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7.4.6 Regions/ Watersheds/ Local Protection
How You Can Make Choices That Treat the Earth Well
Hamilton-Halton Watershed Stewardship Program
Begun in 1994 and still on-going this program has priorities of fish and wildlife habitat rehabilitation, rural non-point source control, education and communications. This watershed-wide program is supported by corporate, agencies organizations and private landowners
This support is the foundation upon which the Bay Area Restoration Council (BARC) initiated the Hamilton Harbour Watershed Stewardship Project (HHWSP) together with the Hamilton Region Conservation Authority and Conservation Halton in 1994. The responsibility for this single watershed crosses many boundaries. For example, it covers 5 federal electoral ridings, showing the incredible cooperation and support of those caring for the ‘water that we walk on’ i.e. their watershed.
The stewardship agreements in the harbour watershed cover over 6,500 hectares (ha) of land, which includes 120 kilometres (km) of riparian habitat and 2,900 ha of significant wetland and upland habitat in the Spencer and Grindstone Creek subwatersheds. Since 1994, over 3,000 urban and rural landowners have shared information about their individual roles in the protection and enhancement of locally significant wetlands, uplands and riparian areas of the harbour watershed. Over 350 landowners have made verbal agreements to consider the affects of their land management practices on the health of the harbour watershed. Another 900 or more landowners are conservation-minded.
By the end of 2002, 219 landowners had become involved in various rehabilitation projects which include establishing riparian buffers, enhancing wetland and upland habitat, fencing cattle from creeks, constructing manure storage facilities, and controlling erosion in the Hamilton Harbour Watershed. Landowners receive technical, financial and volunteer assistance to implement these projects, and sign 10 year management agreements.
Over 12 km of riparian habitat and almost 46 ha of upland and wetland habitat have been rehabilitated. The planting of indigenous species of vegetation and bioengineering is promoted and implemented. In some cases, plant stock has been provided by BARC’s Classroom Nursery Program or through plant rescues. Almost 1,600 volunteers (not including landowners) have participated in planting projects since 1996, and this is expected to continue. Current projects under negotiation could result in an additional 10 km of riparian habitat and 37 ha of upland and wetland being restored, as well as additional projects to address non-point source pollution in the near future.
In 1999, the Hamilton Region Conservation Authority and Conservation Halton signed a memorandum of agreement to expand stewardship activities to watersheds outside the Hamilton Harbour Watershed. The watersheds include Bronte Creek, Fifty Creek and Stoney Creek watersheds.
- By February 13, 2003:
- Over 3,800 volunteer hours have been devoted since 1994
- Over 38,000 trees and shrubs have been planted
- Over 11,000 herbaceous species have been planted
- 40 Youth have been employed through the HHWSP
The ongoing development and implementation of strategies, like watershed studies, source protection planning, and natural heritage strategies continue to involve partnerships with organizations including BARC. Landowners and the community are all involved in protection, rehabilitation and monitoring activities in watersheds of Hamilton-Wentworth and Halton Regions beyond 2005.
The HHWSP received National recognition by Wildlife Habitat Canada’s Countryside Canada Stewardship Award Program. See Hamilton Region Conservation Authority www.hamrca.on.ca/
On an Ontario map, locate the watershed of the Hamilton Region CA.
- What is the total area of the watershed?
- Name the major groups that support this program.
- List at least 5 differences seen between before and after photographs.
- 4.Examine the priorities stated and, using the photographs, state how these are being met.
Locate the Conservation Authority for your area and find out if a similar program is underway.