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Conservation authority preps for tree-planting season, and you can still get on the list

The Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority runs an annual tree-planting program offering grants to landowners wishing to add trees to their property
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A young volunteer covers the roots of a sapling with soil at the Scoutrees tree planting event at Collingwood Harbourview Park in 2019. Erika Engel/CollingwoodToday

The local conservation authority is preparing to plant 120,000 trees in the local watershed area this year.

Rick Grillmayer, manager of forestry for the Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority (NVCA) said he has about 30 properties signed on to the authority’s tree planting program, which includes grants for landowners.

The NVCA jurisdiction includes 18 municipalities (including Collingwood) in Simcoe, Dufferin, and Grey Counties.

“Every spring we offer a planting program for landowners throughout the watershed,” said Grillmayer. “We meet with the landowner, figure out what we would plant, how we would plant it, and how much work it would take. Then we give them a detailed cost.”

Grillmayer said there are different grants available for tree planting, including money from the 50 Million Trees program, which was cancelled by the provincial government, and picked up by the federal government last year.

The deadline for this year’s tree planting grants is Feb. 1, but it might be hard to meet that tight timeline now. Still, Grillmayer encourages residents in the watershed to reach out to him if they are interested in planting trees.

“We encourage people to call at any time of the year, even if it’s February, March, or April, we accumulate a list and as soon as spring shows up we do a lot of site visits for the next year during tree planting season,” he said, adding the NVCA wants to help landowners whether they are planting trees to prevent snow blowing onto a road, to slow down the wind across a field, or to reforest a piece of land to catch carbon.

Grillmayer said the largest tree-planting year saw the NVCA work with landowners to plant 220,000 trees in the watershed.

In order to be eligible for tree planting grants, residents need to have several acres available for planting, and/or some land by a stream.

“Stream-side plantings are the ones that interest us the most,” said Grillmayer. “Conservation authorities are all about water and flooding. A watershed that has really good forest cover is more stable and doesn’t flood as drastically.”

He said when he works with landowners, his goal is to string together as many grants as possible to reduce the cost to the landowner. He estimated landowners can spend from $300 to $600 an acre to plant trees through the NVCA program.

Those who call and have a site visit are not obligated to follow through with the tree planting.

The NVCA also has some help for urban landowners without the acreage to support a forest.

On the second Saturday in May, there’s a one-day tree sale where residents can purchase a bundle of ten seedlings. Grillmayer is always at the sale and ready to speak with residents who have questions or are seeking advice. The Arbor Day Tree sale takes place at the Conservation Authority administration centre in Utopia.

He said he’s also available by phone at 705-424-1479, ext. 230 or email at rgrillmayer@nvca.on.ca to answer questions on forestry and tree-planting.

For more information on tree planting from the NVCA, click here.


Erika Engel

About the Author: Erika Engel

Erika regularly covers all things news in Collingwood as a reporter, photographer and community editor.
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