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Monday October 28th, 2013

Posted at 11:00am

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The Essex Region Conservation Authority will host two free field tours this fall so landowners can learn more about restoration and grant funding opportunities.

“If you wish to restore one acre of land or more to natural habitat (such as forest or prairie), ERCA can cover up to 90% of the cost,” says ERCA’s Forester Paul Giroux. “Join us at one of our Free Field Tours to learn more about the habitat restoration options and grant funding available for your property.”

The first will be held on Tuesday, October 29, from 4pm to 6:30 pm at a site in Lakeshore. “Guests can see an alternative approach to afforestation at this 25 acre ‘pit and mound’ swamp forest restoration site, which was hand planted with native trees, shrubs, grasses and wildflowers in spring 2006,” explains Kathryn Arthur, ERCA’s Restoration Biologist.

Landowners can also learn about the Ministry of Natural Resource’s Managed Forest Tax Incentive Program (MFTIP). “ERCA can help eligible landowners enroll in the MFTIP program, which helps keep the land tax rate low and will also help the landowner manage newly planted areas for sustainability and growth,” Giroux adds.

On Wednesday, October 30 from 4pm to 6:30 pm, a site in Cottam will highlight twenty years of tree planting efforts, walking trails through a diverse planting of native hardwoods, and a mature woodlot.

“These field tours are great for anyone who is interested in planting trees, windbreaks, buffer strips, or creating wetlands. ERCA can help technically and financially,” Giroux goes on to say. “There is a window for project implementation in the spring, but project planning and site preparation can take some time, so we urge anyone with an interest to give us a call to learn more.”

Although the tours are free, guests must pre-register by calling (519) 776-5209 ext. 345 or [email protected] Once registered, they will be provided with the details and locations of these private landowners’ properties. “I think it’s a testament to the excellent relationships that we have with the landowners with whom we’ve had the opportunity to complete projects,” Giroux concludes. “It’s incredibly generous that they would open up their properties to the public to showcase their restoration projects.”

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