Written in Niagara At Large, Sierra Club’s John Bacher talks about how outdated planning studies are guiding development in Niagara Region and the significance of updating these plans to ensure protection of important wildlife and biodiversity in these areas. Read the article here.
At Sierra Club Ontario, our work mainly focuses on protecting the Great Lakes ecosystem, growing and protecting the Greenbelt, and promoting Green Energy adoption in Ontario. Sierra Club Ontario also works on very local issues, in coordination with smaller communities in Ontario.
By John Bacher
Photo: Urban Sprawl on Oak Ridges Moraine threatens health of Lake Ontario. By: Mary Lou Bacher
The province of Ontario is engaged in what is termed a decade long review of the Greenbelt Plan and its complimentary legislation, Places to Grow. (the latter is intended to provide higher densities so that sprawl does not jam up against urban boundaries). A public meeting on the review, appropriately enough in a location accessible to cyclists, walkers and transit, is being held on March 30, from 6 to 9pm at the central Yonge Street Toronto Public Library.
The recent death of a prophetic voice of concern for the earth, Dr. Mike Carr, should give some guidance to the deliberations of the public. It is to be fervently hoped that as many people cram into the Toronto Reference Library to give voice to concerns for the fate of the planet as occupied St. James Cathedral square.
Many people care for our wounded earth here in the Niagara Region, but frequently despair about what can be done to preserve and protect it.
Farmlands are gobbled up, forests are slashed and streams are entombed in cement. Fish, frogs and turtles lose their homes with the waters. Native bird species vanish...
From our friend Kevin Thomason with Waterloo’s Sunfish Neighbourhood Association—
With the link between biodiversity and human health strongly documented it is welcomed that an extensive and complex report, prepared by the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (SCBD) and the World Health Organization (WHO), is highlighting the need for sustainable development policy to reflect this relationship.
The full report can be found here: http://www.cbd.int/en/health/stateofknowledge
With more than 80 percent of Ontario’s drinking water coming from Lake Ontario, Sierra Club and Ontario residents will be looking to the new Great Lakes Protection Act (GLPA) for guidance and action on Great Lakes stewardship and protection.
Link to Media Release: http://ontario.sierraclub.ca/en/node/6930
As a part of our Natural Capital Campaign, Sierra Club has also been active in Peel Region! There will be a couple of events offered in Peel, after receiving funding from TD- Friends of the Environment and Community Foundation Mississauga Grants.
April 25th – One Million Trees Celebration and Earth Market
Hosted by the City of Mississauga, we will have volunteers at the morning tree planting and a table at the Earth Market. Come out and visit us to say Hi! There will be information booths, vendors, live music, prizes, a food truck, kids’ activities and workshops.
Last year with funding from RBC's Blue Water Grants, Sierra Club Ontario joined Town of Ajax, and Toronto Regional Conservation Authority to remove stormwater outflow pipes along Ajax’s beaches and replace them with bioswales to help improve water quality. Bioswales are human-created wetland features which slow the flow of stormwater, allowing nutrients and contaminants to be absorbed and filtered by the plants and soil, before the water reaches the beaches.
Last spring we had a successful tree planting at the Paradise Beach bioswale, and will be hosting another Tree planting and additional workshops and events this spring. List of events and volunteer opportunities below:
March 4th – Annual Waterfront Open House
In the 2015 Greenbelt Review one of the most important objectives should be to expand the Greenbelt on lands within the watershed based borders of the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA.)
These lands are the agricultural and environmental protection -zoned lands within the southern part of the City of Hamilton, the western edge of the County of Haldimand and the entire Niagara Region. This area is the southern edge of Ontario’s Greenbelt.
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THOROLD — The looming 10-year review of Ontario’s Greenbelt is an opportunity to try to have sensitive lands in the area of Lake Gibson and Lake Moodie in Thorold included into the plan, Thorold politicians have heard in a new report.
The province introduced the plan in 2005 with the goal of permanently protecting more than 1.8 million acres of agricultural land, environmentally sensitive land and ecological features across much of the Golden Horseshoe area, where there are huge development pressures as the population in the Greater Toronto Area and beyond continues to swell.
At our next Sierra Peel Group meeting guest speaker Susan Robertson of The Credit Valley Heritage Society will tell us about the proposal for a continuous trail along the Credit River from Mississauga to Caledon. There are some beautiful lengths of trail along the Credit and many people are working to connect them. According to Credit Valley Conservation, "Trails in the Credit Valley Watershed cover a wide variety of geographical features, including the Oak Ridges Moraine and the Niagara Escarpment, providing picturesque settings for a leisurely stroll or a challenging, rugged hike." The CVC website has a great page organizing maps of the trails and what to expect on them: http://www.creditvalleyca.ca/enjoy-the-outdoors/activities/trails/. Come learn more about the plans to make these trails contiguous, more accessible and enjoyable for all.
By Alyssa Beurling
The Town of Ajax sits along seven kilometres of beautiful and uninterrupted shoreline along the northern side of Lake Ontario, and for over 50 years now the Town’s Council has focused on creating an open, swimmable, green and accessible waterfront for residents. Although drastic improvements have been made the lakeshore is now experiencing nuisance algal blooms, and a recent study indicates effluent from the nearby Duffins Creek Wastewater Pollution Treatment Plant (DCWPTP) in Pickering is to blame.
By Dr. John Bacher
A new threat to the environment and the future of the Greenbelt on the eve of its 2015 Review has emerged in Niagara. It is a proposal to extend through the Greenbelt in Grimsby, a Niagara Regional Road, Livingston Avenue (Niagara Regional Road, 512) in the middle of the old growth Irish Grove Forest.
The Irish Grove Forest is a 26 acre forest which has never been farmed. It contains huge Red and White Oaks that have been estimated by experts to be 450 years old. It also contains towering super-story White Pines of a hundred to 150 years in age. Most of the trees in this climax Carolinian forest are climax mature Sugar Maples and Shagbark Hickories which are regenerating well.
ACER (Association for Canadian Educational Resources) has a number of programs but one very special one is their use of citizen scientists to collect climate change data. This year ACER is planting a number of sites to restore forests around Lake Ontario and is seeking volunteers to plant and help with monitoring of trees. Their Riparian Rangers program.
As a volunteer for Riparian Rangers Mississauga you will gain hands-on knowledge concerning the restoration and monitoring of riparian ecosystems. Specifically, volunteers will clean the sites so they are free from litter, identify and remove invasive species, as well as measure and monitor 10% of each tree species that has been planted in terms of growth and health.
Volunteers will be needed for two restoration sites:
200 trees and shrubs were planted over the weekend in McLaughlin Valley! A big thank you to everyone who came out on September 6! More than 30 volunteers dug in with Sierra Club and CVC to reforest the area. Give yourselves a big pat on the back! Keep an eye out for upcoming opportunities to participate in plantings and help improve the air and water quality in your community.
Over the past 5 months, Joseph Boutilier has cycled 5,000km on one wheel to call for action on climate change. Join Joseph as he arrives in our nation’s capital – his final destination – to meet with MPs just as Parliament reopens for the Fall session. Join others demanding political action and unity for the climate crisis. Do it #ForOurFuture.
12:00 pm, September 15, 2014 – Parliament Hill (Meet at the Centennial Flame), Wellington St., Ottawa
Join us for Paradise Beach Project planting event September 20, 2014
Sierra Club, Town of Ajax and Toronto and Region Conservation are psyched to plant native plants and trees on Paradise Beach bioswales as part of the Great Canadian Coastal Clean-up Saturday, September 20th.
'What's a bioswale?' you may ask. A bioswale is a way of filtering surface water by channeling through plants, gravel or rip-rap and slowing it down. Silt and particulate matter will fall out and the plants in the bioswale help take out nutrients and chemicals, for instance automotive run-off from a parking lot. The plants and soil do this work for free for our benefit!