NATION VALLEY — With support from the EcoAction Community Funding Program, South Nation Conservation (SNC) has planted over 3,000 native trees and shrubs along watercourses in partnership with local landowners, secondary schools and First Nations from across the Conservation Authority’s 4,384 square-km jurisdiction in Eastern Ontario.
Through this work, SNC monitored local streams and identified four farms in Casselman, North Dundas, Nation and the City of Ottawa that could benefit from tree buffers being planted around watercourses.
The Conservation Authority worked with the landowners and five local secondary schools to arrange demonstration planting events for over 100 students receiving Specialist High Skills Major Certifications towards their high school diplomas.
Representatives from Plenty Canada attended each planting to share First Nations traditional knowledge on forest ecology to help connect people to nature.
For Chris Craig, SNC’s Senior Forestry Technician, it’s about protecting and restoring the local environment for future generations.
“These new riparian buffers will increase local forest cover and protect water quality for years to come,” explains Craig. “It’s encouraging to see so many people come together to improve the environment.”
Riparian tree buffers are vegetated, forested areas near bodies of water which serve as organic filters capable of absorbing pollutants from adjacent land uses; they also reduce flooding and erosion.
In 2018, SNC published its Forest Conservation Report which included recommendations on protecting and increasing local forest cover following two years of review and consultations with local stakeholder working groups.
In the report, SNC identified tree plantings along watercourses as critical to increasing and maintaining local forest cover and a healthy local environment; the Conservation Authority offers tree subsidies to landowners interested in planting riparian buffers.
“We’re thankful for the support provided by the Federal Government, local landowners and partner schools to make this project happen,” adds Craig. “We look forward to planting more trees across the jurisdiction this summer.”
This project was undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada provided through the federal Department of Environment and Climate Change.