Walk To Save Southern Ontario’s Vanishing Forests.
By John Bacher
Today we have a bizarre situation where hard wrested environmental progress is being turned back. This is the shrinking of Southern Ontario’s forests, in the fertile agricultural area south of the Canadian Shield.
Following the invasion of what was called Upper Canada there was a rampant destruction through burning of the forests of the land which, after Confederation, became called Ontario. Most of these forests were used to produce ashes, to manufacture soap and other products manufactured in Europe. It took sixty large maple trees to produce a single barrel of potash to be shipped across the sea.
The long awaited report from the US Army Corps of Engineers on how to keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes has finally been released. The report evaluates the many waterways connecting the Mississippi River to Lake Michigan –all potential avenues to allow several species of Asian carp into the Great Lakes. The 5 year report costing $20M is titled Great Lakes and Mississippi River Interbasin Study (GLMRIS).
Silver and bighead carp already make up about 95% of the biomass in rivers downstream of the Chicago River. Over a century ago Chicago built a canal to reverse the flow of the Chicago River to divert their sewage and stormwater south into the Mississippi rather than their waterfront beaches. The “reversed” Chicago River flow has been supported by two US Supreme Court decisions.
Each blue whale has a unique pattern of spots of its back, like a fingerprint or a nametag. These spots allow researchers to identify each whale as either a newcomer, or an old friend.
The Mingan Island Cetacean Study (MICS) is a non-profit research organization located on the Gulf of St Lawrence's northern shore and they were the first group to begin long term study of marine mammals in the Gulf. Since their founding in 1979, this group has followed blue whale populations in eastern Canada, the Sea of Cortez and in the waters of Iceland.
MICS has discovered something troubling in the northwest Atlantic blue whale population. Of the 475 individual whales they've identified since their genesis in 1979, only 22 have been calves. This suggests a frighteningly low calving rate for a population already swimming on the brink.
The Star published an article Energy board proposal for fixed hydro rates called “Robin Hood in Reverse” in the Business section on Tuesday. In a recent draft report, the Ontario Energy Board proposes a fixed monthly rate for utilities rather than charging households by how much power is consumed. Sierra Club Canada is a founding member of the Green Energy Coalition (GEC). “It is Robin Hood in reverse,” argues a letter from the GEC.
Natural Capital refers to the stock of natural resources and environmental assets, and how they contribute to building healthy communities. The Natural Capital perspective is a way of placing a monetary value on the ecological goods and services to quantify these benefits.
Brampton's ecosystems contain many natural areas and urban green spaces that provide the city with ecological goods and services, which translates to valuable Natural Capital.
Thanks to support from Ontario Trillium Foundation and the Mississauga Community Fund, we are expanding the project by doing walkshops and natural area restoration work throughout Brampton and Mississauga in summer of 2014. Our goal is to educate and engage the community to raise awareness and appreciation for these natural areas.
From the raging torrents of the Niagara River to the placid Welland Canal one can walk for ten miles through the wooded forest gardens of the Niagara Escarpment. Here in some patches, old growth giant oaks and maples soar above wild ginger and may apple. This shady glen has spectacular lookouts over the Niagara Fruit Belt to Lake Ontario, such as Queenston Heights and the Woodend Conservation area. These wilds overwhelm relics of 19th century assaults on nature, such as lime kilns, a “haunted” “ghost” tunnel under which the Bruce Trail travel and the stone ruins of the abandoned Third Welland Canal.