Carolinian Tree Saplings Collected at Closed Rice Road Landfill Site to Protect Biodiversity

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Walker’s Tim MacGillivray and Kayanase Greenhouse Ecologist Dan Werner show us some of the saplings they have pulled to re-plant and grow.

Walker Environmental Group employees were tasked with removing saplings from the constructed Wetland Treatment System (WTS) at the Rice Road Closed Landfill Site. Rather than just pulling and discarding the saplings, Walker Environmental looked for a creative solution where the saplings could be saved and put to good use.

In 2005, Walker Environmental designed, built and currently operates a constructed Wetland Treatment System (WTS) at the closed Rice Road Landfill, which is owned by the City of Thorold. The WTS uses the natural filtering capacity of an engineered wetland to treat storm water impacted by the old landfill before being discharged to the headwaters of Twelve Mile Creek. Wetland vegetation supports the treatment process. However, over the last 10 years, several tree saplings have taken root and required removal to prevent damage to the system. Many of the saplings were Carolinian Forest species such as Tulip, Black Walnut and Red Oak.
As part of Walker Environmental’s effort to engage, consult and learn about Indigenous peoples and cultures in Canada, Walker’s Darren Fry learned of the Kayanase Greenhouse in Six Nations Grand River Territory that specializes in conserving regionally genetic trees and plants.

The two groups connected and on December 14, 2015, approximately 100 saplings of Carolinian tree species were collected from the WTS. Kayanase will replant and grow the trees. Upon maturity, their seeds will be collected and stored in their regionally genetic seed bank. Although a small project, this opportunity provided a big example of the benefits of working with indigenous businesses.

“Kayanase’s goal is to restore Mother Earth through wildlife enhancement and ecological restoration projects. So when we were contacted by Walker Environmental to help remove and save tree saplings from the constructed Wetland Treatment System at Rice Road we were more than happy to assist. Not only will we give these trees a new home to grow and thrive but we will allow them to be enjoyed by generations to come. We were happy to work with the staff of Walker Environmental and look forward to building on our new relationship” said Kayanase Greenhouse Ecologist Dan Werner.

Trees greatly improve the quality of our lives. They create an ecosystem to provide habitat and food for birds and other animals. They absorb carbon dioxide and other potentially harmful gasses from the air and release oxygen. One large tree can supply a day’s worth of oxygen for four people.

“Establishing this relationship gave us an opportunity to protect regionally native species and promote biodiversity; while working directly with an Aboriginal business. It also allowed us to further enhance an already innovative project where Mother Nature is providing a low cost, natural and effective means of water treatment in the WTS” said Walker Environmental’s Tim MacGillivray, “We’ll be looking for opportunities to work with Kayanase again.”

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