Land Stewardship in the Thousand Islands Region
Many landowners take special pride in how they care for their corner of the Thousand Islands. It is this care, or "land stewardship", which continues to make the Thousand Islands an ecologically diverse, historically interesting and attractive area for residents and visitors alike.
WHAT CAN LANDOWNERS DO?
There is much that you can do to enhance your natural and cultural heritage, foster land stewardship and enhance your land's value.
Protecting and creating habitat for wildlife such as songbirds, butterflies and frogs is an important contribution. Try:
- Plantings for feeding wildlife
- Keeping nest trees and other cover
- Creating a native wildflower meadow
- Maintaining a wetland
- Reducing wildlife disturbances by pets and during nesting season
Beyond producing wood products, woodlot management helps conservation through:
- selective thinning and gap creation
- promoting older growth
- retaining standing dead trees and fallen logs
- using local genetic stock when replanting
On the farm, as elsewhere, protecting the shoreline and managing chemicals and waste responsibly are important. Vegetated buffers can be maintained for shorelines, while fencing or watering devices can help keep cattle out of the stream. This decreases erosion and contamination concerns. Proper storage facilities and buffer vegetation can also reduce waste and chemical runoff. Windbreaks, planting patterns, tillage, and soil and water management can further enhance both farm productivity and the environment.
Appropriate landscaping around your home can accomplish many cost savings while protecting the environment. Planting a shady tree can reduce cooling needs, while a windbreak can reduce winter's winds and heavy snows. Natural ground cover can replace grass in some areas, and shrubs, tall grasses or wildflowers can act as a green buffer to protect streams and shorelines from runoff. Native plants are preferred because wildlife are adapted to them, they tend not to spread out of control, and they add to the natural diversity of the region.
Alternatives to household cleaners, garden chemicals and pesticides do exist - try baking soda and vinegar, and make compost! For boaters, keep fuel, oil and solvents out of the water and prevent wake damage to shorelines. ATV, bike and snowmobile users can do their part by reducing noise, staying on the trail, and avoiding wetlands and refuges such as winter deer yards, and nesting areas.
Well designed development maintains a healthy environment and economy. Careful planning of the site location and. building design can do much to retain natural features, increase value and efficiency, and reduce operating costs. There are alternative and lower impact approaches to providing water and sewage systems, while docks and trails need to be sensitively designed. Environmental planning and building regulations help direct developers' and landowners' plans towards these goals.
Many of these ideas are described more fully in the Land Trust's "Stewardship in the Thousand Islands" guide, available for $10. Check out the sample pages on this Web site and order the book on the Contacts page. To learn more, please contact TIWLT. We can also put you in touch with other conservation agencies and advisors.