Who are the partners in the Niagara Peninsula Watershed Tree Planting Partnership?

    The Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority has partnered with many local organizations and groups, with support from the federal government of Canada.

    This list continues to grow! Current partners include but are not limited to:

    • Carolinian Canada
    • City of Hamilton 
    • City of Port Colborne 
    • City of St. Catharines 
    • City of Thorold 
    • City of Niagara Falls
    • City of Welland 
    • Government of Canada
    • Haldimand County 
    • Niagara Parks 
    • Niagara Peninsula Conservation Foundation 
    • Niagara Region 
    • Natural Resources Canada 
    • Somerville Seedings
    • Stratus Vineyards
    • Town of Fort Erie
    • Town of Grimsby 
    • Town of Lincoln
    • Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake
    • Township of Wainfleet
    • Township of West Lincoln

    What are landowners being asked to do today?

    The NPCA and its partners are seeking landowners to register their potential interest in planting trees on their property. Partners are also exhausting their public lands inventories for similar opportunities.

    Through this first step, our goal is to create a database of potential landowners and property, to be considered as part of a future tree planting grant application and/or NPCA restoration granting. Additionally, this database will help shape the tree planting program. 

    Registering interest does not create any future obligation for landowners to plant trees on their property. Even if you only have a small amount of area on your property available for planting a few to several trees, we still want to hear from you! 

    Registering and expressing your interest simply means we’ll connect with you in the near future to discuss your interests further. Please do not register property you do not own.

    How do I know if my land is appropriate for this and future initiatives?

    If you live and have land in the Niagara Peninsula watershed, which is comprised of Niagara, and portions of Haldimand County and the City of Hamilton, you are eligible! 

    At present, there are very few limitations where we would consider planting trees. Consider your unused open green spaces, marginal lands, near existing natural features, both in urban and rural areas. If you think you could squeeze in some trees, please register your interest!

    Preference will be given to areas where it is anticipated there will be a high impact to ecological co-benefits. 

    To see if your land fits this description, check out the 'Trees For All: Find and register your property' tool! Through this tool, landowners can identify the areas on their property that they wish to forward and express interest in tree planting opportunities.

    How do I register my interest?

    Click HERE to launch the ‘Trees For All: Find & Register Your Property’ mapping tool.

    1. Once on the page, navigate to your property to identify it (instructions in the tool when you follow the link)
    2. Fill out the online form with your contact information
    3. Answer a couple quick questions about your interest in tree planting and its potential on your property
    4. Feel free to add any additional details in the comment section beyond what we’ve asked.

    This system allows you to confidentially record your interest and property. Data collected will only be shared within the Trees For All program, not available to the public.

    Should you be interested in knowing if there is area on your property that would provide better or more benefits to the environment if planted, turn on the “Valued Tree Planting Areas” in the Layer/Legend list to see your property's potential to address some known areas where ecological co-benefits could be experienced.

    What is are ecological and cumulative benefits as described as Valued Tree Planting Areas in the Trees for All mapping tool:

    Consider ecological benefits as gains toward natural environment system objectives that we measure to assess system performance, relative to its perceived sustainability, such as forest/wooded cover achievement.

    When we plant trees, depending on where these trees are planted, they may also contribute to other environmental objectives that we monitor as indicators contributing to environmental health.

    For instance,

    • if we plant them adjacent to an existing woodlot and assuming they mature over time, we are also increasing interior forested habitat, increasing forest/wooded patch sizes, and decreasing distance from patch sizes for species and things like flora seed to travel.
    • The adjacent woodlot may also contain a swamp wetland therein, further establishing or adding to the buffer around it, enhancing the critical function zones for wetland species.

    Ecological co-benefits or cumulative benefits thereby refer to areas where there are one or more these benefits being realized, should they be tree planted or naturalized in some other way.

    The mapping demonstrates this in a heat like effect.

    • Where multiple benefits ‘stack up’ and would be realized in the same area is displayed via a ‘graduated colour ramp’ transitioning from white to red.
    • Lighter shades of white to pink have fewer co-benefits, whereas the redder areas would realize several positive cumulative ecological impacts.

    Please note this information/mapping is simply provided to indicate and help landowners appreciate potential for tree planting on their property, while considering any interest in tree planting. Perhaps it makes one view their property in a new light with respect to how they can contribute to make a differenced on the landscape.

    When considering this mapping, there will be no obligation to adhere to it in any sense, should a landowner be interested in planting trees on their property that do not reflect what the mapping suggests would be of value to consider planting.

    What costs are associated with this program?

    Please note that these details are still being determined. Our goal is to make this program as cost-effective for landowners as possible and the current expression of interest and registering of land is crucial to this success.

    The federal program (Canada's 2 Billion Trees) will fund 50 per cent towards a gracious range of costs associated with potential plantings. The NPCA and its partners will determine how to fund the balance as part of its application to the program.

    There is no guarantee there may not be financial requirements by landowners, however current aspirations are to keep contributions to an exchange of land volunteered for plantings for the trees and planting services, to essentially keep program participation free and equitable.

    What is the timeline for this project?

    Register your interest now until March 15, 2023 to be potentially considered as a planting site in a June 2023 planting application to the federal 2 Billion Trees program. Tree plantings would begin in 2024.

    The NPCA currently has an existing Restoration Grant Program with tree planting eligibility and financial incentives to ensure priority sites will be planted beginning in 2024. However, should a multi-year, high-volume tree planting grant be awarded by the federal government, planting capacity, eligibility and incentives would likely increase and change as the NPCA and its partners continue to develop the tree planting program.

    Why is the Trees For All initiative so important?

    Niagara has a reputation of being a natural wonder with many environmental assets and unique phenomena.

    •  Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBBA), Migration Hotspot
    •  UNESCO Biosphere Reserve For Niagara Escarpment
    •  2 Great Lakes + Niagara River + Niagara Falls

    Carolinian Canada states that the Niagara Peninsula watershed is:

    • Most biodiverse and threatened ecoregion in Canada
    • Needs to at least double existing natural infrastructure (current is <15%, need minimum 30%)
    • Over 150 species at risk
    • 40% of Canada’s species
    • Globally significant ecosystems
    • Dense human population
    • <3% protected land

    As early as the 1930s, there was broad public concern about soil erosion, flooding, and drought due to decades of poor land, water, and forestry practices throughout Southern Ontario. One of the earliest conservation efforts to help mitigate these watershed-scale problems was tree planting to restore forests.

    Today, the watershed continues to face immense pressures from land uses and the effects of climate change which threaten ecological integrity and require immediate action.

    • The landscape cumulatively achieves only 56 per cent towards what scientific literature suggests is sustainable.
    • This performance is functionally dependent on environmental objectives related specifically to forest/wooded area cover.
    • The Niagara Watershed currently achieves 18 per cent of its land based in forest/wooded area cover.
    • Scientific literature recommends a minimum 30 per cent coverage from a high-risk perspective to support less than one half of the potential species richness and marginally healthy aquatic systems.

    Nature based solutions to support climate change mitigation also brings opportunity to increase local biodiversity resilience, habitat improvements, water resources protection, improvements in the public realm, establishment of green infrastructure and more.

    While Trees For All does not have 30 per cent implementation target, it does endeavor to plant as much as uptake by the community will facilitate. Lastly, this initiative and program will help bring significant financial investment into Niagara that will help alleviate municipal tax base for tree planting services and needs on the local landscape.

    If I am a successful applicant, what will I be responsible for?

    Essentially nothing. We want to make it as simple as volunteering your land facilitating the access to plant. As we develop this program, all partners will consider methods to reflect landowner commitments to keep plantings on the landscape and protect the financial investments to establish these. 

    • Who sources trees – The NPCA and its partners will be responsible for sourcing trees after engaging with landowners about species needs and preferences.
    • Who plants trees – The NPCA and it partners will largely be responsible for tree planting services, however depending on site conditions and planting methodology needs, landowners who want to participate may be able to assist with tree planting needs.
      • Should there be opportunity to leverage lands for community plantings, public events will be arranged to participate in plantings.