ERCA

ERCA seeking feedback on horseback riding on local trails

 

 

Special to the RTT

 

The Essex Region Conservation Authority (ERCA) is hoping to hear from a variety of greenway user groups on the matter of expanding horseback riding on the greenway trail system.

“Some equestrians have approached ERCA about expanding the sections of trail upon which horses are permitted,” explains Kevin Money, ERCA’s Director of Conservation Services. “We want to hear from all user groups in order to ensure we are making a balanced decision.”

Presently, horses are permitted on rural sections of the Chrysler Canada Greenway. The rules for horseback use are that riders of horses must use the grassed area to the side of the trail and clean up their horse droppings.

ERCA is seeking input on whether users of local trails would like to see them available for horseback riding. The entrance to the Cypher Systems Greenway, looking east from Thomas Road, is photographed.

The new Cypher Systems Group Greenway, which stretches 26 kilometres from Essex to Amherstburg, does not currently permit horse use.

“The Cypher Systems Group Greenway was just opened last year, and the trail needed an opportunity to settle prior to considering horse use. Currently, we are researching rules, design and maintenance standards of other trail owners such as municipalities and Conservation Authorities to help with the decision making process,” said Money.

The survey is available online at www.essexregionconservation.ca.

For more than four decades, Essex Region Conservation has been sustaining and enriching the environment of the Windsor-Essex-Pelee Island region to ensure it is the Place for Life.

 

 

Essex Region Conservation Authority confirms 2018 priorities

 

 

The Essex Region Conservation Authority confirmed its priority projects and programs to create a healthier and more sustainable environment for 2018 as it unanimously passed its annual budget Feb. 15.

Initiating a regional Climate Change Adaptation Strategy, improving floodline mapping in response to a changing climate, creating over 100 acres of new habitat including an innovative wetland project and continuing to tackle phosphorus loadings in Lake Erie are just a few of the projects it has planned for the coming year.

“A robust suite of high priority projects and programs to protect and restore the natural environment of the region will be undertaken,” said Richard Wyma, ERCA’s general manager. “These include programs to increase habitat and forest cover, maintain and expand conservation areas and trails, aid our member municipalities in protecting people and infrastructure from the dangers of flooding and erosion particularly in the era of a changing climate, and to provide meaningful education and engagement opportunities for our residents.”

The 2018 budget totals $9,271,600, which includes a proposed levy contribution of $3,148,752. This represents an increase of $101,019, or $0.09 per household.

Of that, $51,000 is allocated for operations, and $50,000 for future asset replacement. ERCA states that this levy funds less than 30 per cent of its operations, placing ERCA in the bottom five of all conservation authorities, and well below the provincial average of approximately 45 per cent.

“ERCA is unlike any other agency, board or commission in that it generates tremendous revenue for the region,” Wyma adds. “Between 2007 and 2017, ERCA received $26.5 million in total levy contributions, and generated $35 million in new outside funding to the region in support of regional environmental programs and projects. This is in addition to the significant value of ERCA’s programs and services it provides to municipalities.”

“The knowledge and skills that ERCA provides is a cost effective way to manage regional environmental priorities,” added ERCA board chair and Amherstburg Councillor Rick Fryer. “Without the technical expertise that ERCA is able to offer from a regional perspective, each municipality would have to fund this expertise on its own. This relatively small contribution is an excellent investment in ensuring that our region is the Place for Life.”

ERCA holds AGM, honors Conservation Award winners

 

 

The Essex Region Conservation Authority (ERCA) held its annual general meeting (AGM) last Thursday night with a number of people from the region honoured during the evening as well.

Eight organizations and individuals were honoured with Essex Region Conservation Awards for their efforts in making the Windsor/Essex/Pelee Island region the “Place for Life.”

The Essex Region Conservation Authority (ERCA) honoured its Conservation Award winners Jan. 18 in Essex. (Special to the RTT)

“It’s always inspiring to learn more about those who have made tangible contributions to our regional environment,” said ERCA chair Rick Fryer, who is also an Amherstburg town councillor.  “There are so many actions being taken to sustain our region as the Place for Life, and it is a privilege to celebrate them.”

Among the winners were Jerome Deslippe, who posthumously received the Conservation Farm Award for the use of conservation farming practices and a lifetime of dedication to agriculture in the community.

“He was very passionate about being a steward of the land,” said daughter Rochelle, who accepted the award on her father’s behalf.

Rochelle said her father was “very, very active in the community” with his biography indicating that he was past president of the Essex Soil & Crop Improvement Association and was also a director with that organization for over 30 years. He was described as “a proud supporter of his community” through many agricultural projects such as the Essex County Plowing Match, the Essex County Steam and Gas Engine Museum and the Ontario Plowman’s Association.

Jerome was also described as being “instrumental” in the establishment of the Essex County Demonstration Farm at Holiday Beach in 1996 and was an early adopter of conservation tillage practices on his own farm and member of the Essex Conservation Club.

Jerome Deslippe was inducted into the Essex County Agricultural Hall of Fame in 1997.

Rochelle Deslippe (centre) accepts the Conservation Farm Award on behalf of her late father Jerome. Making the presentation were ERCA chair Rick Fryer (left) and vice chair Irek Kusmierczyk. (Special to the RTT)

Other winners included:

  • the Iler Family – John R. Park Homestead Award for her preservation of local agricultural history in our community.
  • Peter Berry – Education Award for educating and engaging the community to improve the health of the Detroit River and the lands that surround it.
  • Darlene Burgess – Volunteer Award for protecting, raising and releasing Monarch butterflies.  As a volunteer citizen scientist, she tracks and reports on the monarch migration.
  • Dr. Doug Haffner – Environmental Achievement Award for decades of mentoring students, teaching the next generation of scientists, and conducting significant research which continues to support the management of Canada’s Great Lakes.
  • Rotary Club of Windsor (1918) – Volunteer Organization Award to celebrate a century of service, including tree plantings, stream cleanups, global sanitation and water initiatives, support of ERCA’s outreach program and creating the Rotary (1918) Centennial Hub.
  • Town of Tecumseh – Robert Pulleyblank Award for Municipal Environmental Achievement recognizes the Town’s leadership in protecting Fairplay Woods, tree planting efforts, creating Lakewood Park, innovative solar use and leadership in trail development.
  • Vivian Kennedy – Dennis Chase Staff Award for two decades of dedication, conscientiousness, kindness and compassion to colleagues, customers and partners.

ERCA also reviewed the accomplishments of the past year, including the creation of the Place for Life policies, opening the Cypher Systems Group Greenway and the Rotary (1918) Centennial Hub, restoring over 92 acres of habitat and engaging over 12,000 students in outdoor education, and strengthening organizational resilience.

Fryer also highlighted the planting of “many trees” this year, with the annual report showing that number to be 92,500 trees.

“I continue to say that this is the ‘Place for Life’,” Fryer stated.

Among the other 2017 accomplishments that ERCA touted were aiding municipalities in responding to the significant rainfall event that occurred in late August, initiating steps to develop a regional climate change strategy, the opening of the new cottage at Holiday Beach, initiating a feasibility study with Ducks Unlimited to design and operate a new 70-acre controlled wetland adjacent to the Canard River and assisting five member municipalities with their Official Plan updates.

Crowd of soggy Santas run in rain through downtown streets

 

 

By Jolene Perron

 

The Holiday Spirit has enveloped Amherstburg, despite the rain, and the Super Santa Run has brought hundreds of “Santa’s” to the core Saturday evening.

“It didn’t matter what the weather is, we were coming. We are putting out our Santa suits and it doesn’t matter,” said Leamington native Pauline Kniaziew. “We have been doing this for five years or so, it’s the beginning of our Christmas every year, we look forward to it. We love it, it’s very Christmassy, and the weather today isn’t that great but still looks like there will be a good number coming in anyways.”

The Super Santa Walk/Run is one of the Essex Region Conservation Authority’s annual fundraising events. ERCA works with the Town of Amherstburg to put on the event.

Runners young and old braved Saturday evening’s Super Santa Run. A total of 67 people walked and 205 ran in the event.

“I think that the Super Santa Run is a wonderful event that can involve the entire family,” explained Danielle Breault Stuebing, director of communications and outreach services for ERCA. “It gets people outdoors and active in a wonderfully fun and comical way. It’s quite a spectacular sight to see hundreds of Santa’s storming the streets of Amherstburg, and all of the residents who line the streets to cheer them on. The route showcases some of our region’s special places, including Fort Malden and the Navy Yard Park, all while raising funds for important conservation work.”

Nearly 500 Santa’s Run each year in support of the conservation and their efforts to make the region a place for life. Mayor Also DiCarlo said ERCA plays “an important role” in helping to maintain the natural environment across the region, Amherstburg included.

Runners young and old braved Saturday evening’s Super Santa Run. A total of 67 people walked and 205 ran in the Nov. 18 event.

“We love hosting this event for them, and are honoured that they’ve kept the event in our community,” said DiCarlo. “We will always work with them every chance we get. As for the run itself; I tell people who haven’t witnessed it, seeing that many Santa’s of all ages running and walking in downtown Amherstburg will definitely put a smile on your face. The event is infectious with the holiday cheer it infuses in our community.”

Could town aid in acquiring lands in Big Creek Watershed?

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Lands in the Big Creek Watershed north of Alma St. could be one step closer to preservation.

About 250 acres of land north of Alma St. between Fox Road and Thomas Road were the subject of debate at town council last Tuesday night with Councillor Rick Fryer wanting the town to look into the possible acquisition of the lands.

The land, which local resident Greg Nemeth has long advocated preserving due to the number of species in that area, was the subject of conversations Fryer said he had with ERCA general manager Richard Wyma.

“It’s got to come from our council,” said Fryer, who chairs ERCA’s board of directors. “The (ERCA) board has said, ‘if Amherstburg is willing, we are willing.’”

Fryer said he was not in favour of the town purchasing the land on its own, but with help from ERCA and the province. He said there are now over 550 different species in that area.

CAO John Miceli stated the town is working with the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR), adding that MNR is aiming for increased protection of endangered species. There is the thought of having developers contribute to a fund to protect endangered species.

The town will have a report done on the matter and did not agree to any land purchases at the meeting. Councillor Jason Lavigne pointed out he did not want to consider purchasing any new land, noting that town council had heard about the town’s deteriorating road system earlier in the meeting.