A natural heritage system is an ecologically based delineation of nature and natural function – a system of connected or to be connected green and natural areas that provide ecological functions over a longer period of time and enable movement of species. Natural heritage systems encompass or incorporate natural features, functions and linkages (also referred to as ‘corridors’) as component parts within them and across the landscape. They also enable the linking of different landscapes; reference Natural Heritage Reference Manual, 2010, OMNR
Natural Heritage Plan Workshop for Mississippi Mills
The Municipality of Mississippi Mills is holding a workshop on March 1st, to share the Natural Heritage Plan for the municipality and to obtain public input to the plan. Details below and at the town website at http://www.mississippimills.ca/en/news/index.aspx?newsId=8427c6f5-420c-4185-91d4-1e4ac746dd48
For further information about the Natural Heritage System concept and MVFN’s role, under the leadership of Dr. Tineke Kuiper, in development of a plan for Mississippi Mills, see this description in an article by Dr. Kuiper: http://mvfn.ca/upcoming-council-vote-on-the-adoption-of-the-natural-heritage-system-concept-plan/
NATURAL HERITAGE PLAN WORKSHOP DETAILS:
Wednesday, March 1, 2017 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Almonte Old Town Hall, 14 Bridge Street, Almonte, ON
ALL MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC are invited to attend a workshop to review and comment on the Municipality of Mississippi Mills Natural Heritage Plan Workshop.
THIS WORKSHOP is an opportunity to review the preliminary information and material associated with the Natural Heritage Plan, as well as a chance to discuss and comment on the Natural Heritage Plan. Please join us in order to provide your insight.
THE WORKSHOP will be held on: Wednesday, March 1, 2017 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Almonte Old Town Hall, 14 Bridge Street, Almonte, ON.
If you require additional information, please contact the Municipal Planner, Stephen Stirling, at (613) 256-2064 ext.259.
Town of Mississippi Mills set to hear your views on environmental zoning for Burnt Lands Alvar!
NOTE: Featured photo with this post is of the wildflower Hairy Beardtongue (Penstemon hirsutus). photo by Ken Allison
One of the most effective ways you can help protect natural areas is to support municipal government when they consider policy changes to enhance protection of natural areas or restrict development in these areas.
If you live in the Town of Mississippi Mills, you have that chance Tuesday, May 5, 2015. Council is set to consider public opinion on their proposed rezoning of much of Burnt Lands Alvar as an environmental protection zone. This is a good thing! If you agree, then attend the public meeting in support of the rezoning (or write to tell Council that you support this rezoning. Details for submitting comments are found below and on the Public Meeting Notice). Even if you do not intend to speak, attendance at the meeting would afford you the opportunity to hand deliver your written views or to simply be an observer and register your name to be informed of the Council decision, which will be made at a later date. If you cannot attend, you may wish to make your opinion known to the town by submitting your written comment, as mentioned.
When: May 5, 2015 at 6:30 pm.
Where: Town of Mississippi Mills Council Chambers, 3131 Old Perth Road, Almonte, Ontario.
- THE PURPOSE AND INTENT of the Official Plan and Zoning By-law Amendments are to provide environmental protection for the Burnt Land ANSI from intensive rural development by amending rural development policies in the Community Official Plan and placing the lands within the Burnt Lands ANSI within an Environmental Protection (EP) Zone.
- ANY PERSON may attend the public meeting and/or make written or verbal representation either in support of or in opposition to the proposed Official Plan Amendment and the Zoning By-law Amendment. Written submissions regarding the proposed amendments are to be filed with the Town Clerk at the Town of Mississippi Mills Municipal Office, 3131 Old Perth Road, R.R. #2, P.O. Box 400, Almonte, Ontario, K0A 1A0.
Further information about the Burnt Lands Alvar may be found elsewhere on our website; as well as an opportunity to donate to our Burnt Lands Alvar Campaign.
Field naturalists launch campaign to save the Burnt Lands Alvar ANSI
January 9, 2015
The Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists (MVFN) have recently launched an appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board in order to prevent development that would destroy a portion of the Burnt Lands Alvar, a provincially significant Area of Natural and Scientific Interest (ANSI), one of several natural treasures in Lanark County.
A developer was given provisional approval on November 10, 2014 by the Lanark County Land Division Committee to build a cluster lot housing development between Ramsay Concession 12 and Golden Line Road, south of March Road. This development would violate provincial and municipal regulations for this ANSI by degrading the ANSI landscape and its ecological functions, and it could set a precedent for further development in the Burnt Lands.
Alvars, which date back to about 10,000 years ago, support distinctive flora and fauna, and are found in very few places – parts of Ontario and the U.S. Great Lakes Region, and in a few regions in Sweden and Estonia. The Burnt Lands Alvar is considered the fourth best example in all of North America.
These natural features are characterized by limestone plains with thin or no soil. Often flooded in the spring and affected by drought in midsummer, they are home to a very hardy group of flora and fauna that have adapted to the harsh conditions of the alvar.
The Burnt Lands Alvar ANSI is located east of Almonte, straddling Ramsay Ward and the City of Ottawa, on either side of the March Road. It is an outstanding example of alvar habitat – combining alvar pavement, alvar grasslands, alvar shrub lands, treed alvar and wetlands. Besides its unique flora, the alvar also supports 82 breeding bird species, 48 butterfly species, 98 species of owlet moths, globally rare species of land snail, globally rare invertebrates, and a kind of carabid beetle found nowhere else in the world. Although the alvar is not a prairie, it hosts many prairie species such as prairie sawflies and a thriving population of wingless prairie leafhoppers.
Conserving biodiversity is essential for Ontario’s long-term prosperity and environmental health. The treasures of our natural world need to be preserved for future generations. The cluster lot development in the ANSI would cause widespread disturbance and degrade flora and fauna, including the habitat of endangered species and threatened species. It would also compromise connectivity to adjacent alvar properties and introduce many non-native species.
The Provincial Policy Statement, the Lanark County Official Plan and the Mississippi Mills Official Plan all require protection of the habitat of endangered species and threatened species. Furthermore, they require that there shall be no negative impact on the ANSI or its ecological functions, or on adjacent lands.
Part of the Burnt Lands Alvar ANSI is private land, and many private landowners cherish their land and provide good stewardship; part is a Nature Reserve Class Provincial Park; and part is owned by the City of Ottawa.
In addition to submitting an appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board to halt this development, the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists have started a campaign to publicize the issue and raise funds for the appeal process. The campaign begins with a short presentation by Ken Allison, past president of both MVFN and the Ottawa Field-Naturalist’s Club, on January 15 at 7:30 p.m. at the United Church Hall, 106 Elgin Street, Almonte, before the featured lecture.
The public can support the campaign through the DONATE NOW button on the MVFN website or by contacting Theresa Peluso at .
Presentation by Ken Allison – What is an Alvar? Burnt Lands Alvar: A rare ecosytem of execptional quality
The River and the Appleton Wetland Report kicks off new MVFN series
The Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists (MVFN) natural history lecture series resumes for a new season Thursday, September 18 in Almonte. The theme for this year’s series is a twist on the conundrum “When A Tree Falls in the Forest, Does Anyone Hear?” If no one is there to hear the sound of a tree as it crashes through the undergrowth to the forest floor, was it ever there?” Nature teaches us that when we ignore the ‘crashing trees’, we do so at our own peril. Like a stone dropped into a pond, the impacts of changes to our natural environment grow in an ever-widening circle, reaching into every aspect of our lives. This year’s speakers will challenge us to inform ourselves and engage or perhaps reengage with important issues affecting our natural world.
The Appleton Silver Maple Swamp. photo by Al Seaman
The series begins with an issue close to home with a talk based on the Appleton Wetlands and the findings outlined in an MVFN report The Appleton Wetland: Its Decline, Cause and Recommended Action released last month. The Appleton silver maple swamp, which has been flooded each spring for generations, is designated as a provincially significant wetland and an ANSI, or area of natural and scientific interest – declared by the provincial government in recognition of its unique ecological features. By 2006 however, extensive damage to the flood-tolerant trees in the wetland became obvious. Concerns about the decline were raised to the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority to no avail. In 2011, and again in 2013, MVFN formed a research group to examine the possible causes of damage to the trees, including the possibility of adverse effects due to continually high water levels as a result of ongoing power generation operations in Almonte.
Speaker for The Appleton Wetland Report presentation will be Al Seaman, a Professional Engineer, and member of MVFN’s Appleton Wetland Research Group and lead author of the report released in August. Mr. Seaman, an Almonte resident and native of the northwestern Quebec mining town of Noranda, graduated from McGill University as an Electrical Engineer. Early on in his career Al realized that goals of industry do not always respect the requirements of pristine nature.
Seaman’s lecture topic is ‘The River’, specifically the Mississippi River with a focus on the stretch from Almonte to Appleton. Mr. Seaman will endeavour to demonstrate the impact of changing water levels on the extensive Appleton wetland.
All are welcome to this MVFN presentation. Find out why water levels matter and get answers to all your questions about the detailed findings of the research group! The talk takes place at 7:30 pm, Thursday, September 18, 2014 at the Almonte United Church Social Hall, 106 Elgin St., Almonte, ON. There is a non-member fee of $5. Refreshments will be available. For further information, please contact MVFN’s Program Chair Gretta Bradley at .
Article by Tineke Kuiper, published in The Millstone:
Upcoming Council Vote on the Adoption of the Natural Heritage System Concept Plan
by Tineke Kuiper
To all of you who enjoy the natural beauty of the flora and fauna of Mississippi Mills and would like to protect it for future generations, an important vote will take place this Tuesday (September 16, 2014) at the municipal building, 3131 Old Perth Rd, at 6:15 PM. The Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists have worked closely with the Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority and Town staff to develop a Natural Heritage System (NHS) that is appropriate for our municipality, based on additional guidance from the Ministry of Natural Resources and other sources. In addition to the protection of provincially significant wetlands and ANSIs, such as the Burnt Lands and Appleton Wetlands, current legislation also requires the identification and protection of significant woodlands and the identification of an NHS for the municipality of Mississippi Mills. A preliminary draft NHS was provided to Staff on July 2013, and a concept plan for an NHS was presented to Council on May 20, 2014, along with background documentation.
An NHS consists of connected Natural Heritage areas (Core areas), whereby all the individual parts are linked, often through rivers and creeks, and work together as a system to maintain biological and geological diversity, ecological functions, and viable populations of native species. An ecologically based NHS is an important (municipal) planning approach that allows us to look at the overall landscape level — the bigger picture — and counteract fragmentation of the landscape, the process by which large interconnected natural areas are converted into a series of smaller, often isolated natural areas that no longer function ecologically as they did prior to fragmentation, principally due to ‘edge effects,’ and to the inability of small areas to support viable populations of species that have large territories or home ranges. A piecemeal approach to development contributes to the problem. Thus, an NHS is more effective for natural heritage conservation, and it helps in directing proposed development to areas where there will be the least impact on our Natural Heritage areas.
If you value the many plant and animal species that Mississippi Mills is still fortunate to have, please show your support for adopting an NHS by attending the Council of the Whole meeting, which is open to the public, on Tuesday, September 16. Let’s make our Town one that sets an example for others to follow.