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Four key provincial plans that protect and manage the impacts of growth in South Central Ontario have been reviewed by a provincial Advisory Committee. A total of 87 recommendations have been made regarding the Greenbelt Plan and Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan and the third review of the Niagara Escarpment Plan and the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe . The recommendations provide a framework to accommodate population and employment growth in a more sustainable manner, curbing urban sprawl and protecting productive farmland.

The Advisory Panel's final report also recommends using an integrated watershed management approach and acknowledges the role and responsibilities of Ontario's 36 Conservation Authorities in helping to implement many of the plans' outcomes.

Eighteen Conservation Authorities specifically deliver programs and activities that help the Province and municipalities to reach the important environmental objectives of these plans.

Protecting Our Future – Ontario Provincial Plans and Conservation Authorities (2015) (Brochure)

provincial plan and CAs map 2015

Map of Conservation Authorities within the boundaries of the four provincial plans.

These provincial plans strive to protect important ecosystems that are needed for a healthy environment, economy, and for our own well-being. The Greenbelt Plan has a particular focus on protection of agricultural lands.

The Growth Plan helps the Ontario government plan for growth in a coordinated and strategic way, balancing the needs of the economy with the environment.

wheat-field

 
Conservation Authorities’ watershed management programs, regulatory and land use planning activities, monitoring, annd stewardship, help the Province and municipalities to reach the objectives of these planning policies and provide opportunities for Ontarians to connect with nature.

Read Conservation Ontario's media release.

Final report of the Advisory Panel.

Download Conservation Ontario's preliminary position paper:
Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe

Download Conservation Ontario's preliminary position paper:
Provincial Review of the Greenbelt, Niagara Escarpment, and Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plans

Why do we need Healthy Ecosystems?

All of us in southern Ontario rely daily on the benefits that these plans protect

Ecosystem Benefits Graphic

Ecosystems Are Under Threat

The resilience of Ontario’s watersheds in the Greater Toronto Area is challenged significantly by rapid urbanization, changing land uses, a loss of biodiversity, and reduced connectivity between natural areas.

The use of a consistent policy framework across the Greater Golden Horseshoe, which recognizes the benefits of healthy ecosystems provides municipalities, Conservation Authorities, the Province and other stakeholders with strong support and guidance to protect natural heritage systems and features and hydrologically sensitive features.

Integrated Watershed Management allows us to address multiple issues and objectives and enables us to plan within a very complex and uncertain environment.

These plans have assisted municipalities, as well as the Province, with efforts to reduce urban sprawl while focusing development in more appropriate areas.

  • The Greenbelt Plan protects agricultural lands, local food sources and ecological features and functions as well as encourages people to enjoy their nearby nature;
  • The Niagara Escarpment Plan protects important watercourses and headwater features, as well as its natural landscapes and ecological functions;
  • The Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan emphasizes watershed planning and the preservation of the moraine’s hydrologic features.

Conservation Authorities rely on an integrated watershed management approach which allows us to address multiple issues and objectives and enables us to plan within a very complex and uncertain environment.

Conservation Authorities Collaborate to Protect the Oak Ridges Moraine

Nine Conservation Authorities operate in a special coalition sharing resources and delivering programs and activities that monitor and report on conditions in the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan area.

The Conservation Authority Moraine Coalition just released a new watershed report card (2015) on the Oak Ridges Moraine and adjacent Greenbelt lands. While forest cover received a ‘good’ grade, surface water quality was only graded as ‘fair’. The report card points out that almost half of the subwatersheds show surface water quality as fair, poor or very poor as a result of land use activities in many parts of the study area.

Groundwater quality was reported as ‘locally good’ across the study area.

For more details: http://trca.info/camc/

Resources

Fact Sheet: Conservation Authorities Help Meet the Goals of Provincial Plans
Fact Sheet: Conservation Authorities Regulatory and Land Use Planning Activities Contribute to Provincial Plan Outcomes
Fact Sheet: Healthy Watersheds and Healthy People