Maitland Conservation reduces carbon footprint

·3 min read

WROXETER – Maitland Conservation (MC) has reduced its carbon footprint by 19.52 carbon dioxide (CO2) tonnes since 2016.

In 2016, the total tonnes was 52.22 and has decreased yearly since then.

In 2017, MC saw a 2.61 decrease to 49.61, 2018 went down 3.19 to 46.42, 2019 saw a 4.79 decline on Co2 tonnes, down to 41.64.

The 2020 decrease was significant, 8.94 CO2 tonnes down, with MC using only 32.70 tonnes.

This is mainly due to operational restrictions in place from the COVID-19 pandemic. Significant factors are listed below:

· reduced vehicle use from staff working from home and limited in-person meetings;

· decreased propane usage due to no shower restrictions in place at Falls Reserve Conservation Area;

· a slight increase was noted in electricity usage due to the increase in campers at Falls Reserve Conservation Area;

MC completed several Carbon Footprint Reduction and Sequestration Initiatives in 2020:

· planted 348 tree seedlings at Saratoga Swamp Tract;

· planted 60 large stock trees at Falls Reserve Conservation Area;

· naturalized 13,500 square feet of turfgrass at the administration centre by planting 295 shrubs;

· promoted driving electric vehicles and the most fuel-efficient vehicle for the task required;

· purchased fuel-efficient compact car. An all-electric vehicle was not purchased due to several factors of cost, insufficient electrical service for the additional charger in the shed, and the need to have a vehicle for flooding events if power was out for an extended period (generator does not supply charging stations);

· purchased fuel-efficient V6 truck at Falls Reserve Conservation Area. No electric trucks were available in 2020;

· replaced walkway lighting and 12 interior office lights to LED; and

· completed forest management at Galbraith Conservation Area using a registered professional forester’s prescription.

MC updated its board members on the 2021 carbon reduction and sequestration strategy.

They aim to reduce fossil fuel use by converting to electric vehicles and equipment when suitable technology is available at an affordable price. Fuel-efficient vehicles/equipment will be considered if appropriate electric options are not reasonable or available at the time of replacement.

The initiative includes purchasing a fuel-efficient truck to replace the 2013 Toyota Tacoma, encouraging employees to use the most efficient vehicle for the task required, and replacing lights with LED when replacement is needed.

MC is working to ensure good forestry management practices are undertaken in their existing woodlands.

The 2021 Carbon Sequestration Strategy and Initiatives include reforesting or naturalizing marginal farmland and other areas within conservation areas to sequester carbon and restore biodiversity.

The initiatives for 2021 are as follows:

· identify where natural vegetation can be planted in our conservation areas;

· plant 220 tree seedlings at Saratoga Swamp Tract to continue the naturalization of marginal farmland;

· plant 165 large stock trees at several Conservation areas, including Galbraith, Turnberry Floodplain, Saratoga Swamp Tract, and George Taylor Conservation Area; and

· complete forest harvesting at Wawanosh Valley Conservation Area following a registered professional forester’s prescription.

Cory Bilyea, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wingham Advance Times