Property zoned significant conservation land

Discussion in 'HortForum' started by hortfreak, Feb 24, 2007.

  1. hortfreak

    hortfreak Active Member Maple Society

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    For those not following a conversation in another forum, this is in reply to an off topic question regarding the zoning of my property.

    Violetbaby, I trust you have found this. No, it is not aggrevating to have property zoned as such. In fact, that was one of the reasons for purchasing it. This is one way I can help preserve natural areas. I have total control over what happens here, or perhaps I should say what isn't going to happen here. The zoning is at the behest of the conservation authorities of the province of Ontario, but I believe there also is some input from the federal govenment. Such zoning is not changeable. This is particularly true in my case as the wetland is part of a large watershed area. There are restrictions, of course, on what one can do on that portion of the property.

    I have a heavily wooded property, much of which is in the water. Violetbaby, your comment about Louisiana made me chuckle as I have many times looked out my windows and thought about the bayous. In many respects, it is very reminiscent of them---just missing the Spanish moss. Carex and ferns are predominant, some baneberry (Actaea), trilliums and Erythronium on the edges and elsewhere. I am not sure if there are slipper orchids. I have been told there are, but I have not seen or found them myself. I must buy a canoe so that I can have a better idea of what is there.

    The trees are very much in need of culling. I hope that some time soon, I will get around to that. This is permitted, and in fact, for a reasonable price, the conservation authority will come around and mark the trees that need to be culled. This will entail rather a lot of money to remove them as these are very large, very old trees. The work will probably get done in stages. Right now, I am trying to have gardens---not easy when there is little soil, just lots of limestone. I thought this was going to be easy. Obviously, I was kidding myself. After moving here, I found the prospect of all the work rather daunting. I am now thinking in "a block" at a time. It is much easier to cope with. I am getting much better at relaxing and realizing that everything does not have to be done this instant.
     
  2. hortfreak

    hortfreak Active Member Maple Society

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    Part of my work ahead is the rather onerous task of trying to rid the open part of the property of Queen Anne's lace. I am trying to get rid of all the non-native things that have popped up since the construction of my house. Unfortunately, the builder, in spite of promises, damaged a very large part of the property. In fairness, it was the heavy equipment operator that did the damage. Consequently, a lot of non-native species have moved in. I suppose that is to be expected, but I was hoping the extent would be minimal. This is most unfortunate as there was not one sign of anything prior to construction. There are many really nice native plants here, some rather rare, and I wish to protect them and allow them to flourish if possible. If anyone has a clever way to deal with this, please let me know. Trying to cut the flowering heads off before going to seed has proven to be absolutely impossible---we are talking about 1 1/2 acres involved and the Queen Anne's lace is rampant.
     
  3. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    How's the purple loosestrife?
     
  4. hortfreak

    hortfreak Active Member Maple Society

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    Honestly, I haven't seen any purple loosestrife in Prince Edward County. Certainly there is none on my property or anywhere around me. It doesn't seem to be too big a problem in Ontario, at least not talked about. A much bigger concern for us is dog-strangling vine, which by all accounts has arrived here in the County and in wetland areas. I guess this just goes to show you that we will continue to move from the management of one problem to another.

    Another concern we have is the massive dying of trees that has been occurring over the last 2-3 years. No one seems to know why. My suspicion is the cement plant's emissions combined with environmental stress of the last few years are the causes. It does not appear to be insects or disease, just dying off. Arborists are just shrugging their shoulders. You won't hear anyone publicly say anything negative about the plant as it is by far the largest employer in an area of very high unemployment and under-employment. Although the plant has been here for many, many years, the "old-timers" say that it is now emitting something that they have never smelled before. Fortunately, prevailing winds are in the opposite direction from my property, but I think we all still pay the price for the discharge.
     
  5. kia796

    kia796 Active Member

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    I find it strange that "culling" would be allowed (indeed encouraged) on land zoned in this fashion.

    Does not the concept of "significant conservation land" include those very renewal processes, i.e. dying trees, which eventually fall into the water and decay, providing food for the myriad organisms that depend on it?

    Just curious...
     
  6. smivies

    smivies Active Member

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    Culling is a fine process for a 'production' oriented woodlot, not for an ecologically senstitive area. The benefit gained from old trees & snags is significant both from a nutrient return to the soil as well as habitat for insects, amphibians, and cavity nesting species (woodpeckers, squirrels, bats, etc).

    Thinning in a wild area can be done to young forests (or succensional forest) to accelarate a return to a mature climax forest with trees of diverse age and appropriate spacing. Any forest will get there eventually but helping it along can be done. In this case, thinning of trees in the dominate age group would give the desired effect, while leaving the older and younger trees alone. This method is frequently done (or should be done) in planted pine lots as the trees get larger.

    Can't comment directly on the loss of trees in the "County" but hotter summers & drought are having their effect on the fast growing, moisture loving trees growing on the shallow limestone soils in the Kingston area. It's the same natural process that allowed the slower growing oaks & hickories to dominate on the local dry shallow soils in historic times. I've seen over the last few years, many elm & maple less than 30 years old, die on these shallow soils while the oak & hickory are unaffected. Conisder too, changes in water table elevation caused by both the cement plant quarry, drought, or other causes.

    Simon
     
  7. violetbaby123

    violetbaby123 Member

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    Hortfreak,
    It took me a while, but I found the thread.
    Thanks for the info, your property sounds awesome!! I know your are frustrated with the QAL, but I trust it will get in control in time. How many acres do you have all together? How long have you owned the property?
    It would be intresting to know if the cement plant is discharging any waste water or chemical that is getting into your water and contaminating your trees. Just a thought.
    Sorry the construction people messed some up.
    Hope you can get help with the "culling" process.
    Thanks again for the info.
     
  8. hortfreak

    hortfreak Active Member Maple Society

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    Violetbaby, I apologize for not letting you know where I was going with this thread. Also, sorry it has taken a while to get back to you.

    I have just under 4 acres, approximately 2/3 of which is covered under the "significant conservation area" designation. It is zoned as such because it is part of the watershed to a small lake a short distance away. Only that part of the property has extra restrictions on it. I built here about 3 1/2 years ago.

    In response to comments about culling the trees, normally I would agree with the objections. However, this is a very, very serious situation. Even the oaks are being affected by whatever is going on. I only have a few oaks left and those are not in very good condtion. Also, the bulk of my trees (mostly maples) are in water or in very damp spots. To leave things as they are would mean that we would have no trees in this area. If all the trees die off, the very shallow water would probably disappear rather quickly without the shading from those trees. Can this be good? After long and careful thought, I agree with the conservation authorities that selective culling is prudent. By so doing, the trees that remain will be healthier and have a better chance at survival. The trees are so thick they cannot even fall down to the ground. This also creates a rather dangerous situation. If proper attention is paid to such matters as ensuring the number of snags is appropriate, then I must argue that this is not a bad thing. The trees are marked for removal and then it is up to me to decide if I wish to remove them or not. Trees that are being used for nesting or as a home obviously would not be candidates for removal.

    The cement plant's discharging would not affect my water, or at least, I don't believe it would. Their discharge, if they are doing that, would be into Picton Harbour, which eventually makes its way to Lake Ontario. We believe that it is something that is being discharged into the air. We can smell it.

    I try not to be angry about the trees that were lost unnecessarily during construction. But the attitude makes me angry even today. The man driving the bulldozer made the comment to me that I had plenty of trees, why was I getting upset over a loss of a few (which was actually somewhere around 25 mature oaks and several maples and one elm). Unfortunately, the "locals" are so used to seeing trees that they have no real appreciation for them or what they represent.

    Simon, I wish I had hickories. Not a one. I am trying to grow some from seed.
     
  9. kia796

    kia796 Active Member

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    hortfreak, are trees on downwind adjacent properties also dying?

    I don't want to scare you, but have a look at this:
    http://www.commondreams.org/headlines06/1213-06.htm

    Based on what you suspect is happening...added to the bulldozer operator's naivete, I don't blame you for being mad. To lose 25 mature oaks, several maples and an elm is inexcusable...did you have any photos of the land before they started work? You might be able to pursue the issue if you had a photo record.

    Best of luck to you.
     
  10. hortfreak

    hortfreak Active Member Maple Society

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    Thanks, kia796, for the link. My brother is retired from the EPA (Clean Air), so I have had many long discussions with him about the trees dying off. This is an issue that everyone should be aware of. We simply cannot keep turning a blind eye to these situations just because of economics. Too many corporations and industries have gotten away with far too much, often without any real justification.

    The trees throughout the county are affected, and indeed throughout much of southern Ontario. Note smivies post. Kingston is roughly an hour drive away from me. All one has to do is drive the 401 to see the seriousness of the situation, albeit not as serious as Prince Edward County.

    Unfortunately I have no legal recourse for the downing of my trees. The builder promised the trees would not be touched, but he wasn't there when it happened. The contract was too vague. Apparently to say that "no unnecessary trees shall be felled" is not sufficient protection against this. Another sore point with me. The cards are very much in the builder's hands. So much for legal consultation to ensure that things like this don't happen.
     
  11. kia796

    kia796 Active Member

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    It's good your brother has all that experience on which you can draw.
    Both in the US and Canada, I fear "economics" will not soon fall from "top spot". I agree it appears to be getting worse, rather than better. Government pays only lip service to grassroots environmental issues. Just look at all the lobbyists (to me...the sleeziest "profession" on the planet).

    Remember about 15 years ago...the Multinational Agreement on Investment? Well, corporations won and it can never be turned back...the MAI even takes precedence over government or regional laws. But I won't get on my soapbox here.

    On the positive side (if there is a dim light at tunnel's end), you can start replanting with trees of your choice for a nice vista from your residence and patio.
    I apologize that I misunderstood your initial thread intent...best regards in your efforts.
     
  12. hortfreak

    hortfreak Active Member Maple Society

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    Please don't apologize. The initial post was in response to a question from a poster in another forum. I decided that DM would be happier if I answered here. I agree with you about govenments---they seem to be totally ineffectual in fighting the big companies (Monsanto, etc.) in any way. Governments truly are run by big corporations. But back to your most unnecessary apology, the fun of these forums is that you never know where you are going to end up with a thread. I enjoy the divergence.

    I am currently trying (although this is very difficult where I live) to obtain native trees and shrubs. Many of these will be seed raised by me. I would like to have my property as close to being native as possible, or at least to have plants that are reasonably close to being native. It is very difficult to find any reliable information on what exactly is native to my particular little corner of the world. The hardest part in all of this is trying to rid the property of the inevitable non-natives that show up in disturbed land.

    I apologize for perhaps misleading everyone with my use of "culling". I realized last night that some might think that "healthy" trees were to be culled. That is not the case---only dead and dying and perhaps the odd removal of a tree that isn't really healthy for thinning purposes.
     
  13. kia796

    kia796 Active Member

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    Thank you, hortfreak, for that. Agree with you entirely (re Monsanto et al), but my point is that governments don't even try to fight them, a direct result of MAI. But that discussion would be more than a thread, it'd be a rope...

    You've likely seen this site on your native trees: http://www.adm.uwaterloo.ca/infowast/watgreen/nativetrees.html

    Finding seed sources would be another matter entirely.
     
  14. hortfreak

    hortfreak Active Member Maple Society

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    I know what trees grow generally in Ontario. I want information for my little local area. I suppose generalized is okay, but I really would like to know what grew here naturally. Ontario seems to vary greatly one area from another. Thanks for the link. I had forgotten about that one. Seeds are not too much of a problem---certainly easier than finding out what is specific to this area. Mind you, by the time the trees are big enough to see, I will be long gone. However, at least I will go with the knowledge that maybe, just maybe, I made a little bit of difference. One can only try.
     
  15. kia796

    kia796 Active Member

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    Would the local museum or historical society have photos of the surrounding area that might give you the clues you're looking for?

    I bet there's an old farmer somewhere who'd love to reminisce about the trees he climbed on as a boy.

    Know what you mean about lifespan versus trees...my passion is evergreens (fortunately they grow fairly quickly once I get them through their stunted five or six years on my place). A real leap...I planted a Quercus rubra (I think it's still laughing!)

    Good for you. Keep trying.
     
  16. hortfreak

    hortfreak Active Member Maple Society

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    I know so many things are difficult to get to germinate. My passion is getting those things to germinate. Such joy when you finally do. Generally, for some peculiar reason, I seem to have better luck germinating things that are supposedly difficult than those that are supposedly easy. Same with growing plants---no problem with the "impossible" to grow but forget pelargoniums, etc.

    The farmers are great to ask as long as it is used for firewood. Other than that they couldn't care less. They also have some very peculiar names for things (local jargon) that makes it difficult to identify unless they can point at something. I have talked to local "experts" and have been told things that are clearly not native at all. It seems that some people consider anything that grows in quantity as native (example Norway maple). When I try to pin people down to this specific area, all I get is a shrug and the question "isn't native to southeastern Ontario good enough". It might have to be, but I really want to know. Maybe in time, as I get to know more people, I will find a local who has an interest in this.

    I really appreciate your thoughts. Thanks.
     
  17. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    There might not be any locals but I bet there's some people from The NatureList (an eastern-Ontario focus natural history email list) who know your area quite well. I think the admin of the list is associated with the Bishop Mills Natural History Centre (or if not, the folks from Bishop Mills are active participants).
     
  18. hortfreak

    hortfreak Active Member Maple Society

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    Daniel, I can never thank you enough. Exactly what I have been looking for. Isn't it sad that none of the so-called experts mentioned either. At least I now feel like I am headed in the right direction.

    Thanks again.
     
  19. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Not a problem. I follow that email list because my uncle contributes from time to time.
     

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