Empowering Landowners in Conservation: Event Summary

Empowering Landowners in Conservation

DELHI, ONTARIO – Thursday, March 23, 2017
Conservation practitioners and members of the public gathered on March 23, 2017 at the Delhi Hungarian Hall for a collection of informative presentations and enthusiastic discussion on conservation topics, as well as tools, techniques and opportunities available for landowners in the Long Point Biosphere area.

The Empowering Landowners in Conservation workshop was designed to bring conservation practitioners, resource consumers, and resource providers/managers together to collaboratively define current and emerging ecosystem stresses and to offer innovative, holistic, and proven strategies to restore damaged ecosystems within the Long Point Area. This workshop focused on opportunities available to agricultural and non-agricultural landowners to help them capitalize on the productivity and biologic diversity of their properties.

Brian Craig, President of the Long Point World Biosphere Reserve Foundation opened the day with round-table introductions of the 32 attendees, and provided an overview of some landowner conservation projects in our area with a sneak peak of the Striking Balance Documentary Series, Long Point Episode.

Long Point World Biosphere Reserve Foundation: http://longpointbiosphere.com

Jarmo Jalava, Director of Ecosystem Recovery at the Carolinian Canada Coalition provided a great foundation for the day, discussing the importance of ecosystem services – what they are, what the benefit is to landowners and their land, and how they can improve the quality and productivity of a property and the surrounding ecosystems. After an overview of the Carolinian Life Zone, attendees learned more about programs available through Carolinian Canada including: the Landowner Leader Program, In the Zone Gardens, and the Go Wild Grow Wild Expo.

Carolinian Canada Coalition: https://caroliniancanada.ca

Casey Whitelock, Program Coordinator of ALUS Norfolk, and Paul Gagnon, Lands and Waters Supervisor for Long Point Region Conservation Authority spoke about the wide range of options and benefits available for property owners and wildlife associated with establishing, restoring and incorporating habitat on managed property (agricultural or not). Casey and Paul collaborated to present various programs available to landowners through organizations like ALUS and the Long Point Region Conservation Authority, including large- and small-scale habitat restoration, tree planting, erosion and control, drainage basin management, and wetland creation. For more information on the programs available, please visit the websites:

ALUS Norfolk: http://alus.ca/alus_community/alus-norfolk/?lang=fr

Long Point Region Conservation Authority: http://lprca.on.ca/pages/1/Home  

Kristen Bernard, Program Director (Southwestern Ontario) with the Nature Conservancy of Canada provided an overview of NCC activities and goals in the Southern Norfolk Sand Plain Natural Area, with a focus on Norfolk Forests and Long Point Wetlands. Kristen also introduced the collaborative landscape scale Long Point Area Phragmites Control Pilot Project, which is being funded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation’s Collective Impact Grant. The goals of this project are to develop strategic mapping and tools for education on, and control of Phragmites australis; evaluate partner initiatives and develop a strategic plan for landowners; to develop an effective project plan that could be implemented elsewhere.

Nature Conservancy of Canada: http://natureconservancy.ca

Gabrielle Ferguson, Environmental Program Specialist from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs spoke about how using nutrients (e.g. fertilizers) sustainably can improve the quality of land, agricultural production, and potentially reduce land management costs. Gabrielle highlighted what farmers can do to get involved, emphasizing that small scale efforts can bring about large-scale change. Farm owners and land managers must first recognize that sustainable nutrient use and effective agricultural land management is a process, not an instant reward program. OMAFRA offers several tools to enhance a farmer’s ability to improve soil quality and reduce nutrient loss on their properties including: Nutrient Management (NR) Plans and Strategies, 4R Nutrient Stewardship, and Farmland Health Checkups. For more information on the programs available or to contact Gabrielle Ferguson, please visit the website:

Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs: http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/

Margaret May, Regional Program Lead for the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association presented educational and cost share opportunities that are designed to help landowners manage invasive species, improve land production and quality, provide a balance of productive land and beneficial habitat and improve business management skills. Programs available to farmers include: Growing Forward 2, GLASI Farmland Health Incentive Program, Grassland Stewardship Program, Badger Way Program, and the Species at Risk Farm Incentive Program. To get involved and to find the program best suited to your goals the process is as simple as knowing who the organization representatives are, identifying your goals and objectives, and then reaching out to them to start the process!

Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association: http://www.ontariosoilcrop.org

The Long Point World Biosphere Reserve Foundation would like to thank all those who attended and participated in this workshop. We look forward to offering more workshops similar to this to provide the community with new resources and information as they become available, and to further develop collaborative relationships and capitalize on project opportunities to deliver solutions to ecosystem stresses affecting the Long Point Area.

 

This event was organized by the Long Point World Biosphere Reserve Foundation in partnership with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, and thanks in part to funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation.