It is extremely valuable that natural heritage corridors be made a vital part of the planning process.
The document states that, “A high value was placed on natural cover in riparian areas (i.e., areas bordering rivers and streams) to build linkages, because these habitats serve as important natural corridors for most plants and animals. Linkages avoid barriers such as major highways and developed urban areas that have no natural features. Each core area has multiple linkages to provide options for movement and to serve as a safety net in case one of the linkages becomes weakened. The draft NHS is connected to core areas and linkages within the Greenbelt Plan as well as to natural features beyond the boundary of the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe.” Yet, many rivers and creeks are not included in linkage protection areas according to the mapviewer. More concerning is the lack of linkage protection to those rivers and streams that connect to Lake Ontario especially in urban areas.
Furthermore, the large spaces between some of the proposed linkage areas will restrict and direct wildlife movement corridors in some areas (especially in the eastern areas just outside the Greenbelt).
There is also a need to identify smaller core natural areas in highly fragmented landscapes such as within urban centres and surrounding these centres.
The proposed mapping excludes hedgerows. Hedgerows play important roles as linkage areas but are fast disappearing. If they are not part of the proposed mapping , these important routes and habitats will not only disappear but will force redirection of wildlife to other routes that might not be viable.
The mapping also seems to exclude the identification of natural heritage mapping conducted by municipalities and conservation authorities and these data layers must be included in the final map.
[Original Comment ID: 211043]
Submitted February 12, 2018 11:06 AM