Partnership delivers boost to City’s urban tree canopy

Posted on Saturday October 02, 2021

Cherie Road planting

There is some new greenery at Cherie Road Park thanks to a team effort between the City of St. Catharines; Friends of Walker’s Creek; Friends of Malcolmson Eco-Park and the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority.

On Saturday, Oct. 2, community volunteers from both the Friend’s of Walkers Creek and Friends of Malcolmson Eco-Park gathered at the City park to plant approximately 550 trees and shrubs native to the Carolinian Zone. The new greenery come courtesy of the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA) through a TD Friends of the Environment Foundation grant.

“Currently, Niagara’s landscape achieves only 56 per cent of the minimum ecological thresholds required for a healthy and viable watershed, increases to the urban canopy through plantings like today are critical to improve that landscape and in turn support the watershed,” said Eric Lamothe, Community, Recreation and Culture Services manager of business planning and strategic services. “It’s great to see this work taking place with the City providing the space for the NPCA’s restoration initiatives and the efforts of such dedicated community volunteers.”

In its 2011 Urban Forest Management Plan the City committed to increasing its tree canopy cover from 17 per cent to 30 per cent, underscoring the importance of plantings and other efforts such as the annual tree giveaway. A healthy urban canopy delivers benefits including reduced storm water runoff and capturing greenhouse gasses that contribute to climate change. Environmental stewardship is a key pillar of City strategic planning with a focus on responsible community planning and decision-making that balances growth, enhances quality of life, manages emergencies, and minimizes the environmental impacts of climate change.

“Tree plantings like this do more than beautify our parks and public spaces. The urban canopy provides critical ecological supports for the local watersheds that sustain agriculture and the natural environment that we all rely on,” said Della Trojan of the Friends of Walker’s Creek.

"We are happy to work with our valued partners to achieve a shared goal of increasing canopy cover in the Walker's Creek watershed," said Steve Gillis, Restoration Specialist, NPCA.

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