Emergency Essentials/BePrepared

Nursery handles rare Parkway plants (con't)

The operation is the plant counterpart to the MTO’s preserving of endangered animal species along the Parkway route, most evidenced by the 13 km of black geotextile fencing that has gone up to preserve a couple of snake species from entering the construction site.

No cost was given for the fencing as the cost was “rolled into” the overall parkway construction, estimated at $1.4 billion, an official said.

But Phil Roberts, president of the local Essex County Field Naturalists Club, suggested that if the price was in the neighbourhood of $100,000 it was well worth it.

The MTO was tight-lipped about the species transplant operation, providing only the briefest of information – a two sentence e-mailed comment.

“The plants are being removed from future construction areas for the Windsor Essex-Parkway and are being replanted in adjacent protected sites,” said Joel Foster, Head of Environmental for the Ministry of Transportation, Windsor Border Initiatives Implementation Group.

“ This work is being carried out in accordance with the requirements of the Endangered Species Act.”

According to one source, the operation requires uprooting hundreds of plants and carefully transplanting to protected sites.

St. Williams Nursery is located southeast of London near Lake Erie.

The plants, identified in the Parkway’s permit issued under the Endangered Species Act, are identified as the Dwarf Hackberry, Common Hoptree, Dense Blazing Star, Willowleaf Aster, Kentucky Coffee Tree and Colicroot.

The permit is highly detailed in terms of how the plants should be handled and the species preserved. For the Willowleaf Aster, for example, there are four pages of detailed instructions.

St. Wiliams is located on Canada’s first forestry station and has operated as a nursery since 1908.

The nursery had been run by the province but was privatized in 1998.

The nursery, run by ForestCare, specializes in growing native tree seedlings as well as ecological restoration.


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