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Tuesday March 15th, 2011

Posted at 3:45pm

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Did you know that the United Nations calls for at least 12% of a region to be in its natural state, in order for it to be considered healthy and sustainable? Essex County currently sits at about 7.5%, but the Essex Region Conservation Authority is striving to increase this percentage. They’re doing this by partnering with public and private landowners, and helping them with large-scale naturalization projects.

Usually this entails working with farmers who have parceled off their land and want to reforest sections, but it could also involve other public or private partners, or even municipalities. Government grants are available for those who wish to help our region become more sustainable, and up to 90% of the cost can be recouped.

Some of the benefits to naturalizing your land include improved aesthetics and increased property value, enhanced wildlife habitat and, ultimately, cleaner air and water. Also, you’ll feel the satisfaction that comes from taking steps to ensure Essex County is a healthy place to live for future generations.

ERCA can help you with a variety of naturalization projects, from conventional tree-planting to pit and mound forest restoration, wetland enhancement and construction, tallgrass prairie and wildflower meadow restoration, and the creation of riparian buffer zones (“riparian” is defined as something of, on, or relating to the banks of a natural course of water).

Not only will ERCA help you organize and fund these projects, you can also buy trees for cheap! This week is the last chance to get trees at a discount through ERCA. Seedlings cost as little as .69 cents each, while large stock trees start at $11.75. These prices are applicable to bulk purchases only (at least 100 seedlings, or 15 large stock trees), and the trees must be planted on property that’s at least an acre in size.

“So many people are interested in planting trees that we wanted to try to accommodate everyone,” says ERCA Forester Paul Giroux, about the extension of the tree sale.  “We offer a wide variety of native species, however some quantities are limited.  Customers are encouraged to get their orders in as quickly as possible.”

Sale ends March 18th, 2011! Complete the order forms (large stock tree order form, seedling order form) and submit them before Friday to take advantage of this annual opportunity.

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