Friday, September 25, 2020

Ridge Landfill contributes $1-million to increase C-K tree cover

The Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority (LTVCA) and the Municipality of Chatham-Kent have announced a new partnership, with the generous financial support of the Ridge Landfill Community Trust and facilitated by Waste Connections of Canada.

This partnership will enable the creation of significant forest cover, wetland and grassland habitat creation in South-Kent.

The Ridge Landfill Community Trust will provide $1-million of funding, to be utilized by the LTVCA and chosen partners over an estimated 10-year period.

The trees planted along with new wetland and grassland habitat will help combat climate change, build much-needed wildlife corridors – reducing habitat fragmentation – control dangerous soil erosion and create a more productive, healthier eco-system.

This initiative and funding will help Chatham-Kent greatly increase its natural tree cover, which currently sits at less than 6%, the lowest of any upper tier municipality in Ontario.

Only 4% of the municipality has forest cover in woodlands greater than two hectares, and 2% has forest cover in smaller woodlands or other habitats such as wetlands and grasslands.

The Ridge Landfill Community Trust has funded several million dollars for community, educational and charitable works over the last couple of decades in South Kent.

“We are incredibly proud that the Trust has elected to provide this money to be used to protect the local environment and create a healthier eco-system for future generations,” stated Cathy Smith, Project Manager with Waste Connections, in a media release.

“This will be a legacy for this existing Community Trust which is made up of very dedicated and hard-working members, many of whom have been with the Trust for decades.”

In addition to facilitation of this partnership, Waste Connections of Canada is also committing about 25 acres of Waste Connections’ owned property on and around the existing Ridge Landfill site in South Kent to be rewilded, providing new habitats for local species and contributing to a healthier local ecosystem.

“These projects will have a huge impact on our water quality, lessen the effects of climate change on a local level, control soil erosion and provide much needed habitat for Species at Risk and other species that rely on these ecosystems,” stated Linda McKinlay Chair of the Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority, in a media release.

“This investment will have significant benefits for the community of Chatham-Kent and our natural environment,” stated Darrin Canniff, Mayor of Chatham-Kent, in a press release.

“Planting more trees can help us combat the effects of climate change, protect endangered species and restore wetlands. The project is a particularly heartening example of what can be achieved when community organizations, business and government work together to have a positive impact.”

South Kent Councillor Anthony Ceccacci, who inquired about the Trust and their interest in the project said he is very gratified to see such support.

“We know that greater tree cover means a healthier environment and I know from experience that the Community Trust has been an outstanding partner on many projects,” Ceccacci said in a media release.

“It is a great feeling to know that the actions we are taking today will benefit our children, their children and generations to come.”

The project will be concentrated in the area of South Kent, which includes the watersheds of Rondeau Bay, Jeannette’s Creek, Lake Erie and McGregor Creek.

The $1-million funding from The Ridge Landfill Community Trust will be matched where possible by other existing programs.

Suitable projects in South Kent will be considered for funding.

For more information, please contact Randall Van Wagner, Manager of Conservation Lands and Services with the LTVCA.

Mark Peacock, CAO of the Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority, said through its various partners, the LTVCA will be able to turn the $1-million into $3-million for green infrastructure.

He noted that climate change has brought about more localized flood emergencies and changing weather patterns but that initiatives such as this can help mitigate those issues.

“You don’t plant a tree for yourself; you plant it for future generations.”

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