St. Clair Conservation recognizes tree planting efforts on National Tree Day

Jessica Van Zwol on National Tree Day. September 22, 2021. (Photo courtesy of the St. Clair Region Conservation Authority).

The St. Clair Region Conservation Authority (SCRCA) is commemorating its 60th anniversary on National Tree Day.

Healthy Watershed Specialist Jessica Van Zwol said it’s a great day to recognize the SCRCA’s anniversary but also celebrate the work that has been done so far.

“St. Clair Conservation has been involved with planting over four million trees in our watershed and we have helped to restore 100 hectares of wetlands,” she said.

National Tree Day will be recognized on September 22 and is also held during National Forest Week.

“This is actually the 10th National Tree Day in Canada,” said Van Zwol. “Tree Canada, which is an organization that really pushed for this to become a national day in Canada, they see this day as a celebration for all Canadians to appreciate the great benefits that trees provide us.”

A private event was scheduled to have conservation officials and funders look at the growth of trees planted in 2014 and speak with a landowner who planted 27,670 trees on 34.6 acres and added a 0.5 acre wetland.

Van Zwol said the conservation authority recognizes that meeting Environment Canada’s recommendation set in 2013, to have at least 30 per cent forest and other natural cover in a watershed, may be unachievable based on current land-use practices. However, efforts are continuously made to boost tree cover.

“Our goal is to get as close as possible with recognizing various land uses in our watershed,” she said. “We’re trying to get as close to that 30 per cent as possible.”

Forest cover in the watershed is currently at 11.3 per cent.

An updated “report card” is scheduled to be released in 2022 and will include details about the SCRCA’s wetland and forest conditions.

The SCRCA’s jurisdiction includes the Sydenham River watershed as well as those that drain into southern Lake Huron, the St. Clair River, and northeastern Lake St. Clair.