Waste Management’s Blackwell Road, Petrolia and Warwick Landfills in Ontario have all received international recognition for their contribution to wildlife habitat conservation. The awards were presented Tuesday evening at the Wildlife Habitat Council’s (WHC) 16th Annual Symposium, Beyond Borders: Reconciling Wildlife Needs & Human Activity, in Baltimore, Maryland. These three sites are the first landfills in Canada to receive WHC certification.
"Sixteen years ago, WHC was formed as a cooperative effort between corporations, communities and conservation organizations. Since then our shared mission has evolved and provided many advances in creating sustainable wildlife habitat. We congratulate Waste Management on its efforts to help advance our initiatives to restore and enhance our natural resources. It is with this support that we can create a more ecologically sound and mutually beneficial environment for all," said Bill Howard, WHC President.
Waste Management has worked closely with the St. Clair Region Conservation Authority and local citizens’ committees at all three sites to create naturalized environments for wildlife habitat. At the closed Blackwell Road Landfill in Sarnia, the site was turned into a parkland with trees and shrubs planted to create suitable shelter and food for wildlife, and grasses planted to ensure nesting and cover for small animals and birds.
At the Petrolia Landfill, work involved diverting the Little Bear Creek, which ran across the site. The relocation of the creek created an ecosystem for wildlife habitat that is undisturbed by landfill opertions and heavy machinery. Ground cover has also been rehabilitated in a way that mimics the natural setting, and provides nesting and grazing for birds and animals.
At the Warwick site in Watford, a pilot program is underway to treat leachate with 20,000 hybrid poplars planted over four hectares on the landfill cap. Irrigation lines have been installed to move leachate from the landfill to the poplars, which are known for being able to absorb leachate and reduce the amount of treated leachate discharged to the environment. The poplar plantation has created a new ecosystem for insects, birds and mammals. The new forest acts as a wildlife corridor between two existing woodlots on the property.
"We are delighted to have received these very prestigious awards from the Wildlife Habitat Council and want to especially acknowlege the St. Clair Region Conservation Authority for their input, hard work and dedication to these projects," said Reid Cleland, the District Manager of Southwest Landfills for Waste Management.
The Blackwell Road, Petrolia and Warwick Landfill were three of 143 sites recognized at the 2004 Symposium for creating a habitat program. Since 1990, WHC has certified 353 programs worldwide. The certification program recognizes outstanding wildlife habitat management and environmental education efforts at corporate sites, and offers third-party validation of the benefits of such programs. Certification requirements are strict and require that sites apply for periodic renewal.
The Wildlife Habitat Council is a nonprofit, non-lobbying organization dedicated to increasing the quality and amount of wildlife habitat on corporate, private and public lands. WHC devotes its resources to building partnerships with corporations and conservation groups to create solutions that balance the demands of economic growth with the requirements of a healthy, biodiverse and sustainable environment. More than two million acres in 48 states, Puerto Rico and 16 other countries are managed for wildlife through WHC-assisted projects.
For more information, visit WHC online at www.wildlifehc.org
Vanessa Kauffman, Wildlife Habitat Council, 301-588-8994, firstname.lastname@example.org
Reid Cleland, Waste Management of Canada, 519-849-5810