Tag Archives: Conservation

Ontario Provincial Parks Conservation

Provincial Parks  Conservation Reserves Act

November morning

Monday November 8 2010

Ontario parks go by a number of different names: national parks,Ontario provincial parks, regional conservation areas, municipal parks, wildlife sanctuaries, nature reserves. A lot of that has to do with who funds them and who runs them. To the average visitor, though, that doesn’t really matter. What matters are the wonderful attractions they offer, especially to those of us who live in cities and need that escape to nature to keep us sane. These attractions include: encounters with Canadian wildlife, opportunities to explore hiking trails, a look back in time at Ontario history, and sporting adventures.

If you were raised in Ontario, you probably feel the same way as I do about Ontario parks. They inhabit a special place in your heart. If you’re just moved to the province, or or are just visiting (welcome!!), then these parks will soon squirrel their way into your heart as well.

I spent much of my childhood summers in Ontario parks. My family used to go camping in Algonquin Park, picnicking in Balls Falls, and strolling in the manicured landscapes surrounding Niagara Falls Because of our “history” together, I feel that these green oases are a big part of my identity. I treasure them, am proud of them, and welcome visitors to share them with me.

Who uses Ontario parks?

Nature lovers, sports enthusiasts, and heritage lovers visit Ontario parks. The parks therefore cater to a great many different needs. Different parks specialize in different activities.

Features of Ontario parks?

Some parks are very close to their natural state and offer basic trails only (and in the wilderness no trails at all!), while others cater to all kinds of sporting and cultural interests. Some welcome only day-trippers, while some welcome overnight campers as well. Features vary from park to park, so it’s best to investigate before you visit to ensure you’ll find the features you’re seeking.

Some of these features might include:


-large wildlife – visit Algonquin Park for moose and other large animal sightings

-birds – parks popular with birders include the famous Point Pelee National Park or Cootes Paradise and the RBG in Hamilton.

-waterfalls – Niagara Falls may be the best known, but they aren’t the only falls in the province. Southern Ontario has many waterfalls, especially around Hamilton and Dundas. Check out some of my favourites, Websters Falls or Balls Falls.

-gardens – many parks, especially those in urban areas, have spectacular flower gardens; the Royal Botanical Gardens are the most famous. Some of the prettiest and most popular gardens are along the Niagara Parkway which runs through the city of  Niagara Falls

National parks are places of natural beauty that are protected and preserved for all Canadians and for the world.

Each national park represents a particular natural region of Canada. There is at least one located in each of the nation’s 13 provinces and territories. They are administered by Parks Canada, which also manages 157 National Historic Sites.

Since 1971, the non-profit conservation group Nature Canada has played an important role in the protection of more than 125,000 square kilometres of lands and waters in Canada’s national parks system. Today Nature Canada and its supporters are calling on the government to conserve marine and terrestrial biodiversity by establishing networks of federal protected areas, including national parks, on land and in our oceans and to ensure their long-term ecological integrity.

Why Establish National Parks

National parks perform essential, irreplaceable ecological services that everyone depends on to survive, such as producing clean air and water, and providing critical habitat for endangered species.

National parks play a role in regulating the climate, by protecting existing carbon stored in trees and plants, which helps to reduce the effects of global warming.

When a national park is established, some of our most important wild lands are permanently protected from industrial and commercial development. It helps to preserve biodiversity, maintain healthy ecosystems, and provide a place for globally significant wildlife populations to live and thrive.

Canada’s national, provincial and territorial parks create jobs and support local businesses, many of which are in Aboriginal and other rural and remote communities. According to a 2006 report by the Canadian Parks Council, parks contributed the equivalent of 60,000 fulltime positions, and $2.5 billion to the Canadian economy.

Spending time in parks improves people’s physical and mental health and well-being, contributing to lowering health care costs.

People visit parks to stay active by participating in healthful outdoor activities, such as hiking, canoeing, or cross-country skiing. They are places for families to get together and for children to safely explore and learn about the natural environment.

National Park Facts

  • Canada’s national parks system began in 1885 with the protection of several tiny hot springs in a 23-square kilometer reserve in Banff, Alberta.
  • There are 42 national parks in Canada, representing 28 natural regions. Eleven natural regions remain unrepresented.
  • Canada is bound by the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity to establish a network of protected areas across the country by 2010, based on a treaty signed in 1992.
  • Canada has set aside less than seven per cent of its land for protection—a small fraction of this vast country.
  • Canada ranks 61st in terms of the percentage of lands it protects, lagging behind the United States, Germany, Guatemala and Zimbabwe.
  • Government spending on national parks, in Canadian dollars, per hectare is $8.84, compared to $62.44 in the U.S.
  • At 44,807 km2, Wood Buffalo National Park is Canada’s largest national park and one of the largest in the world.

Information Wikipedia

Doug Worrall Photography

Swans in mist

Ontario Water Opportunities and Water Conservation Act Bill 72

Ontario Water Opportunities and Water Conservation Act Bill 72

The Regeneration Institute for the Great Lakes

Thursday September 30th 2010

Water Conservation

As Environmentalists , Conservationist,  and as citizens of Ontario, each one of us must contact our local MPP regarding their voting intentions of the “Ontario Water Opportunities and Water Conservation Act (Bill 72)” This Bill 72 was introduced on May 18, 2,010 and it is designed  (1) to encourage the development of innovative water technology solutions, and,  (2) to improve the efficient use of water.  These are great conservation goals that with strengthening could lead to  advancing a truly progressive water agenda, according to Dr. Gail Krantzberg , Professor and Director of the Centre for Engineering and Public Policy at McMaster University, in Sept. 29th Hamilton Spectator.  Hamilton Harbour has improved greatly from “poisonous soup” in the 1960’s, as it has been notoriously known as one of Lake Ontario’s most contaminated areas with its industrialized shoreline.  And, most of the rivers that once flowed from the Niagara Escarpment to Lake Ontario have been buried.  The latest construction of the Red Hill Creek Expressway was one of the last remaining green-spaces feeding into Lake Ontario.
Today, most of us try to be environmental friendly and purchase products along those lines.  But currently Bill 72 favours the development of hard technologies: water efficient cooling towers, and , advanced water treatment technologies.  Dr. Krantzberg said ” It is less explicit about supporting the type of natural of “green” technologies that define sustainable communities. Here, citizens of Ontario could suggest to their MPP to support the “green” technologies. That means, supporting techniques as rainwater harvesting, green roofs, permeable pavements, urban forests and wetlands (including Cootes Paradise Marsh) that would improve the live-ability of our cities, it would also conserve water, reduce water pollution and ease the pressure on aging infrastructure. The March 2,009 issue of Journal of Great Lakes Research shows two decades of change in water quality trends in Hamilton Harbour.  In this study , they state it is seasonal patterns of water quality that are driven by biological  activity in Hamilton Harbour.  That biological response suggests that phosphorous limited algal growth is becoming more prevalent in Hamilton Harbour and the rate of improvements in water quality should accelerate in the near future  following reductions in phosphorous loading.  On May 25, 2,010 a New Water Quality study was commenced by Public Health Officials and McMaster Institute for Environmental Health to determine a  link between water safety and environmental  factors – water temperature, wave height and wind speed. There hope is to find an environmental predictor of water quality.

Cootes paradise

Dr,. Krantzberg also points out “stewardship” by everyone in Ontario, in order to transform the culture of water use by working together to improve our collective water stewardship.   In this vain, a Public Education Campaign is needed.!  Also, Bill 72, needs to ensure that clear targets for water conservation are established politically (1) at the provincial level, and, (2) the municipal level. The ongoing progress needs to be published for all citizens of Ontario to view and  ensure  political mandates of Bill 72 are being met.  There is a new partnership entitled ” The Regeneration Institute for the Great Lakes.”  This is a partnership between McMaster University and Seneca College, and it is committed to working with the city as it launches a revitalized future beginning with the restorative development of its water resources. So what is needed is not only  for the provincial government to pass Bill 72 for the best water conservation legislation possible.  But, it requires all local conservationists, conservation and ecology groups to support this initiative.  And, for each one of us in Ontario to phone, or,  e-mail our MPP to pass this Bill 72 to improve and conserve  water in our cities.
Doug Worrall Photography

Conservation vs Control in Coote’s Paradise Hamilton

Conservation vs Control in Coote’s Paradise Hamilton


In 1974, a request came form RGB for control  of Coote’s Paradise.  But, the Hamilton Harbor Commission held tightly to the control  it claims it had under the 1912 Act Of Parliament by which it was created.  In fact, the 1912 Act of Parliament …supercedes the 28 year-old RGB legislation.
Now, the conservation issue in 1974, was the preservation of Coote’s Paradise being in doubt because of a recommendation that would double the release of sewage into Coote’s Paradise.  It was suggested to construct a sewage line along the base of Coote’s Paradise and Burlington Bay to the east-end Woodward plant.  Then RGB director, Leslie Laking, had great concerns about the decision.  he said “The RGB would have no effluent in Coote’s Paradise from here on in.”  And, chairman of the Harbor Board, Ed Tharen, ” pointed an accusing finger at the Dundas sewage treatment plant as the major polluter responsible for that gunk being poured into Coote’s Paradise.”
Stewart Morison, Ducks Unlimited Canada which is an offshoot of the U.S. group, in 1987, expects to spend $43 million in 1988 to build and restore wetland habitat for waterfowl.  Morison looked at prospects for involvement in a Coote’s Paradise project proposed by RGB biologist Len Simer.  From the high level bridge, Simer described the marshland’s problems and potential underlining three issues that hamper growth of plants needed for good wildlife habitat.  Perceptual opportunities for current difficulties hampering wildlife habitat in Coote’s are a justaposition of elements  and how they relate to each other, such as :: (1) wind-stirred mud; (2) bottom-feeding carp, and, (3) changing water levels. Carp and other invasive species continue to be an issue, even in 2,010 ,  Reduction of Carp is due to the Fishway operation.  This allows other fish and plants to return to the marshland.

In 1988, Ducks unlimited Canada said “Half of Coote’s Paradise can be restored to the wetland wildlife preserve it was earlier this century.  DUC, provincial  manager John Blain told RGB board of directors.  The now flooded swamp and surrounding wetlands at the far west end of Hamilton Harbor are part of RGB property.  Blain said “Coote’s Paradise restoration – We believe it’s feasible in terms of both biology and engineering and asked the conservation group to investigate.

In 1988, DUC would build more than 3 km (2 miles of earthen dikes to wall off 3 km (250 acres) of open water below the McMaster University CampusThis exciting initiative included: (1) Water depth would be lowered to foster the growth of natural marsh plants needed for good wildlife habitate; (2) There would be NO CARP to uproot young plants; and, (3) There would be less wind-stirred MUD to block sunlight.
Coote’s Paradise had another concern in 1988 because the region set sites on a Perimeter Road (now hwy. 403).  The north-side alternative was cheapest to build at $48 million.  Planners backed the north-south site because it would offer drivers an attractive view of the waterfront.  The Hamilton Harbor Commission would have to approve the scheme.  Now the negative side is beastly ugly because it includes three issues:
(1) Noise would affect the western harbour and
proposed waterfront park.  ( Now in 2,010 we
have a beautiful waterfont part with little
(2) The harbor’s surface area, volume and fish
habitat would be reduced.
(3) Fill would be needed in Coote’s Paradise.  And, thank goodness for former Alderman Mary Kiss, who recommened “to build 403 hwy WITHOUT PUTTING FILL IN COOTE’S PARADISE – one of the most ecologically important areas
Memory is like Jazz.  Life jazz, memory has more to do with now than then.  Then is just fiction now.
in Two Sides of a Centre
Robert Clark Yates

Would like to thank Robert Yates for his inspirational books and watchful eye on Cootes paradise.

Enjoy the pictures and information today and  have a great weekend.
Doug Worrall Photographer