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PostPosted: December 3rd, 2010, 3:21 pm 
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Here's another...... :doh: The other day while walking Nakoda through one of our local conservation areas here the authority was cutting down dead trees that were in no danger to either property or humans. Those dead trees provide much needed food and habitat for some Wood Peckers and Southern Fly Squirrels that are threatened in this area. :evil: :doh: :doh: :doh:

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PostPosted: December 3rd, 2010, 4:37 pm 
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One thing I don't get is why is Ontario Nature sponsored by Ontario Hydro Generation?

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PostPosted: December 3rd, 2010, 7:47 pm 
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Is it possible they are planting species that are more tolerant to a warming and drier climate? Here in Chicago, we are currently in USDA plant hardiness zone 5b and are trending to 6a (with decreases in moisture). These changes have implications for 100 trees and an even larger number of shrubby and herbaceous species that are native to the region. Already, we are noticing stress and declines in northern red oak, black cherry, white oak, sugar maple and red maple. Some less common species (paper birch, black ash, quaking aspen, big-toothed aspen, butternut, balsam fir, black spruce, and eastern hemlock) are likely to disappear in 30-50 years. Other species (some not very common) are expected to do well and increase their range (silver maple, bur oak, post oak, sweetgum, Kentucky coffee tree, black hickory, and wild plum).

Management of conservation areas inside the city and in neighboring regions try to take this into account (to the extent they have already been dealing with changes).

Why are they doing this … have they given you NO explanation?


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PostPosted: December 4th, 2010, 12:15 am 
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idylwyld wrote:
Is it possible they are planting species that are more tolerant to a warming and drier climate?


No.
Our native species here have a wide phenotypic variation, with many species spanning wide gradients of mositure and nutrient regimes. Within the gene pool , you can easily select natives that are naturally suited to the micro site and the larger community gradients. A really good example of variation within a species is red maple, which grows in the wettest of swamps, and on top of the driest blow sands on the Oak Ridges moraine. You need professional foresters and highly skilled forest technicians to select seed and propagules to match the regenration conditions. Not amateurs.

In fact the warming climate can also make it wetter locally, including changing flood plain flooding regimes. You need many decades of data to determine what a long term trend may be.

Look at tree rings in very old trees, and you will see the wet years, the drought years, the fire scars, etc. Many trees are adapated to fluctuations, injuries, insetcs chewing on them, etc. Some secumb, but many don't.

What is particularly damaging is wonky springs where it can be above freezing one day melting water, and then dipping to 20 below the next day. That can crack trees. So what I call "weak" winters are a big problem.

Alan: You should write your local Newspaper and expose this very poor practice of the CA, and 'cc the CA. Get the media focused on the absolute need to plant native species suited the ecosystems they belong in. In fact planting native species is your best bet to build resiliency into ecosystems that are undergoing change. Planting exotics is a tragedy.

You have to keep your eye on the CA's, which are funded with your tax dollars. They sometimes do really bad things. In my home town they filled in a lake Ontario coastal wetland and mowed down beautiful forest, to make a sodded picnic area and parking lot. They coud have been charged under the Federal Fisheries Act. I was just a young student then. Knowing what I know now, I could have taken them to court and got them convicted under the Fisheries Act. Bad! Gotta keep an eye on 'em.

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PostPosted: December 4th, 2010, 9:16 am 
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Alan Greve wrote:
Here's another...... :doh: The other day while walking Nakoda through one of our local conservation areas here the authority was cutting down dead trees that were in no danger to either property or humans. Those dead trees provide much needed food and habitat for some Wood Peckers and Southern Fly Squirrels that are threatened in this area. :evil: :doh: :doh: :doh:


Is it possible the cutting is to eliminate the ash borer?

Grand River Conservation has been removing Norway Spruce trees to make room for the white pine at Shade's Mill. I'm going to check on their list of trees and shrubs that they offer in the spring to the public for non-native species.

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PostPosted: December 4th, 2010, 9:45 am 
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Well … this is a bit off topic, but it's a really inspiring story on the possibilities for biodiversity and environmental restoration through the prison system in Oregon (Sustainable Prisons Project). What they've found, inmates have much better skills and even long-standing and continuous commitment to environmental restoration than zoos or other groups in private and public sector, namely because of abundance of time, and it's helped out a great deal in terms of important job skills development, education, environmental education, pride, self-worth, etc. The prison also has a water treatment plant on its grounds, and biodiversity and green efforts have returned huge cost benefits and economic savings too. I really like stories like this … areas where biodiversity and environmental work can return important benefits in terms of jobs, education, economy, benefits to science, reducing crime (in Chicago, community gardens have an important co-benefit in crime reduction by simply putting more eyes on the street), and also help out the environment. The Oregon prison project has been most important in returning endangered Oregon spotted frogs back to their natural habitat. There's a shorter text version of the story here. Break the law, and do your time and give something back by getting "close to nature."
Quote:
TOBY ERHART: The first year, we did about 120,000 of nine different species. This year, we're doing near 400,000 of 13 different species.

JULE GILFILLAN: Stafford Creek inmate, Toby Erhart, is growing prairie grasses for the Lewis McChord restoration with the help of Evergreen graduate student, Carl Elliott.

CARL ELLIOTT, graduate student, The Evergreen State College: So the training is basic horticulture techniques. And I spent a lot of time teaching them sensitivity and observation. I want them to be able to observe what they see and be sensitive to changes in the plants or insects that they may see affecting them.

And that's why they're good for the insects, because --

JULE GILFILLAN: The time these inmates have for observation and recordkeeping also results in valuable scientist data.

TOBY ERHART: There's virtually no science on the germination or growth of these species, because they are wild and no one has cultivated them for profit so there's no mass sowing (ph) information on them.

JULE GILFILLAN: The program may be without a profit motive, but there's plenty of motivation.

NALINI NADKARNI:I mean I came to a prison thinking it was going to be so tough and so hard to break through to these guys with bald heads and -- and tattooed. And they've been the easiest. They've been the ones who have accepted and wanted more -- more than other audience I've

-- I've ever worked with.

TOBY ERHART: The scientist aspect of this project has been pretty much new to me. I had never even heard of any of these things. These are called lomatium that we're planting right now. These ones, they're little phylum linatum (ph).

You know, I -- I'm learning Latin, for goodness sakes. You know, linatum means to provide with wool or covered with wool.

JULE GILFILLAN: In addition to educational and scientific benefits, there also seems to be a social upside.

NALINI NADKARNI: What I've seen is that their stress levels go down and their fear levels go down. Their aggression levels go down. It's a hard thing to measure in a prison, but we have some deep sense of that in each one of the prisons that we're working in and each type of the projects that we're working, as well.


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PostPosted: December 4th, 2010, 10:23 am 
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No these were not ash trees.

Even if they where I' don't agree that they should be cutting them. Nature has always figured out a way to adapt and it will with the Ash Bore. The bottom line is they are cutting down good habitat that these other species need for food and nesting.

I'll give you another example of stupidity!!!! The Pinery P/P still to this day dose controlled burns. They say its for better Oak Savanna management. Years ago they planted Non- Native Jack Pine in the Park. Years later they realized their mistake. They've been cutting these down and using controlled burns in big areas. ( I'm ok with the cutting part as these tres are Non Native to the Carolinian). But what does fire do with Jack Pine seed pods???? It opens them!!! :doh: :doh:
It gets even better....... :doh: :doh: Within the Park they have three reptile species two of which are considered endangered and one threaten. The Eastern Hog Nosed Snake ( Thr), the Five Lined Skink ( End) Which I've seen myself in the park by the canoe put-in. And the Blue Racer (End)

Large areas of controlled burns...... :-? :-? How many of these species have been killed by these burns??? Even if it is only one that's one two many...... Considering these Park people are suppose to be the Stewards of these animals. :doh: :evil:

It gets better still.....I have complained to the Park Superintendent. He tried to feed me they are doing it for the Oak Savanna.. I told then cut the Jack Pine don't burn......he didn't listen. I then wrote to the Ministry...... they wrote back talk to the Park Superintendent. :doh: :doh: :doh:

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PostPosted: December 5th, 2010, 11:23 am 
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A little sidenote on CAs and their possible lack of ethics... several years ago there was a website, blackhole.on.ca, put up by a Toronto real estate agent, Marian Martin... why did she use the name "black hole"? Because in her opinion the Toronto Region Conservation Authority was the "black hole" of conservation.

Much of the website had to do with Toronto history and the archaeology of the Rouge river where an Iroquois settlement was said to have existed at the end of the portage connecting Lake Simcoe and Lake Ontario. Martin had been engaged in protecting these archaeological sites but according to her accounts, the TRCA and the archaeologist they employed at taxpayer's expense, did nothing to protect the sites from developers.

A great deal of time must have been spent by Martin collecting old French and English maps, along with extensive historical information relating to archaeological sites, which were included on various pages. I never did get to read them all, and didn't copy and save anything, which was a real regret after the website disappeared from sight.

Some of it was strongly anti-TRCA, claiming that the CA sold natural areas to developers in order to keep money coming in for CA needs, staff conflicts of interest with Toronto developers, TRCA directors having one hand on greenspace while the other was in the developer's cookie jar making money.

Martin actually named names from the TRCA so maybe it's not surprising that the website went offline (threats and lawsuits?). Anyway... one has to think about all that work spent researching material, and whether there was any truth to it.

Strange and mysterious goings-on... I thought at the time that Blackhole.on.ca would be a great title for a movie or a documentary, to expose municipal corruption if it indeed did exist.

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PostPosted: December 5th, 2010, 11:38 am 
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It might be helpful to bear in mind that the primary mandate of most, if not all, CA's is to minimize flooding. They were established after hurricane Hazel way back in the early 50's. Local politicians typically make up the CA board. It's easy to see why conservation would sometimes take a back seat to other priorities.

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PostPosted: December 5th, 2010, 12:08 pm 
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That may have been the case in the past but things have changed as the Government has down loaded other responsibilities on these Authorities.
As it happens to be we live very close to four different Authorities and often have contact with them all.

Here is a Vision Statement from one...
Vision Statement
Our vision is one of clean and usable watersheds where human needs and the needs of the natural environment are balanced to ensure quality of life and biological diversity today and in the future.

But as we often see not always are they fulfilling such statements. So too often Old School views rule the day by management.

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PostPosted: December 5th, 2010, 12:47 pm 
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Alan Greve wrote:
The Pinery P/P still to this day does controlled burns. They say its for better Oak Savanna management. Years ago they planted Non- Native Jack Pine in the Park. Years later they realized their mistake. They've been cutting these down and using controlled burns in big areas.
Don't many native species and grasses also require burning to reproduce and occupy their normal range? From a management perspective, I'm not sure there is any one approach that doesn't have drawbacks. You said they planted the invasives, and these are able to benefit from burning too. But they are cutting down these trees in an effort to deal with this unwanted outcome, aren't they?

I work with several managers of conservation areas in my region, and they usually have a pretty good understanding of the science and the physical, financial, and institutional challenges of working on their lands, managing for invasives (it's a huge problem for them), and restoring native ecosystems. We had one issue with a burn last year where their were many geese nesting in a neighboring marsh. Some residents got very upset at the timing of the scheduled burn, and the managers didn't handle the issue well. They just needed to talk to residents, hear their concerns, and explain the process a little better. I happened to be there at the time, and invited many of these local residents to join the team during the burn, walk around with the technicians, and they were able to see that the burn was very minimal (just 2-5% of land, and no geese were impacted). But I later had to explain to the managers what they did wrong, why local residents felt the way they did, and provide better tools for dealing with the situation (since people care about these lands greatly, and want them to be managed well).

But perfect solutions … I think there will always be difficult challenges and imperfect choices.
Alan Greve wrote:
Nature has always figured out a way to adapt …
I'm not sure I agree to this. Left to it's own devices, I think nature adapts in many cases to provide a perfect setting for the invasives to thrive. Preventing them from taking hold sometimes takes a very active approach. If we didn't manage for zebra mussels, for example, Lake Michigan and the local environment where I live would be a very different place.


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PostPosted: December 5th, 2010, 1:35 pm 
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As we all know fire has played a part in Ecological development. That,s a fact. But all too often we try to play God......it happens all the time, we think we can and should mold things the way we want.
The Oak Savanna here in this area never had Jack Pine! That's a Fact.
So why are the Jack Pine there and still growing.....we enjoy lighting fires, the seeds open, the trees grow. Outside of the Park to either side there are no Jack Pine and no one lighting fires. The Oak Savanna is doing just fine. But even if we weren't to play with nature in ANY WAY things would still evolve. So why no let them do so where no damage to property or humans exist?

It just so happened where I saw and reported the sighting of two Five Lined Skink they burned that same area the next year. I have never seen the Skink there again!



The complete cutting of Ash here in our Carolinian in Essex County wood lots to prevent the movement Eastward of the Ash Bore has not worked. The Ash Bore is now East of London Ontario. What destruction did we cause in the removal of these Ash trees in advance of the Ash Bore? A great deal. Did we lose Bio Diversity, yes we did. Are the numbers of Southern Flying Squirrels decreasing due to lose of mature native habitat? Yes they are.

The Zebra Mussel was not introduced to the Great Lakes on purpose they came in unwanted. Did we try to stop them yes.....did it work? No. Have the Zebras taken off they way they said they would, to some degree they have.....But they have balance them selves. And as much as we don't like it the Zebras have contributed to a more positive and cleaner lake system.

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PostPosted: December 5th, 2010, 4:35 pm 
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Alan Greve wrote:
.But they have balance them selves. And as much as we don't like it the Zebras have contributed to a more positive and cleaner lake system.



According to this they haven't done much for biodiversity:

"Food Source for Great Lakes Fish Disappearing
View All News | Return To Previous Page

Sunday, October 31, 2010 12:00 pm

A Coastal Resources Manager with the Lake Huron Centre for Coastal Conservation says a tiny shrimp-like organism that makes up about 70 per cent of the living bio-mass on healthy lake bottoms has all but disappeared from Lake Huron.
Geoff Peach says at one time there would be about ten-thousand diporeia in a square metre of water.
But he says data from 207 shows they've almost completely disappeared from Lake Huron.
Peach says the decline of the diporeia coincides with the arrival of zebra and quagga mussels in the Great Lakes in the ballast water of foreign ships.
Peach says there's no substitute for fish native to the Great Lakes.
Even worse, the Diporeia are so nutritious that they've contributed to a very healthy population of zebra mussels and quagga mussels.
Peach says the zebra mussel population has pretty well peaked now but Quagga mussels can live in deeper water and cover a larger area and their population is continuing to grow, partly because of a steady diet of Diporeia."
http://www.am920.ca/news.php?area=details&cat_id=4&art_id=13413

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PostPosted: December 5th, 2010, 5:57 pm 
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As mentioned none of us want the Zebras, but they have seemed to of peaked as mentioned.
A Marine Biologist that I have spoke to from Fisheries Canada says the lakes are cleaner than they were ten years, largely Lake Erie.
Has the lake system changed, yes it has. Do they have the answer to get ride of the Zebras, she said no. She said the lakes will adapt to this new addition.

I think the important thing to remember here is the things we have control and the things we don't. How we tackle future issues and that we just don't use knee jerk reactions when dealing with problems, ie; the Ash Bore.

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PostPosted: December 5th, 2010, 6:36 pm 
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Al I am willing to bet the cutting of the trees was probably due to a liability issue and public access, most likely as a result of the school kid at the Botanical gardens last year.
We just went through the same in Milton here with trees around the Mill Pond, there was disease and insect infestations and they where falling in high winds.
So it's not good for the critter habitat, but lawsuits scare more.
You may want to contact your local bird group and see what can be done.
Jeff
Edit a few people who know that I am a "little" active in this area phoned for support, I gave them some locations of other trees and areas to go look at and then asked if it was their liability in such high traffic areas what they would do......

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