By Miriam King, QMI Agency
Thursday, June 19, 2014 10:16:38 EDT PM
The South Simcoe Streams Network organized a Community Work Party and Tree-planting in the Holland Marsh on June 14.
High School students, members of the South Simcoe and New Tecumseth Streams networks, Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority and other community partners came out to dig holes and plant approximately 400 metres of the new berm beside the reconstructed Holland Marsh Canal near Hwy. 9, with a combination of native shrubs and trees. Grey Dogwood, Spirea, flowering Ninebark, Sumac and Tamarack were planted to stabilize and naturalize the berm.
Later, equipment would be brought in to plant white pine, white spruce and sugar maple along the top of the berm.
Silvia Pedrazzi, co-ordinator with the South Simcoe Streams Network, has been working with the LSRCA and landowners in the Marsh on the plans to restore natural vegetation along the canals.
“Some landowners just want grass,” Pedrazzi admitted, but others have been inspired by the success of an earlier pilot project along the canal bank, and are eager to see the berms replanted.
In 2009, volunteers planted a section close to Hwy. 9, with a similar mix of native species. At the time, there was some concern over planting trees and shrubs on the berms,which were built primarily to improve life safety and provide flood protection.
The pilot was “a showcase, a template,” Pedrazzi said. It not only won over Marsh residents, it also highlighted some potential problems - e.g., planting large trees too close to the road could interfere with the movement of farm equipment. Most importantly, though, it demonstrated the potential for success, when organizations work together. “It was a collaboration that’s been transplanted to other areas in the Marsh,” said Pedrazzi.
On Saturday, there was another kind of transplanting going on; the trees planted for the pilot project were being carefully moved to an adjacent section of the berm, using spade trucks, to allow the original area to be raised to the 100 Year storm level.
The Community Work Party day was an example of the partnerships that have evolved. The large stock trees were partly donated by Somerville nurseries, the mulch by Miller Compost, a pizza lunch was provided by the Holland Marsh Drainage System Joint Municipal Services Board, funding came from the Ministry of the Environment’s Great Lakes Guardian Community Fund and other provincial agencies - and the work was done by the volunteers.