Guest Blog post: Central Lake Ontario Conservation Authority

August 22

Central Lake Ontario Conservation (CLOCA) has had the pleasure of supporting TD Tree Days since the program was founded in 2010.  We know that trees clean our air and water, prevent erosion, reduce flooding and provide important habitat for wildlife. We also know that the more forested a watershed is, the healthier it will be.  

What is a Watershed? A watershed is defined as an area drained by a river and its tributaries. Streams, and their associated floodplains and upland areas, are a vital watershed resource of great economic, cultural, and environmental value. Streams and floodplains perform a number of ecological functions, such as controlling water flow, storing water, removing harmful pollutants from water, and providing habitat for plants and animals, including fish. These habitats tend to support a large number of species, and have a high rate of biological productivity, making them key components of the living landscape.  

One of those habitats that needs our help is our forests.  Our collective goal is to increase forest cover and improve the variety of forest tree species in our watershed. It makes our forests more attractive to a variety of wildlife, creating biodiversity.  Forests also provide many essential functions. They reduce soil erosion, sedimentation, and stormwater runoff. They help to recharge groundwater by providing places for water to seep into the soil and feed our wells and underground water systems. Research shows that water taken from forested watersheds is cleaner and more abundant than water taken from non-forested watersheds. 

This year we will be leading four TD Tree Days events in our region:

Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences – 360 trees

Down by the lake, the Great Lake Ontario, is the state of the art Ontario Shores Mental Health Sciences Centre, a beautiful park like setting with naturalized grounds, which attract migrating raptors and monarch butterflies each September.  Help us plant 60 Carolinian trees (30 species) along the Waterfront Trail and create a forest block for the future, with 300 native trees and shrubs to increase tree cover in the Lynde Creek Watershed. 

Purple Woods Conservation Area – 360 trees

Purple Woods Conservation Area has been home to the annual Purple Woods Maple Syrup Festival for the past 38 years.  This site, perched on top of the Oak Ridges Moraine with views to Lake Ontario needs some hands to plant more trees.  To date we have planted 2,000 trees and shrubs as part of the redevelopment plan for this site.  The trees will provide an important buffer from existing development, enhance tree cover in the Oak Ridges Moraine and increase the size of the sugarbush for future production of maple syrup. 

Heber Down Conservation Area – 410 trees

Join us for a morning of planting our old camp ground to restore forest cover in the Lynde Creek Watershed and enhanced a Provincially Significant Wetland at Heber Down Conservation Area.  The trees will provide a place for nature appreciation when we link to an existing municipal trail system. The trees will also help us sustain this important groundwater recharge area of the Lake Iroquois Shoreline.  We have already planted 2,400 trees at this site and are on our way to our goal of 3,000 trees.

Bowmanville Westside Marshes Conservation Area – 360 trees

The Bowmanville Westside Marshes Conservation Area planting site is classified as an existing cultural meadow because it was farmed for many years.  We have been working very hard over the past 5 years to expand an existing deciduous woodlot by tree planting in this meadow and create a wildlife corridor between Bowmanville and Westside Marshes.  This will also help us achieve our forest cover target in the Bowmanville Soper Creek Watershed of 30 percent.  To date we have planted 5,000 native trees and shrubs with the help of many community volunteers like you. 

We look forward to hosting the hundreds of volunteers that will help plant the trees as we all work together to care for our watersheds.

About Central Lake Ontario Conservation

Established in 1958, Central Lake Ontario Conservation (CLOCA) is a local community based environmental organization and one of 36 Conservation Authorities responsible for managing watershed resources across Ontario.  Our mandate is to establish and undertake programs to promote the conservation, restoration, development and management of natural resources in Partnership with local Municipalities and the Province. Our mission is to work toward the awareness, understanding, wise use and enhancement of our watershed resources for the benefit of the natural environment.  We are long term landowners in Durham Region, providing environmental experiences and recreational activities for our constituents with respect to significant ecological features including the Oak Ridges Moraine, the Lake Iroquois Shoreline, Lake Ontario Waterfront, valley lands, Environmentally Sensitive Areas and Provincially Significant Wetlands.  You might say we are in the business of creating an environmental ethic in our communities.  Our Partners include: Region of Durham, Cities of Oshawa and Pickering, Towns of Ajax and Whitby, Municipality of Clarington, Townships of Scugog and Uxbridge.

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