JD High Speed Planter

JD High Speed Planter

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Butternut Trees on your Ontario farm? Be aware of the Endangered Species Act, 2007

The following is a notice posted yesterday on the Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR) Registry in Ontario in connection with the proposed removal of ONE butternut tree:

Title:
Permit under clause 17(2) (c) of the Endangered Species Act, 2007 for Removal of one Butternut tree by Hydro One
 
Members of the public are invited to submit their written comments by June 21, 2010 to the contact person listed in this notice.

Rationale for Exemption to Public Comment:
 
This proposal is not prescribed by Ontario Regulation 73/94 under the Environmental Bill of Rights as a classified proposal for an instrument.

Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) is voluntarily posting this notice to advise the public of the proposal and to invite the public to submit written comments on this proposal to the contact person identified in this notice.

Description:

Hydro One (applicant) has applied for a permit for the removal of one Butternut tree (Juglans cinerea) for the purpose of clearing and maintaining a transmission corridor beneath a transmission line located in Ottawa, Ontario.

Butternut is listed on the Species at Risk in Ontario List, in Ontario Regulation 230/08 under the Endangered Species Act, 2007 (ESA), as an endangered species. Clause 9 (1)(a) of the ESA, provides that no person shall kill, harm, harass, capture or take a living member of a species that is listed on the Species at Risk in Ontario List as an extirpated, endangered or threatened species.

The health of the Butternut tree at this site has been assessed by a qualified Butternut Health Assessor and was determined not to be severely affected by Butternut Canker and therefore retainable. The identification of retainable trees is based on an assessment of crown dieback and the coverage of the stem and root flare by cankers conducted by a qualified Butternut Health Assessor. Retainable trees do not qualify for the exemption in section 5 of Ontario Regulation 242/08 under the ESA and can not be removed without an authorization. The retainable Butternut tree within this project area would be removed.

The Minister may issue a permit to an applicant under clause 17(2)(c) of the ESA that authorizes the person to engage in an activity that would otherwise be prohibited by section 9 or 10 of the ESA if the Minister is of the opinion that the main purpose of the activity authorized by the permit is not to assist in the protection or recovery of the species specified in the permit, but,

(i) the Minister is of the opinion that an overall benefit to the species will be achieved within a reasonable time through requirements imposed by conditions of the permit,

(ii) the Minister is of the opinion that reasonable alternatives have been considered, including alternatives that would not adversely affect the species, and the best alternative has been adopted, and

(iii) the Minister is of the opinion that reasonable steps to minimize adverse effects on individual members of the species are required by conditions of the permit;
The options of leaving the tree in its current location and avoiding or transplanting it have been examined. The location of the Butternut tree would cause it to come in contact with overhead hydro-electric lines and potentially cause a future safety risk. Transplanting the tree has been considered as an option, but the tree is too large to be transplanted successfully.

An overall benefit could be achieved for Butternut by planting and tending replacement trees. Based on the size of the Butternut tree threatened with removal (i.e. diameter at breast height), the Forest Gene Conservation Association guidelines recommend that the applicant plant 5 seedlings from a local seed source in suitable sites. The ratio of five seedlings planted per tree removed is intended to provide an overall increase to the seed production capacity of the species. Establishing and tending to these seedlings in a protected area will result in a net increase in the local reproductive potential for the species.

To achieve overall benefit for Butternut, the applicant is proposing to plant a total of five new Butternut seedlings in Coronation Park, owned by the City of Ottawa. Hydro One would plant, tend and monitor the seedlings for a period of five years from the time of planting. Under the supervision of a qualified professional biologist or forester, the five Butternut trees would be planted in locations suitable to support Butternut. Tending and monitoring of the Butternut seedlings on site would take place over a five year period to ensure that at least half of the planted trees will be alive (e.g., a minimum of three Butternut trees at the end of five years). These newly planted Butternut trees will receive protection under the ESA.

Purpose of the Notice:

The purpose of this notice is to ensure that the public is made aware of, and given an opportunity to comment on, the proposal, including the proposed conditions and outcomes of the permit for which the Hydro One is applying in order to remove one Butternut tree. The proposed permit would be issued under clause 17(2)(c) of the ESA.

Decision:

This notice will be updated when more information is available.

Other Information:

Please email comments to Esa.permits.agreements@ontario.ca and quote the registry number in the subject line.

The following web-links provide additional information about this notice:

Endangered Species Act, 2007 (Section 9 and 17 are sections of the Endangered Species Act that are referred to in this posting)

Butternut Tree Regulation  Section 5 of general regulation 242/08 addresses the exemptions pertaining to Butternut