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NVCA Board endorses report on forest decline in the Minesing Wetlands

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Oct 24th, 2014
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Report from the Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority of its October 24 board meeting

NVCA protects and manages much of the land within the 6,000 hectares (15,000 acres) Minesing Wetlands. Minesing is an internationally significant wetland that provides local wetland benefits such as flood attenuation, nutrient cycling, wildlife habitat, and place for recreational activity and cultural learning.

Earlier this year, NVCA staff prepared a report entitled “60 years of forest change in the Minesing Wetlands (1953-2013): Causal factors, ecological implications and recommendations for reforestation.”

The report finds that between 1953 and 2013, Minesing lost 1,860 ha of deciduous forest cover. Partially offset by natural forest regeneration, this represents a 37% net decline in total forest cover and a loss of more than 56% of total deciduous cover over the period. The report points to changes in the hydrology of the wetland (longer and more variable periods of inundation linked to the cumulative effects of subwatershed-scale and local land clearing and drainage, Hurricane Hazel, and Dutch Elm disease) as the main reason for this significant forest decline. With the change in hydrology came a shift in dominant ecosystem type in Minesing from deciduous swamp forests to open marsh and swamp thickets. The report calls for innovative watershed planning to ensure that future growth does not compound existing hydrological impacts, and for continued stewardship on rural lands to control sediment loadings to watercourses tributary to the Minesing Wetlands.

The board endorsed the report, directing staff to consider the report’s recommendations for future monitoring and forest management in NVCA’s business plan process. Further, the board directed staff to consider the report’s recommendations related to stormwater management and future growth when commenting to municipalities on future development.

See full report: nvca.on.ca/recreation/conservationareas/MinesingWetlands

NVCA welcomes new staff

The board of directors formally welcomed three new NVCA staff: Gayle Wood, Interim Chief Administrative Officer; Lee Bull, Development Review Planner; and Jeff Andersen, Planning & Regulations Technician.

NVCA on-track for balanced budget in 2014

The board received the 2014 third quarter budget report, which forecasts NVCA to have a balanced budget or small surplus at the end of the year.

Board begins 2015 budgeting process
Target a “status quo” budget reflecting inflationary increases only

The board began the 2015 budgeting process, receiving a report on the budget pressures anticipated for next year.

In planning for the 2015 budget, NVCA staff are looking to maintain the status quo, with budget increases related to growth, inflation and COLA only. This has been the approach to the budget for the past number of years. Any levy adjustments are expected to reflect this approach, with staff seeking external partnership funding for new/large projects.

Anticipated budget pressures include staffing increases (COLA), operational inflationary costs (heating, transportation), capital pressures (equipment, CA lands work), governance pressures (new advisory committees) and a decrease reliance on the use of reserves, which have been drawn-down below board-approved reserve targets.

Interim CAO outlines approach to Service Delivery and Operational Review priorities

The board approved a six-month work plan for Interim CAO Gayle Wood. In her work plan, the Interim CAO outlined an approach to responding to the 15 priority recommendations coming out of the Service Delivery and Operational Review (“efficiency audit”) completed earlier this year. These recommendations include an organizational realignment, new committees of the board, governance changes and a revenue assessment. Staff reports on each of the priority recommendations will go to the board for their discussion and approval.

For more information:

D. Gayle Wood, Interim CAO, gwood@nvca.on.ca705-424-1479 ext. 225

For the full meeting agenda including documents and reports, visit the NVCA website at nvca.on.ca/about/boardofdirectors.

Future meetings & events:

Oct 27 – Workshop: Managing New Urban Development in the NVCA Phosphorus-Sensitive Watershed (Tiffin Centre, Utopia)

Nov 13 – Minesing Wetlands: A public evening of science & stewardship, Friends of Minesing Wetlands (Tiffin Centre, Utopia)

Nov 18 – Latornell Conservation Symposium, Conservation Ontario (Alliston)

Nov 26 – Creating Wildlife Habitat: Wetlands Workshop, Lake Simcoe Georgian Bay Wetland Collaborative (Tiffin Centre, Utopia)

Nov 28 – NVCA Board of Directors Meeting (Tiffin Centre, Utopia)

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