22 October 2009

Essex, Kent and Lambton counties: native plant resources

Today and tomorrow the Carolinian Canada Coalition is hosting a two-day forum "Caring for Our Coast: Envisioning a Lake Erie Community Stewardship Trail Network"

Many of the presentations at this year's forum (located at Pt. Pelee National Park: just a-stone's-throw from where Gerry Waldron recently found a patch of Kudzu) have more of a southwestern ON focus.

I once knew the area well, for 25 years actually. Born and raised (yup, detassled a lot of corn, swam and ate from all 3 lakes, and later, as an archaeological field assistant, I shovelled a lot of wet clay). Nevertheless, this past spring, when I had to suss out some of the area's practical local native plant gardening, restoration and stewardship resources, I realized I had a lot more to learn.

Here are a few of the local
native plant ecology resources I found handy down there:

"...(F)rom 2000 years ago till AD 1650 in the Tri-County area of Windsor, Chatham and Sarnia, Ontario ...very few well drained sandy and sandy loam areas existed... There were extensive bottomland forests, wet prairies and the general ground water levels must have been 2-3 feet higher before the area was drained in the 19th century.

One can define four woodland-mapping units in the Tri-County area, which is part of the southwestern-Lake Erie section of the Deciduous Forest zone:
  • Carolinian Upland Hardwoods
  • Midwestern Clay-plain Hardwoods
  • River and Lakeshore Hardwoods
  • Oak-savannah"
He then goes on to map and list species in those forest communities "useful in classifying significant vegetation types, and ...site-suitable planting schemes for urban tree and woodland areas." -- Invaluable reference in a place where you often can't see the forests for the farms.

updates feb 2010*

"Coastal Zone Program: Next Steps Towards a Lake Erie Coastal Stewardship Trail" - CCC was flooded with interest from diverse groups at the successful launch of this initiative in October at our 'Caring for Our Coast' Forum. Insights from speakers and participants will be available soon in a program update and proceedings. Local workshops are being planned from Essex to Niagara for 2010. Join with our diverse partners, including landowners, trail groups, municipalities, habitat ecologists and more to showcase the beauty of Carolinian Canada. Stay tuned through regular updates by contacting coast@carolinian.org.

For more examples and other preliminary results from the forum, check out our new Factsheets:
1 - Lake Erie Coastal Zone Program (Download low res PDF 100KB, high res PDF 600KB)
2 - Next Steps Towards a Lake Erie Coastal Stewardship Trail (Download low res 200KB, high res 2MB)

Also, check out the
upcoming CCC 2010 Forum!

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