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    Lanark County Stewardship Council

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    Council Priorities

    From its inception in 1995 until 2013, the Lanark County Stewardship Council had a full time coordinator and $10 thousand dollars in seed money from the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (OMNR) to carry out stewardship activities in Lanark County. It was a very successful program and the LCSC has a very long list of achievements. That all changed in 2013. The OMNR withdrew its funding from the stewardship program. We lost our coordinator and the $10 thousand that was used to lever additional funds through strategic partnerships.

    This was a major setback for the council, but we are determined to carry on. We feel there is still a very important role for environmental stewardship in Lanark County. The council cannot carry on as we have in the past, however we can continue to do good work in the county. We just have to be more strategic and carefully establish our priorities to ensure we not only do the right projects, we do them well. The success of the council has been the quality of its volunteers and its ability to work effectively with partners. That is the way we will continue to operate.

    We have reciently developed a strategic plan in which, one of the council's priorities is to develop strategies to increase its capacity. Read more about our strategic plan here.

    Nature in Deed

    The Nature in Deed website is a one stop information portal that was designed to assist new rural property owners. If a new property owner has a question or would like more information about managing their property or dealing with a problem, http://www.natureindeed.com/ is an excellent place to start to find the answer. The website will either provide an answer directly or will refer the property owner to other sources to get the answer. Although initially designed for new property owners, the website is also very useful for anyone who owns a rural property.

    In 2015, the LCSC is refreshing the links and updating the website. The council wants to continue to add new content to the website.

    Bio Blitz

    In the past the LCSC has organized and participated in several bio blitzes. A bio blitz is when a group of people with knowledge and expertise in plant and animal identification focus on a specific location for a day or weekend to record as many species as possible. The information collected contributes to our understanding of the biodiversity of Lanark County. The information can also be very helpful in land use planning and forest management. Bio blitzes have been conducted in Lanark Community Forest. In 2010 the LCSC in partnership with Centre for Sustainable Watersheds developed a standardized protocol for conducting BioBlitzes. The LCSC is planning to conduct a bio blitz in 2014.

    Fish Habitat Improvement

    Fish and wildlife are very important to the residents of Lanark County. Fishing is a very popular activity. It generates revenue that provides benefits to many businesses in the county. Many of Lanark County's residents enjoy fishing, both as a fun outdoor activity and for the great taste of freshly caught fish. Fish seem to taste better when we catch them ourselves. The LCSC has worked with partners in the past to improve fish habitat in the waters of Lanark County. In 2014, the LCSC plans to partner with the Centre for Sustainable Watersheds, the Lanark Fish and Game Club and the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters to improve spawning habitat for walleye in the Mississippi River near Dalhousie Lake.

    Species at Risk

    Lanark County is home to a number of Ontario's rare species. Species at risk are a very important component of the biodiversity of Lanark County. The endangered American Eel is a species the LCSC would like to focus on in 2014. The American eel is native to the Mississippi River. Eels were an important food source for native peoples and the large migrations of eels also provided a valuable source of protein to early settlers. Today the American eel is almost gone from the Mississippi River. Unfortunately, most people living within the Mississippi River watershed know very little about this species. Few have seen a live eel and many people are not aware they exist in the Mississippi River. The LGCS would like to undertake an outreach program to increase the awareness of American eels and to encourage support for their recovery. The council has partnered with the Centre for Sustainable Watersheds and has submitted an application for funding under Ontario's Species at Risk Stewardship Fund.

    Eastern Ontario Stewardship Zone Meeting

    Prior to 2013 there were 46 stewardship councils in Ontario, one in each county or regional municipality in the south and several spread across the north in areas with an abundance of private land. After OMNR's withdrawal from the Ontario Stewardship program, councils were left to decide for themselves if they would continue. Some decided not to continue, fortunately all of the stewardship councils in eastern Ontario, from the Belleville and Bancroft areas, east to the Quebec border have made the decision to carry on. There is still a need for private land stewardship. Representatives from each of these councils have met several times since 2013 to share experiences, offer advice and encouragement and to explore opportunities to work together. Once a year the councils of eastern Ontario meet for a full day conference of discussion and guest speakers. In 2014, LCSC will host this conference in Perth.

    Partnerships

    There are two key reasons why the LCSC has been successful. One reason is the dedicated and knowledgeable volunteers that make up the stewardship council. They embody a diversity of affiliations and expertise that are crucial to the stewardship efforts in Lanark County. The second reason for the council's success are partnerships. The council seldom takes on initiatives on its own. Over the years the council has had many successful partnerships. If you belong to an organization and if you have an idea for a partnership, please contact us. We are not certain we will have the capability to take on another project, but we will certainly listen.

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