Conservation vs Control in Coote’s Paradise Hamilton
FRIDAY JULY 23 2010
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 doublethe release of sewage into Coote’sParadise. 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 wetlandwildlife preserveit was earlier this century. DUC, provincial manager John Blain told RGB board of directors. The now flooded swamp and surrounding wetlandsat 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 conservationgroup 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 UniversityCampus. This 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’SPARADISE – 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.
Will Cootes Paradise Marsh succumb to urbanized pressures
The Niagara Escarpment from Dundas to Burlington connecting to Cootes Paradise Marsh and Grindstone Creek Estuary is one of the richest biological areas in Canada. The Cootes Paradise to Niagara Escarpment corridor is an oasis in the midst of an urban population of 675,000 people.
The watershed of Spencer Creek has 28,400 ha. The mouth of Spencer Creek is a 250 ha shallow marsh and open water known as CootesParadise Marsh. Spencer Creek is a wide reentrant valley with cliff faces. And, Burlington Heights has a glacier bay-mouth sandbar with the northshore of Hamilton Harbour (also referred to as Burlington Bay).
Several small watersheds drain directly intoCootes Paradise Marsh or Hamilton Harbour from the Escarpment. These include Falcon, Indian, Hager and Rambo Creeks, which start just above the Escarpment. This section of the Niagara Escarpment is one of the few sections with a southern aspect. It is this south facing protected microclimate that creates the habitat for the wide diversity of unique species.
Hamilton Harbour and Cootes Paradise Marsh control water levels into the stream system where they connect and, depending on the stream, some distance upstream.
Thus the lower end of most creeks have some permanent water.
McMaster University abuts the south side of Cootes Paradise South Shore Properties. Note – The Beast !
There is a waste transfer station and other industrial uses abutting or within the North Shore Cootes Paradise Properties.
The Westdale Ravine extends south of the South Shore of Cootes Paradise. Main Street West in Hamilton separates Cootes Paradise from the Dundas Valley.
On occasion, in Chedoke Creek, Northern Pikecome in from Coote’s Paradise Marsh. This could be a direct result of the Fishway. Since 1997, the Cootes Paradise Fishway has been operating at the outlet from Cootes Paradise Marsh through Burlington Bay to excude invasive Carp from the marsh because they destroy the roots of young plants which other fish require in their habitat. They are protected by the Fisheries Act. The Ontario Endangered Species Act, 1990 currently protects listed endangered species and their habitat and applies to all lands in Ontario not owned by the Federal govenment. For example, the black-crowned night heron in Cootes Paradise Marsh.
Ownership. The South Shore of Cootes Paradise, RGB owns 235 ha, Hamilton Conservation Authority owns 28 ha, and the City of Hamilton 20 ha. The North Shore Cootes Paradise mostly belongs to RGB as they own 375 ha, and the City of Hamilton owns 30 ha. Controlling ownership is evident as RGB owns 610 ha or the 698 ha on the North/ South shores of Cootes Paradise Marsh. That translates to 87.3 % North/South shores of Cootes Paradise Marsh is owned by RGB.
RGB has a long history of acquiring and managing natural lands as part of its program. Some of Cootes Paradise Marsh formed part of the original landholding of Royal Botanical Gardens when it was incorporated in 1941. Historically, the Hamilton Harbour Commission held ownership of Cootes Paradise Marsh by an 1912 Act of Parliament.
Urbanized Pressure Mounts. The Cootes Parradise Marsh to the Escarpment corridor faces intense pressures from the surrounding urbanized portions of Hamilton and Burlington, and major transportation artieries as Highways 403 and 6. The effects of urban growth include stressors such as increased infrastructure needs; demand for recreation and educational programs and facilities; and, unauthorized use and access and damage to sensitive habitats jeopardizing important environmental research and natural areas restoration and enhancement projects.