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Thursday February 9th, 2017

Posted at 8:18pm

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Essex Region Conservation has approved the 2017 workplan of projects and associated budget.

The budget totals just over $11 million and includes a levy contribution from member municipalities of approximately $3 million. “For every dollar contributed through the levy, ERCA is successful in raising $2.66 dollars from other sources,” said Richard Wyma, General Manager. “Projects like the much-anticipated Cypher Systems Group Greenway were acquired and developed without any local tax dollars.

A recent review of return on investment identified that for the period of 2007-2016, ERCA received approximately $25 million in levy funding, but in return, provided $35 million in funding from external grant sources for regional environmental improvement projects. “This is over and above the services we provide to improve the environmental health of our community.”

Following an internal review process and some adjustments to programming, a broad range of projects and programs are included for 2017, including working with partners to fund the creation of a 70 acre managed wetland cell at Cedar Creek Conservation Area and a new 10-acre experimental wetland at Hillman Marsh.

They plan to restore at least 125 acres of land, plant 120,000 trees, 20 acres of prairie and collect 2,000 pounds of seed to propagate and replant

They will continue their comprehensive water quality monitoring program while identifying projects to address phosphorus runoff and resulting Harmful Algal Blooms, work with municipal partners to coordinate a regional Climate Adaptation strategy, coordinate a Western Lake Erie Student Conference to educate students about the challenges facing Lake Erie, and create the Oldcastle ‘hub’ to connect ERCA’s greenways to the Herb Gray Parkway Trails, and the trail systems in the Towns of LaSalle and Tecumseh.

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