OPIRG McMaster is a stakeholder advisory group member in the Cootes to Escarpment Conservation and Land Management Strategy, a project of Royal Botanical Gardens, in partnership with Conservation Halton, Hamilton Conservation Authority, City of Burlington, City of Hamilton, Halton Region, Hamilton Naturalists’ Club, Bruce Trail Conservancy, and Hamilton Harbour Remedial Action Plan.
Royal Botanical Gardens, together with a number of public and non-profit organizations with an interest in conserving natural lands, is preparing a strategy that will provide direction for the future use, management, protection, and enhancement of publically-owned natural lands from Cootes Paradise to the Niagara Escarpment.
This strategy will focus on the conservation and management of approximately 1,550 hectares (3,800 acres) of natural lands owned by Royal Botanical Gardens, Conservation Halton, Hamilton Conservation Authority, City of Burlington, City of Hamilton, Region of Halton, Hamilton Naturalists’ Club, and Bruce Trail Conservancy. Working with these groups and the Hamilton Harbour Remedial Action Plan, the Cootes to Escarpment Conservation and Land Management Strategy is being prepared for an area between Dundas in Hamilton through to Aldershot in Burlington along the Niagara Escarpment and down to Cootes Paradise and Hamilton Harbour.
As part of the Greenbelt (Government of Ontario Municipal Affairs: Greenbelt) surrounding the Greater Golden Horseshoe, these biologically diverse internationally recognized natural lands will potentially be subject to increased use as the population grows over the next two decades. The natural areas will invariably be affected by physical changes to the surrounding lands and waters that will come with development. In anticipation of this urban growth, a conservation and land management strategy is needed now to balance social, environmental, and economic interests to protect and enhance these properties into the future.
The purpose of the Cootes to Escarpment Conservation and Land Management Strategy is to:
1. create awareness of the issues surrounding the protection of these natural lands that are internationally recognized as being biologically diverse and provide habitat for a number of threatened and endangered plant and animal species
2. develop a strategy for the management of these lands that will protect and enhance the long-term health of the natural system while balancing the need for recreation and nature appreciation within the community.
OPIRG Staff member Randy Kay attended a day-long bus tour with the stakeholder group to visit the study area on April 12, 2008. He snapped a few photos along the way.