ERCA Kicks of Tree Planting Season in Windsor-Essex

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The Essex Region Conservation Authority's tree planting season is underway.

Director of Conservation Services Kevin Money says more than 10,000 of a planned 125,000 trees have been planted in Windsor-Essex so far.

The program was put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. He tells The Afternoon News the authority had plenty of time to ensure planting could resume this year.

"We've got all the PPE and protocols in place," he says. "We fall within an outdoor service where we're eligible to work under the current provincial order."

Money says natural areas have around 8.5 per cent tree coverage in Essex County, but urban areas need a little more green.

"There's probably around five per cent actual forest cover in our region," he says. "It used to be lower at probably around 3.5 per cent and it's higher now in part because of our efforts to plant trees over the last 30 to 40 years."

He says much of the planting will be on public land or land purchased by ERCA to restore natural habitats.

Planting on private land like farms is also popular.

"We work with them to get it all squared away through the technical aspect and then we follow up and plant the trees for them," says Money. "They pay a portion and we usually have grants that cover the other portion; the bulk of it actually."

Money says ERCA has already planned its spring planting.

He encourages private landowners to reach out over the summer if they want to be apart of the next planting drive.