For the past 12 years, the Pine River Watershed Initiative Network (PRWIN) has hosted 4H Conservation Clubs from around the area for their annual tree planting day. Typically, 4H members and volunteers gather together the first Saturday in May to plant close to 5,000 seedlings on a 3-5 acre parcel located on the watershed.
“At the Pine River Watershed Initiative Network, one of our major focuses is planting more trees in our watershed,” said Don Farrell, long-time board member for PRIWN. “We had to make the difficult decision to postpone our event this year given physical distancing to keep our community safe but we are grateful we were still able to plant over 6,000 seedlings in the watershed with machine planting.”
In the Pine River Watershed, less than 10 per cent of the land is forested, well below the recommended minimum of 30 per cent set by Environment Canada for the support of a healthy wildlife habitat. “Through the cooperation of local landowners and the continued support of our sponsors, including the NWMO, we have been returning pieces of our landscape to forest,” added Farrell. “Since 2000, we have planted over 300,000 trees in the watershed.”
The Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) has been a proud sponsor of this event for the past couple years. “We’re happy to support PRWIN’s vision of clean water and a healthy ecosystem within the Pine River watershed” said Paul Austin, Relationship Manager at the NWMO. “Their great work will create a healthier environment by improving both the local habitat and the water quality in Lake Huron.”
A key requirement of the NWMO’s Adaptive Phased Management program – Canada’s approach for the safe, long-term management of used nuclear fuel – is to protect people and the environment.