The Raisin Region Conservation Authority is adding its voice to the growing chorus of protest against the impending closure of the Ontario Tree Seed Plant near Barrie.
Noting the closure would directly affect the agency’s tree seedling and re-forestry programs, the RRCA will be expressing its concerns through a letter to the province and posting a petition on its social media platforms.
Over 10,000 people have signed an online petition against the closure of the facility. The campaign was launched by a coalition after an August, 2017 announcement by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry that the plant would be shut down in September 2018.
But the stand has so far been futile. The coalition has had limited response to these recommendations and MNRF is proceeding
with its plans to empty out the seed bank beginning in late November. Located in Angus, west of Barrie, since 1923, the OTSP is home to expert processing and storage of billions of tree seed. The OTSP and its public seed bank provide genetically appropriate seed for reforestation on Ontario’s Crown land, and for initiatives such as the 50 Million Tree Program and the Tree Seedling Program. In addition, the OTSP offers an open service available to all Ontarians, from landowners to school groups to growers, to purchase a variety of native species’ seeds at a reasonable cost for any project.
Coalition members have been asking that province to work with the seed coalition and other stakeholders to develop a transition plan to ensure continuation of the critical services provided by the OTSP beyond the September 2018 deadline.
The group is also seeking assurances that “the chain-of-custody for seed in Ontario is not disrupted in the transition process,” that there will be a continuous supply of biologically appropriate seed, so Ontario’s reforestation and afforestation practitioners can react and adapt to a changing climate.