This consultation was open from:
March 21, 2019
to May 6, 2019
Land use planning is a process that determines the most appropriate use of land and water. We are developing a fish and wildlife enhanced management area to be called the Amethyst Highlands. It will identify land use activities and define the boundaries of this area.
Description of Policy
This amendment proposes to create a new Fish and Wildlife Category Enhanced Management Area (E2260w) from portions of two General Use Areas (G2622 Spruce-Current and G2625 Rural Areas). The proposed boundaries of the enhanced management area generally extend 2 km from the shores of 13 high quality brook trout lakes (focal lakes), and 1 km from the shores of 3 other brook trout lakes of lesser quality (secondary lakes). Protection has been specifically requested by the public through past forest management plan processes. The total area of the proposed enhanced management area is approximately 9,150 hectares and includes lands within Unorganized Territory, the Municipality of Shuniah and the Township of Dorion.
The primary intent of the enhanced management area will be to provide for the sustainability of the brook trout resource and maintain remoteness of the area. This is proposed to be accomplished by:
- Managing access within the enhanced management area (prohibiting the creation of new roads and trails while allowing existing access routes to remain);
- Excluding activities within 600 metres from the shores of the focal lakes, and 120 metres from the shores of the secondary lakes that have the potential to negatively impact their water quality and aesthetics;
- Excluding all activities within groundwater recharge areas of all focal and secondary lakes. Other land uses and activities may still occur so long as they are consistent with the primary land use intent and permitted by the specific land use policies proposed.
This proposal will attempt to resolve long standing public concerns in this area. Concerns were first raised about access and harvesting activities proposed adjacent to a cluster of remote naturally-reproducing brook trout lakes in the Amethyst Highlands area in 2007. In 2010, a group of area stakeholders requested that the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry amend the Crown land use policies for the area. The Ministry is committed to pursuing an amendment to Crown land use policy to ensure the long-term stability of the naturally-reproducing brook trout fishery and to explore ways of maintaining the remoteness of the area.
This proposal is expected to have significant positive environmental impacts by reducing the risk of introductions of exotic species and risk of increased angling pressure, both of which are harmful to brook trout populations. The proposed policies will also help to ensure the future spawning success of area brook trout by protecting the groundwater flow systems on which they rely. The impact of these policies is expected to help ensure the long-term protection of this sensitive fishery.
The ability of individuals to access this area through existing roads and trails will not change; therefore, traditional uses can and are expected to continue and be relatively unaffected, thereby keeping angling pressure low.
The proposed changes to land use in this area entail a shift from the generally permissive general use area designation and policies (allow a broad range of land uses) that currently apply, to an enhanced management area designation that will limit the types of activities that can occur in the area. These limitations will result from policies that directly prohibit certain activities (no commercial hydro development) as well as from policies that indirectly impact land uses/activities due to the prohibition on new roads and trails within the interior of the enhanced management area.
If the amendment is approved, land use policies for the enhanced management area will provide direction for future project-level and resource management planning decisions, including planning for areas within the Lakehead and Black Spruce forests.
Public consultation opportunities
Comments received during pre-consultation in Spring 2018 were considered in this proposed land use amendment.
Information centres in the form of open houses will be conducted to provide information on this project. Planning Team members will be present at open houses to provide information, collect comments, and answer questions. Open houses will be held city of Thunder Bay, Municipality of Shuniah and Township of Dorion. Dates for these open houses are yet to be determined but will be advertised in local newspapers.
Potentially interested persons (landowners, mineral right holders, etc.) and agencies will receive an invitation to participate in the planning process through direct written notice.
Persons who wish to be added to the mailing list can contact the contact person identified in this Environmental Registry notice.
View materials in person
Some supporting materials may not be available online. If this is the case, you can request to view the materials in person.
Get in touch with the office listed below to find out if materials are available.
435 James Street South
Thunder Bay, ON
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