Woodlot Storm Recovery



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

Woodlot damaged from the Derecho Storm on May 21, 2022

Over 300 landowners contacted SNC for assistance in the aftermath of the derecho storm which destroyed thousands of acres of forests and livelihoods for many property owners and businesses. 

Partnerships with the Government of Canada, the Province of Ontario, and partner municipalities have now enabled the establishment of a recovery program for woodlot owners affected by natural disasters like, the May 2022 Derecho Storm.

The program will support clean up, site preparation, and tree planting and tending costs to restore damaged woodlots and prepare properties for tree planting.

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.

The project will maintain or enhance carbon-storing potential of these forest areas while enhancing biodiversity and resiliency to climate change.

The grant program recognizes that landowners may have reacted on their own to mitigate the effects of the derecho storm event before this funding was announced. Retroactive compensation is available for certain activities for landowners who already recovered damaged woodlots within the affected area after the storm. Landowners are reminded to keep pictures, transaction records and receipts so that retroactive compensation for work already completed can be considered.  

Considering the volume of work and availability of both contractors and nursery stock, the project has been established for a five-year duration (2023-2027). Future maintenance costs beyond the project duration are the responsibility of the landowner.



The Enhanced Fujita Scale (EF) is used to assign tornado ratings based on wind speed and related damage. The map (below) shows the derecho storm path and the areas with extensive damage (in yellow). To view the full map on, click here (map credit: Northern Tornadoes Project, Western University).

Please note that the map provides an overview of the affected area but does not determine program eligibility. 

 Derecho Storm Path Map


Application Guidelines: Click here to review the Woodlot Storm Recovery Program Guidelines.

Maintain records, photos, and itemized invoices and receipts of work already completed. 

Application Form: Click here to apply for program support - SNC will contact you directly to schedule a free visit of your affected woodlot.

Please note that funding is not guaranteed, and work is scheduled on a first-come-first-served basis. 



South Nation Conservation (SNC) works closely with its member municipalities and partner organizations to support the management of land and water resources in Eastern Ontario which includes close cooperation with woodlot organizations like Boisés Est, the Eastern Ontario Maple syrup Producers Association, the Ontario Woodlot Association, and the Eastern Ontario Model Forest. 

SNC aknowledges the support of woodlot associations who helped identify the extent of damaged woodlots, hosted workshops for affected property owners, and advocated for recovery support to all levels of government. 

You do not need to be a member of a private woodlot association to be eligible for this program, however, SNC does encourage forest owners to consider memberships. These member organizations work together to share resources, advice, and expertise and are a great community of knowledge that help ensure the sustainable management of private woodlots. Some links are included below:




What is the purpose of the program?

The woodlot recovery program was created to support the clean up, restoration, site preparation, and tree planting and tending costs to restore private woodlots damaged from severe storms like the Derecho Storm of May 2022.


Where does the funding come from and where is the target area?

The Woodlot Recovery Program is supported by all levels of government and is administered by South Nation Conservation (SNC) within the City of Ottawa and the United Counties of Prescott-Russell.

The program will be targeted to private woodlots within the May 2022 Derecho Storm path, however, property owners outside of the storm area and within either the SNC jurisdiction or the City of Ottawa are eligible. Access a map of the Derecho Storm Path here:

The program is supported by the Government of Canada’s 2 Billion Tree Program, Forest Ontario’s 50 Million Tree Program, the City of Ottawa’s Tree Replacement Program, and disaster recovery assistance funding provided to the UnitedCounties of Prescott-Russell by the Province of Ontario.


Who is eligible for the program?

Property owners with at least 4 hectares, or approximately 10 acres, of forest are eligible, consistent with the definition of a forest under the Managed Forest Tax Incentive Program.

However, all property owners with woodlots damaged by severe storms are encouraged to apply.

All applicants are eligible for a free site visit with SNC foresters where woodlot recovery options can be discussed.

If this program isn’t the right fit, SNC delivers other woodlot management and tree planting services that are available for properties with at least 1 acre of area available for planting.


What if work was already done to clean up after the May 2022 Derecho Storm? Is retroactive compensation available?

 Yes, SNC recognizes that property owners may have already completed restoration work on their properties. Funding is retroactive for eligible work completed after

May 21, 2022, that conforms to the project objectives and guidelines.

Please note that this program is only able to provide cost-share funding and forestry services to help restore damaged woodlots, compensation is not available for losses related to income of forest-related businesses or future harvest revenue.

Eligible costs for retroactive compensation include:

  • Permits and approvals
  • Supplies and materials directly related to access for cleanup or site preparation
    (i.e gravel, culverts, etc.)
  • Contract labour and equipment
  • Professional fees

All affected property owners are encouraged to apply and will be contacted directly by SNC to schedule a free site visit to determine eligibility and recovery options.

To find out if you are eligible, please see the Woodlot Recovery Program Guidelines here.

To apply to the program, please complete the Application Form here.


Does the program support other storm-related damages within private forests, like trail infrastructure or maple tapping equipment?

Eligible program expenses must be directly related to woodlot recovery and reforestation. Other non-forest related damages are not eligible for compensation through this program, including maple tapping equipment and infrastructure.

Property owners are encouraged to work with their insurance company and with the Disaster Recovery Assistance for Ontarians Program to seek reimbursement for non-forestry resources damaged by severe storms.

Property infrastructure related to forest access is eligible for program reimbursement, including entrance and trail infrastructure, culverts, and aggregate.

Maple Syrup producers are encouraged to consider the new “Maple Production Improvement Initiative”, part of the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership Program, which can help provide 50% cost-share funding up to $20,000 to improve maple syrup operations. Funding through this program is available to replace or upgrade equipment and certain woodlot management activities, including tree marking and mapping.

The Maple Production Improvement Initiative opens for applications on November 9, 2023 and eligible expenses are retroactive to April 1, 2023.
More info at:


I’m eligible! What is included in the program?

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.

All program participants must enter into an agreement with SNC to perform work on their property and agree to maintain the woodlot in a forested state for at least 15 years.

The agreement includes a workplan which defines and schedules the work to be completed and identifies the responsibilities of the landowner and SNC.


How are property owners expected to participate in the program?

Program applicants must be present for the free site evaluation and visit by SNC staff to help provide access to their property and share details on storm damage, woodlot objectives, interesting features, and reforestation options.

Following the visit and analysis of soil samples and property needs, SNC staff will prepare forestry plans for property owners to review.

Property owners are encouraged to provide feedback on silvicultural prescriptions to ensure the restoration and tree planting plans meet their needs. SNC will do it’s best to source tree species suitable to the site, based on the preference of property owners.

All restoration and tree planting activities will be coordinated by SNC, however, property owners may also participate in some of the site preparation work, depending on the site conditions and planned work.


Will windrows of trees remain on site during hazard tree removal?

Tree management activities for woodlot restoration will be specific to each property and meet the needs of property owners. Depending on the forest conditions, SNC may be able to present owners with several recovery options to consider.

Windrowing debris is a site-specific option which proved effective during reforestation efforts after the 1998 Ice Storm.

Forest debris, whether distributed throughout the forest or windrowed, provides habitat and retains nutrients on site as it decomposes. Woody debris breaks down over a relatively short period of time in the life of a forest.


Will SNC help determine the best tree species to plant?

SNC will prepare tree planting options for property owners to provide feedback on which considers species selection based on the soil type, drainage, existing woodlot composition, forest resiliency, and biodiversity.

SNC will work with property owners to determine the best approach to reforesting their land by selecting an appropriate mix of species.

Please note that each tree species has specific biological requirements and interact with each other differently in forest environments and not all desired species may be suitable.

SNC plants over 200,000 tree seedlings each year and nursery stock is also a consideration when identifying the right mix of species. SNC will make every effort to source desired tree seedlings through approved tree nurseries.  


Are there costs to property owners who participate in this program?

All eligible storm restoration and site preparation costs are covered 100% by this program, including those already completed by contractors on private property.

Tree planting activities must be completed by SNC including site preparation, sourcing, planting, and tending and are cost-shared with property owners.

Tree planting costs are subsidized by all levels of government and offered to property owners at a reduced rate of $0.21 per conifer seedling and $0.32 per hardwood seedling. 

Please note that these fees are only for the Woodlot Storm Recovery Program and not for regular reforestation programs. 

Depending on the scope of work, and on a site-specific basis, applicants may be able to complete some of the work activities on their property and may be eligible for reduced costs.

Maximum landowner fee is $3,000.


What costs are not covered by the program?

Ineligible costs include:

• Labour or machinery use of applicant, family dependents, or applicant’s business

• Costs of equipment purchased or rented (ie. ATVs, tractors, chainsaws etc.)

• Gas and oil

• Taxes (HST)

This reforestation and woodlot recovery program is supported by the Government of Canada and requires that all project activities be compliant with the terms of the funding agreements and all appropriate Federal and Provincial legislation.

This includes the requirement for all eligible work activities to be completed by registered businesses and at-arms-length transactions.


How long will applications be accepted for?

This program will be in place for five years, with projects expected to be completed by March 31, 2029.

Property owners are welcome to apply anytime during the 5-year period, however, funding will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.


What types of contractors will be used to support the program?

SNC will work with property owners to determine the best plan of action for the recovery efforts of their woodlot, including the use of contractors.

Based on the work, contractor availability, and use of specialized equipment, SNC may obtain support from forestry contractors, arborists, general equipment contractors, and other service contractors.

SNC will seek standing offers from a wide range of contractors to undertake cleanup and site preparation work on behalf of program applicants. This may avoid competition, provide economies of scale, and improve contractor availability and scheduling.

Eligible work already completed by contractors is eligible for reimbursement.


Is work already completed by Forestry Technicians from outside the Province of Ontario eligible for reimbursement?

The engagement of out-of-province forestry professionals and technicians may be considered for reimbursement if they are compliant with applicable Federal and Province of Ontario legislation.

Professional forestry is a licensed profession in the Province of Ontario which ensures that forestry contractors meet established standards and legislation requirements, including the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

The legislation defines the scope of practice for professional forestry services. Accredited professionals from outside-the province can apply for temporary work permits in Ontario through the Ontario Professional Foresters Association.