2018 a good year for stewardship in Huron says White - Jan. 10, 2019
BY SHAWN LOUGHLIN
Stewardship and the preservation of natural resources in Huron County has had another good year according to Huron County Stewardship Co-ordinator and Biologist Rachel White.
White spoke to Huron County Council at its Jan. 2 meeting, outlining the successes of the several initiatives she fronts on behalf of the county. In addition to her work on behalf of the county, she also works with the Huron Clean Water Project, the Conservation Committee and the Huron Stewardship Council.
The Huron Stewardship Council, she said, focuses on biodiversity and wildlife research, land stewardship (forestry and woodlot management), youth initiatives and partnership building.
She said that the wildlife research being conducted by the council has attracted national attention, as well as increased levels of funding from upper-tier governments. Specifically, White said that Huron is home to the eastern hog-nosed snake, which is listed as being “threatened” on Ontario’s Species at Risk list.
She also said that the county’s flora diversity is the envy of other regions. There are many plants that are rather common in Huron County, but are scarcely found anywhere outside of the region.
The CBC has covered the council’s efforts with the eastern hog-nosed snake and the council’s turtle release was covered by CTV and attracted nearly 1,000 to the event.
If that many people are attending a turtle release event, White told councillors, it’s clear that environmental activities are important to local residents.
The council has also worked extensively on land stewardship in the county, seeing tremendous success with the Trees Beyond Goderich program that aimed to plant trees in the Benmiller area after it was devastated by the 2011 tornado that ripped through Goderich and some of its surrounding communities.
White said that while members of the council were optimistic about the project, it has exceeded even their expectations, with trees already nearly 20 feet high after just a few years of growth.
The council has also worked significantly in youth outreach, she said, including hosting the Huron-Perth Agriculture and Water Festival in Seaforth and participating in the Ontario Envirothon.
Board members, she said, hail from all over Huron County and volunteer their time all in an effort to better their communities.
The council is aided by funding at all three government levels, White said. It benefits from the Species at Risk Stewardship Fund from the provincial government, the Habitat Stewardship Program from the federal government, the Clean Water Project at the Huron County level and from donations and fundraising as well.
While the council received $126,173 in total funds in 2017/2018, White projects a large increase in funding for 2018/2019 with an estimate of $217,300 thanks to an increase in the council’s scope this year.
For more information on the council, visit its website online at hsc.huronstewardship.ca.