• Protecting Water and Farmland in Simcoe County

Updated – Tuesday October 4: deadline for providing input on protection for nature across the Greater Golden Horseshoe

In Agriculture
Oct 1st, 2017

UPDATE: Link to submission from the Simcoe County Greenbel Coalition

AWARE News Network

Ontario Nature is calling on you to urge Kathryn McGarry, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry, to guide stronger protection for nature across the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH)! The decisions made now will have a lasting impact for our water, nature and communities.

The Ontario government has been conducting public consultations on their plan to identify and map a natural heritage system across the GGH (which includes Simcoe County). Consultation ends October 4 2017.

A natural heritage system is a network of core natural features connected by robust corridors. Together, this system of cores and corridors allows the movement of wild species, enhances ecological functioning (e.g. flood control, water filtration, climate regulation) and benefits human health.

Natural heritage systems planning is widely recognized by landscape ecologists and planners as the most effective approach to recover biodiversity and prepare the GGH for the impacts of climate change. It is vital that this plan is done right to protect our region’s nature, water and communities!

The Oak Ridges Moraine Partnership has identified some major gaps in the government’s plan and we need your help! Please urge the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry to address these deficiencies now, before the plan is finalized.

Here’s the link to the letter Ontario Nature has drafted. You can sign that or send your own. Here’s a link to the Environmental Registry, for online comment. The ER file number is 013-1014.

Or you can write to:
Ala Boyd
Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry
Policy Division
Natural Resources Conservation Policy Branch
300 Water Street
Peterborough Ontario
K9J 8M5

TEXT of the Ontario Nature letter:

I am pleased to see the government is moving ahead to better protect nature across the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH) by identifying and protecting a Natural Heritage System (NHS). Effective protection will help to recover biodiversity and better prepare the region for the impacts of climate change. To be effective the NHS must have appropriate regional variations, integrate municipal and conservation authority expertise, and be supported by the community.

Before your ministry finalizes the Natural Heritage System, I urge you to:

1) Identify smaller core natural areas in highly fragmented landscapes. The minimum core size of 100 hectares must be reduced in areas with low natural cover as even smaller features can have high value biodiversity.

2) Integrate other identified natural heritage systems into the Province’s map. Many municipalities and conservation authorities have led the identification of natural heritage mapping and these data layers must be included in the final map.

3) Improve the opportunities for community involvement. A diversity of perspectives and expertise will more accurately identify community values and help develop consensus around the vision, objectives and targets that should guide the development of the Natural Heritage System for the GGH.

A strong, robust and community-supported natural heritage system will be an effective tool to better recover biodiversity and prepare the region for the impacts of climate change. We need to get this right now. The Province’s plan will be an important legacy to ensure future generations have access to a healthy natural environment with clean air, land and water across the Greater Golden Horseshoe.

Thank you for this opportunity to provide input.


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