By Terry Tinkess
AgriNews Staff Writer

ONTARIO – Funding provided by multiple levels of government is allowing South Nation Conservation (SNC) to help private landowners to recover from last year’s derecho storm damage.

A derecho is defined as a widespread, long-lived windstorm. Derechos are associated with bands of rapidly moving showers or thunderstorms. Although a derecho can produce destruction like that of a tornado, the damage typically occurs in one direction along a relatively straight path.

On May 21, 2022, a narrow line of destructive winds up to 195 km/hr, caused extensive damage to forested areas in Eastern Ontario, stretching from the City of Ottawa eastward through the municipalities of Clarence-Rockland, Alfred-Plantagenet, Champlain, and East Hawkesbury.

In the aftermath of the derecho storm, over 300 landowners contacted SNC for assistance.

With funding provided by the City of Ottawa, the United Counties of Prescott and Russell and the federal government, The Eastern Ontario Derecho Storm Reforestation Program, as part of the Two Billion Tree Program, will allow SNC to provide support to woodlot owners. This will help them recover from the devastating natural disaster that destroyed thousands of acres of woodlots and livelihoods for many owners and businesses.

The program is aimed at restoring damaged woodlots to prepare properties for tree planting. Subsidized funding will support clean up, site preparation, and tree planting and tending costs. Reforestation program objectives also include increased carbon sequestration and forest resiliency through biodiversity.

Due to the volume of work involved and availability of both contractors and nursery stock, the project has been established for a duration of five-years (2023-2027). Future costs or maintenance beyond the project duration will be the responsibility of the landowner.

Eligible landowners can expect a free site visit from one of SNC’s bilingual foresters and forestry technicians to determine their site-specific objectives, the preparation of a silvicultural prescription by a qualified forestry professional, a tree planting plan, survival assessments, and possible tending, all based on the site-specific evaluation. SNC, on behalf of landowners, will administer all work to complete forest restoration.

For landowners who have already taken steps to recover their damaged woodlots, retroactive compensation is also available for certain activities. Landowners are reminded to keep pictures, transaction records and receipts so that retroactive compensation for work already completed can be considered. 

“This is good news,” said Pat Piitz, SNC’s property and forestry lead. “Landowners directly affected by the derecho storm will now have some assistance recovering their woodlots and getting new trees in the ground.

“The project will enhance carbon-storing potential of these forest areas while enhancing biodiversity and resiliency to climate change,” added Piitz.

To learn more or to apply, visit