Significant Wildlife Habitat Criteria Schedule for Ecoregion 3W

ERO number
Notice type
Posted by
Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry
Notice stage
Proposal posted
Comment period
January 16, 2018 - March 2, 2018 (45 days) Closed
Last updated

This consultation was open from:

January 16, 2018
to March 2, 2018

Proposal summary

Ontario is a big place with incredible wildlife diversity. The way we protect wildlife habitat often varies by region. We are developing a technical manual about the identification, description and prioritization of significant wildlife habitat in the northwest region of the province.

Proposal details

Description of policy

The Significant Wildlife Habitat Technical Guide (SWHTG) was produced in the year 2000 by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) and was approved in March 2001 (Environmental Registry (ER) number PB00E6005). It was developed to support the Provincial Policy Statement and the Natural Heritage Reference Manual. The SWHTG is a more detailed technical manual that provides descriptions, information, references, and criteria of wildlife habitats for the province of Ontario that are to be considered for significance. The SWHTG is advisory in nature and intended to be used by ecologists, biologists, environmental planners. It has mainly been used by the development industry to support municipal planning purposes, but recently has been used by consultants for proposed renewable energy developments.

During development of the Oak Ridges Moraine Technical Papers in 2004, it was found that the SWHTG has gaps related to significance criteria when looking at specific landscapes. The SWHTG recognizes that due to Ontario’s vast size and incredible biodiversity, what may be significant in one location may not be significant in another. To address these differences, MNRF has created Significant Wildlife Habitat Eco-regional Criteria Schedules that support the SWHTG. These schedules provide significance criteria that are reflective of the SWHTG and specific to the geographic area of each eco-region. The schedules do not replace the SWHTG, but are companion documents to present the significance criteria for identifying candidate significant wildlife habitat in an eco-region in a format that will be more efficient and effective for the development industry to use. To date, final criteria schedules have been produced for eco-regions 3E, 4E (Draft), 5E, 6E and 7E. Schedule 3W represents the first criterion schedule to be drafted for the Northwest Region. This schedule follows the criteria within the SWHTG as well as similar development and formatting to those schedules which have been previously finalized. As interim direction until the schedules are finalized, the criteria and information identified in this schedule for eco-region 3W will be deemed to be acceptable by the MNRF.

The Provincial Policy Statement under the Planning Act, Ontario Regulation 359/09 (Renewable Energy Approval Regulation) under the Environmental Protection Act, and environmental assessment guidance such as the Class Environmental Assessment for Resource Stewardship and Facility Development Projects, all recognize significant wildlife habitat (SWH) as a natural heritage feature in the province of Ontario. The SWHTG was developed as a policy document to support development applicants when considering SWH. Across Ontario, policy for SWH sets out requirements to identify habitat and then consider the potential effects on habitat during the development planning process. This way, the potential negative environmental effects on identified habitat can be considered and mitigation measures can be utilized to minimize those effects. To be identified as SWH, the wildlife habitat must be described in the SWHTG and meet the significance criteria. Therefore only the best, most representative and rarest wildlife habitats are considered significant. Habitat for Endangered and Threatened species identified within the Endangered Species Act are not included as SWH and not a part of this policy proposal.

Significant Wildlife Habitat Criteria Schedule for Eco-region 3W

Purpose of policy

To give notice of and invite comment on proposed eco-regional significance criteria related to the determination of Significant Wildlife Habitat in Eco-region 3W within the province of Ontario.

Other information

The methodology for development of the draft eco-region schedules was presented to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing and the draft eco-regional schedules were presented to MNRF staff as part of the Renewable Energy Natural Heritage Assessment Guidance training (spring to fall 2010) and to renewable energy consultants and proponents during training held in January and May 2011.

The following web links provide supporting information:

Eco-regional Criteria Schedules 3E, 4E (Draft), 5E, 6E, 7E and References

Ecoregions of Ontario

Significant Wildlife Habitat Technical Guide

Significant Wildlife Habitat Mitigation Support Tool

Other public consultation opportunities

Consultation has been ongoing for the development of the eco-regional criteria schedules since Oak Ridges Moraine (ORM) Significant Wildlife Habitat Technical Paper Number 2 was produced in 2004 and approved in 2007. ORM guidance is the predecessor to the draft eco-regional criteria schedules. Consultation with the development, mineral and aggregate industries, conservation authorities, municipalities and provincial ministries has occurred prior to the Environmental Registry posting for previous criteria schedules (3E, 5E, 6E, 7E). The methods used for the creation and development of the eco-regional criterion schedule for 3W were similar to previous schedules.

Supporting materials

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Commenting is now closed.

The comment period was from January 16, 2018
to March 2, 2018

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Danielle Tarrant

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435 James Street South
Suite B001
Thunder Bay, ON
P7E 6S7

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