Little River Enhancement Group

30th Anniversary: 16 February, 1991 to 16 February, 2021

Written by Ian Naisbitt

After a 20-month Covid delay, we managed to celebrate our 30th Anniversary on Tuesday, 25 October, 2022 at Weston Park in the Town of Tecumseh. Mother Nature served up the perfect day for planting trees. The weather included: a mix of sun and cloud with a bright blue background. There was a moderate zephyr wafting from the south at 20 km/ h and a high of 21 Celsius. The UV index was 4 or moderate.

First off, we need to give a “Tip of the Cap” to Casey Colthurst, Parks Manager/ Town of Tecumseh and Tania Jobin, Ward 5 Tecumseh Councillor for their support in making this project move forward after such a long delay. As well, a big thank you to the Tecumseh Parks Crew for auguring the holes, delivering the large stock trees to the holes, shovelling and raking the soil/ clay mix back into the hole and around the base of the 21 trees. When added to the 9 trees already planted by the Town, it equals 30 trees for 30 years! Mulch will be applied at a later date and a water scheduling program will be started. Watering is very important at this time since the ground was dreadfully dry. The clay soil was crumbly and powdery, which made for easier planting but presents a challenge for the tree roots to establish themselves.

Our small group of volunteers planted a Kentucky Coffee Tree beside the Weston Park fence along North Talbot Road. That way whenever we visit the park we will know exactly which tree we planted.

Kentucky Coffee Trees are a Species at Risk in the Province of Ontario. Their status: “The Kentucky coffee-tree was already assessed as threatened when the Endangered Species Act took effect in 2008.“Threatened” means the species lives in the wild in Ontario, is not endangered, but is likely to become endangered if steps are not taken to address factors threatening it.

Interesting Quick facts about Kentucky Coffee Trees

  • Part of the Latin name for the Kentucky Coffee-tree (Gymnocladus dioica) means “naked branch”, because this tree spends up to nine months of the year without any leaves
  • The only other species in the genus of Kentucky Coffee-tree is a tree that grows only in China
  • Because no native herbivores consume the toxic Kentucky Coffee-tree seeds – and since elephants devour similar seed pods in great quantities – it has been hypothesized that the now-extinct Mastodon may have consumed Kentucky Coffee-tree pods – in fact, Kentucky Coffee-tree may have evolved its unique seeds, which seem unpalatable to native animals, specifically for Mastodon-assisted dispersal.”

~Source: Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) website

Photograph Credit: Casey Colthurst

Ken Henderson (visiting from Australia), Tom Henderson, Ian Naisbitt, Tania Jobin and Carl Maiolani. Tom, Ian and Carl are members of the ECFNClub

Weston Park has a special place in the hearts of the Lil’ Reg members. In the past we participated in Little River Watershed Tours once a year. Our group would visit the sites where volunteers cleaned up the river or planted trees. We checked how much garbage accumulated over the past year at the cleanup sites and estimated the success rate of the trees we planted at other sites. We also looked for potential sites that could use our help. While at Weston Park we hiked around the drain that flowed through the park and we were pleasantly zoomed by a swarm of dragonflies. It was quite a timely and impressive moment for us. Later when our members were brainstorming names for our group and logos, this special moment came to mind. This was our result.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.

Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

~Renowned anthropologist Margaret Mead

Ecosystem Approach Project

The Healthy Headwaters Lab as part of the Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research at the University of Windsor is inviting you to stay connected and provide additional input to their project!

An ecosystem approach accounts for the interrelationships among air, water, land, and all living things, including humans, and involves all user groups in management. An ecosystem approach:

  • recognizes that humans are in an ecosystem
  • acknowledges interconnectedness
  • pursues sustainability
  • works to understand places and integrate processes
  • involves all stakeholders

Please take some time to consider the following questions…

  • Why is an ecosystem approach important today and is it relevant to you on your work on the Detroit River?
  • In what ways is an ecosystem approach/ecosystem-based management valid, important, and actionable?
  • What is missing from our list of draft recommendations?

For more information, please visit and share your ideas to


Collavino Family donates wetland habitat to ERCA to create Collavino Conservation Area

Amherstburg – Thanks to a generous donation by the Collavino family, 150 acres of ecologically sensitive wetland habitat will be protected in perpetuity by the Essex Region Conservation Authority. The donation was finalized in early October and is a mix of wetland and floodplain within the Detroit River Area of Concern near the mouth of the Canard River in Amherstburg.

The property was purchased in 2005 as a farmland investment. It was previously owned by General Chemical which used it for salt brine extraction. There is currently a 10MW solar operation adjacent to the donated property that is non-intrusive to the surrounding lands. 

“The wetland portion of this property was always intended to stay as a wetland and used for fishing, hiking, hunting, camping and various other activities by our family and friends,” explains Loris Collavino, whose family made the donation. “We have lived in River Canard since 1983 and greatly appreciate all the wildlife that call this area home. The wetland has remained undisturbed over the years and as such, the wildlife seems to thrive.  Being able to visit a property and see nature at its finest was something our family held near and dear to our hearts.” 

This land is a Provincially Significant Wetland and Environmentally Significant Area. It also provides habitat for a number of Species at Risk, including the Blanding’s Turtle, Eastern Foxsnake, and Queensnake, to name just a few.

“The addition of this important habitat is incredibly beneficial for the Detroit River watershed,” said Tania Jobin, ERCA Chair. “Wetlands are critically important to mitigate flooding and the impacts of our changing climate, and we are honoured that the Collavino family put their trust in ERCA to ensure this new Conservation Area will be managed and protected for generations to come.” The wetland is also identified as a Priority Canadian Habitat Site in the Detroit River Area of Concern, and having it become a designated Conservation Area and restoring its biological function brings the AOC one step closer to remediation.

The Collavino family notes they have worked with ERCA many times before on various projects and appreciate the work it does for conservation and rehabilitation of natural areas throughout Windsor and Essex County.  “We felt that the wetland, with ERCA’s expertise and handling, could become an even better site that would be greatly enjoyed by the public, similar to Hillman Marsh, Holiday Beach and other sites ERCA protects throughout this region,” Mr. Collavino added.  “We are very proud of our community and felt that this site would be another destination that people would want to visit when coming to Amherstburg.”

A wetland restoration and management plan has been developed to ensure appropriate protective measures are in place for this sensitive area. Earlier this year, as discussions regarding this donation were underway, a prescribed burn to control invasive Phragmites was undertaken, and additional management initiatives were completed to restore this wetland to a healthy ecosystem.

“While the lands are currently being managed for habitat, future plans include adding a parking area to permit public enjoyment of this beautiful wetland,” said Tim Byrne, ERCA CAO. “A mowed pathway around the dyked area will provide a 2.2 kilometre walking path, and educational signage will be installed. We are so grateful to the Collavino family for this generous gift to the entire community.”

The Essex Region Conservation Authority is a public sector organization established by the Province in 1973, and governed by local municipalities to deliver programs and services that further the conservation, restoration, development and management of natural resources in watersheds in the Windsor-Essex-Pelee Island region.


Digital Media Attached: Members of the Collavino family gather with representatives from the Essex Region Conservation Authority to celebrate the donation of 150 acres of ecologically sensitive land to create the Collavino Conservation Area.

Public Comment Period Open: Draft 2023-2025 Great Lakes Binational Priorities for Science and Action

In accordance to Article 5, Section 2(c) of the 2012 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, the Parties (U.S. and Canada):

…shall establish, in consultation with the Great Lakes Executive Committee, binational priorities for science and action to address current and future threats to the quality of the Water of the Great Lakes, not later than six months after each Great Lakes Public Forum. The priorities shall be established based on an evaluation of the state of the Great Lakes and input received during the Great Lakes Public Forum and recommendations of the [International Joint] Commission.”

The following draft priorities for science and action were developed for the purposes of discussion at the 2022 Great Lakes Public Forum. They are intended to guide and focus the key activities implemented by Canada and the U.S. from 2023 to 2025. Accomplishments and results related to these priorities would be reported on in the 2025 Progress Report of the Parties.

Canada and the U.S. are interested in hearing your thoughts on these draft priorities during the Forum, as well as during the written comment period following the Forum. Input received will further inform the development of these priorities, which will be finalized and posted on within six months following the Forum.

Priorities represent the key science and action required to advance the achievement of the General and Specific Objectives of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement in the context of each Annex of the Agreement. Priorities for 2023-2025 are not intended to capture all science and action that will be undertaken over this period.

Read more:

Kindly use the Contact Us page to direct your comments on the draft priorities by October 31, 2022.

Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement: IJC Seeks Public Input on the Canadian and US Governments’ 2022 Progress Report of the Parties

As part of its responsibilities under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, the International Joint Commission (IJC) seeks public input on the Canadian and US governments’ 2022 Progress Report of the Parties (PROP). This opportunity is ongoing until December 23 2022. 

For an overview of the PROP, explore these presentations: Lake SuperiorLake MichiganLake HuronLake ErieLake Ontario and the St. Lawrence RiverGreat Lakes basinwide

Online survey

A survey is available to provide your input on the governments’ 2022 PROP and the water quality in your Great Lake. You can provide general comments or comments on specific government programs. Completing the survey should take 15 minutes. The survey is available here:

Fall 2022 Webinars

In the fall of 2022, the IJC will host a series of public webinars to receive public comment. Links to register for these webinars are below:

Submit written comment

Canadian Section 

Attn: International Joint Commission – 2022 PROP Input

Canadian Section Office

234 Laurier Avenue West, 22nd Floor 

Ottawa ON K1P 6K6


US Section

Attn: International Joint Commission – 2022 PROP Input

US Section Office

1717 H Street NW, Suite 835

Washington DC 20006

United States

Get Involved!

From tree plantings and clean ups, to advocacy and education programs, CLICK HERE to find out how you can be involved with protecting and enhancing the Detroit River.