, 2017.

Two postings were made on the Environmental Registry of Ontario regarding Conservation Authority natural hazard responsibilities, core mandate and relationship with municipalities.

We are committed to working with the Province on local service delivery improvements, responding to recent budget changes and postings, and engaging partners.

SNC will continue to work with partners to monitor and forecast flood events and guide development away from flood risk areas.

Plans to hire summer students will continue; opportunities are essential for young people and important for the region’s rural, economic development.

SNC is a local environmental agency that communities can trust to conserve what they value; including protecting people and property from natural hazards and planting trees.

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