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Great Lakes Article:

More landowners now helping to protect Oak Ridges Moraine
Caledon Citizen
Published November 15, 2006

More landowners are now helping to protect the Oak Ridges Moraine, as a result of a major landowner contact program launched earlier this year in selected areas of the moraine, part of Ontario's Greenbelt.

Called the Caring for the Moraine Project (CMP), it was created by 23 conservation and environmental organizations working together to provide coordinated conservation services, made possible with a grant of $230,000 from the Oak Ridges Moraine Foundation, and contributions from the project organizations totaling $460,000. Over the past six months,

more than 40,000 landowners living in three large areas of the moraine containing important and sensitive environmental features have been contacted. This has resulted in more than 160,000 tress planted over an area of 80 hectares, almost 2.5 kilometers of restored streams in important watershed locations, and more than three hectares of new wetlands.

The CMP will continue next year, in newly expanded project areas, with $600,000 of new funding from the Oak Ridges Moraine Foundation and over $1 million in funding contributions from the partner organizations.

This is the first time that major conservation and environmental protection agencies and organizations on the moraine have come together to develop a strategic plan and provide comprehensive, coordinated conservation services for landowners living in particularly important areas of the moraine.

The CMP is strictly a voluntary program. It has been designed to be a user friendly, one-stop starting point for people who own land on the Oak Ridges Moraine and are seeking advice on land management and restoration, on protecting their drinking water sources, and on how to improve their property value while helping to protect its natural features.

The Oak Ridges Moraine is one of Ontario's most prominent ecosystems. Its rolling hills, unique kettle lakes, hiking trails and vistas stretch across the top of the GTA. It is a big area - more than 160 kilometers in length. Stretching from the Niagara Escarpment in Caledon to east of Rice Lake, it is the starting point of the 65 rivers flowing into Lake Ontario, Lake Simcoe and the Kawartha Lakes, and is the source of drinking water for more than 250,000 people. It is important that moraine landowners get good advice and support to help them protect these vital areas.

"This project demonstrates that landowners on the moraine want to help protect its many important environmental features," said Kate Potter, coordinator of the project. With this project, landowners can access the resources, experience and expertise of almost two dozen organizations, ranging from the Community Streams Stewards Program, Conservation Authorities on the Moraine, Ducks Unlimited Canada,

Kawartha Heritage Conservancy, Large Woodlands Conservation Cooperative, local municipalities, the Nature Conservancy of Canada, the Oak Ridges Trail Association, Stewardship Councils on the Moraine and the Wetland Habitat Fund.

The three new expanded areas for the project are the Western Headwaters area, covering parts of Peel and York Region, and Simcoe County; the York-Durham Headwaters area, covering parts of York and Durham Region, and the Ganaraska Hills area, covering parts of Durham Region, Northumberland and Peterborough Counties and the City of Kawartha Lakes.



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