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Stewardship, Restoration and Forestry

A number of forestry services are available to landowners, schools, government agencies, service clubs, and community groups to promote voluntary stewardship of private and public lands in the watershed.

Each year, Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA), landowners and municipalities plant tens of thousands of trees to improve forest conditions within the watershed. 

ABCA also offers multiple other tree services to help you manage and get the most out of an existing woodlot on your property. Trees are sold in the spring and fall to landowners in our watersheds. Thanks go to the landowners who plant tens of thousands of new trees in our watershed each year.

Watch this page and/or our news page for tree order forms each spring and autumn.

If you have questions and to plan your tree planting project, please contact ABCA Forestry and Land Stewardship Specialist Ian Jean or 519-235-2610 ext. 238.

What to plant

Not sure what to plant? Ausable Bayfield Conservation offers a range of species native to our watershed area in different sizes to suit your tree planting needs. 

Visit our What to Plant page:

Staff provide site visits, planting plans, species advice as well as tree planting services, vegetation control, and more for windbreaks, riparian plantings, and fragile land retirement.  

Planting native plant species provides habitat for other species. Download the Native Vegetation Guide for Landowners now:

Forestry Services
Woodlot Marking

Certified ABCA staff members can mark your woodlot for harvesting to properly sustain its commercial, recreational and wildlife habitat value for the future. They will assess timber value, mark individual trees for harvest, and calculate the number of board feet to be sold. They can also assist you in selling the timber by advertising and preparing the timber sales agreement between the seller and the lumber mill.

Managed Forest Tax Incentive Program (MFTIP)

The Province of Ontario provides a 75 per cent reduction in property tax for forest owners who have more than 10 acres of woodlot and don't receive the farm tax reduction on the property. Ausable Bayfield Conservation staff members can assist landowners in compiling and submitting a forest management plan.

The deadline for submission of new plans is June 30. The deadline for renewal of existing plans is July 31 each year.

For more information visit the MFTIP website.

Wetland and Stormwater Enhancement

Wetlands are areas of land that are wet for all, or a portion, of the year. They tend to have soils that drain poorly and support water-loving plants such as Cattails, Sedges, Rushes, Blue Flag Iris, Willows, and Dogwoods. Wetlands filter water. This helps to remove contaminants.

In addition to water quality and water quantity benefits, wetlands capture carbon. They provide habitat for waterfowl, as well as more than 600 species of plants and animals, some of which are species at risk. They are one of the most diverse and productive ecosystems in Ontario.

Stormwater projects absorb and store water during storm or flood events as well as release needed water during drier times. This helps to reduce damage from both flooding and droughts.

Stormwater may cause flooding and erosion on your land. There may be areas to improve filtration (cover crops), or to add pasture strips around woodlot edges; to control the water with berms or rain gardens; or trap and treat with buffer strips or ponds.

Wetland restoration and stormwater enhancement is a community effort that benefits downstream areas of our watershed community. These areas improve water quality and reduce sediment, supporting species-at-risk mussels and fishes and their habitats. They may expand on natural areas and provide cleaner drinking water for people.

Protect and enhance natural areas on your property (woodlots, meadows, streamside vegetation).
Plant native trees, shrubs, plants, filter strips, bioswales.
Note wet areas on your property. Call us for a restoration site visit.

Each individual project is a step towards improving the water quality of our entire watershed.

To find out about stormwater enhancements you can make on your property – and to find out about grants and technical advice – please contact Angela VanNiekerk, or 519-235-2610 ext 259.

Other Resources:

Visit these links for more wetland resources:

Thanks to our funding partners: