Plan to Preserve Natural Heritage

The County is working on a project to map the County’s Natural Heritage features.  The idea is to identify what should be preserved – things like woodlands, streams, wetlands and grasslands.  It’s called a Natural Heritage System Plan (NHS Plan) because they are all interconnected.  The requirement to have this kind of plan was specified by the Province some time ago.  On Monday December 2,  the second of a series of meetings was held to explain this to the Public and solicit feedback.  As usual, not a lot of people showed up – I counted 15 – and these seemed to be mostly concerned with issues not covered by the plan.  The consultants presenting the details said that they were not providing specific policies or strategies to implement the plan.  

The specific feedback requested from the public was to choose between three options.  At first glance, these seemed identical but they were simply three definitions of what should be included ranging from medium sized areas to small areas. For example, for woodlands, the minimum sized lots ranged from 4 ha to 1 ha in settlement areas.

The impact of the final plan (expected perhaps in the Spring of 2020) will be modifications to the County’s Official Plan but it will not affect “Settlement Areas”.  It’s expected that there will be a new section in the Official Plan that will deal with Natural Heritage.

Audience members asked about their perception that Ford had stopped protection of these areas but the consultants said that “No – he basically said hold until the County has identified areas to protect. [Which is what this plan does]. All Ford has done is to move the responsibility of Conservation groups [e.g. GRCA] to be only concerned per their previous responsibility – that is, flood control”.

But there is some interesting info if you look for it – some examples are in the table below:

  Percentage of
Northumberland County area
All Wetlands 14.8% 10%
Provincially significant wetlands (inland) 3.7%  
Provincially significant wetlands (coastal) 0.6%  
All Woodlands 36% 30%
Significant Woodlands 29%  
Significant Wildlife Habitat – Deer Wintering Areas 4.9%  
Open water 4.3%  
County Forest 1.2%  
Lands owned by Conservation Authorities 0.9%  

The County’s vision for the NHS is good:

“A resilient, interconnected Natural Heritage System that preserves and enhances natural features, ecological functions and native biodiversity, contributes to healthy watersheds, recognizes the important role the agricultural and rural landscape plays in the system, and maintains the unique natural landscape and geography of the County for future generations”.

Although this report is what an average person (in this case me) would understand from this project, I must comment (sorry) that it’s not easy to follow unless you are an expert on planning and also an expert on things like forests.  It’s a mix of planning, politics and environmentalism.  Most people will not know what they think of the resulting plan until they see how it affects specific issues and by then it will be too late.  Meanwhile, we need to rely on planners and politicians making the right choices.

The good news is that the Province and the County are seriously looking at preserving our Natural Heritage – but this is only a first step.  Next will come changes to the Official Plan.


Addition 27 Jan 2020:  Interactive Map showing Options

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B Jackson
4 years ago

Please watch the following and decide for yourself :

B Jackson
4 years ago

This fits perfectly with UN agenda 2030.
Many people have raised legitimate concerns.
Please be informed.
Follow the money.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  B Jackson
4 years ago

UN Agenda 2030
“In September 2015, Canada and 192 other UN member states adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The 2030 Agenda is a 15-year global framework centred on an ambitious set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), 169 targets and over 230 indicators. The 2030 Agenda envisions a secure world free of poverty and hunger, with full and productive employment, access to quality education and universal health coverage, the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls, and an end to environmental degradation. The 2030 Agenda is a global framework of action for people, planet, prosperity, peace, and partnership.

WOW!!! The five pillars of p. Government alliteration.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Wally Keeler
4 years ago

Wally, we should be proud that our Councillors got the same memo (see

People The Town supports and cares for the social and physical wellbeing of its citizens
Places The Town protects, preserves and promotes its natural assets, heritage, arts, culture and tourism
Programs The Town provides efficient and effective corporate, community, business and recreational services for its residents, businesses and visitors
Partnerships The Town engages in strong, sustainable public-private partnerships to improve the quality of life for everyone
Prosperity The Town plans for, markets and develops assets for economic resiliency and financial security

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Ken Strauss
4 years ago

Yes, the 5 Pillars of P.
Policy as alliteration.
Government ‘poetry’
People Planet Prosperity Peace Partnership Places Programs.

The Policy of P.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Wally Keeler
4 years ago

We should be very thankful to be part of the collective. It is poetic justice!

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Ken Strauss
4 years ago

There is a missing P. Principles.

4 years ago

I didn’t know about the meeting either. And I am on the Town notification email list for upcoming events, road closures etc.They should include meetings such as these.

Miriam Mutton
Reply to  GailR
4 years ago

hi Gail, the County has a notification sign-up for various matters including newsletter, County Council and notices. I agree with you, however, that it would be helpful to have County news available via the Town web site. Perhaps a link on the home page. And, if it was not for the posting in Northumberland News this week I would have missed the County announcement that residents can swap their recycling bins for different sizes and buy lids for the blue and grey bins or even buy more bins. Or get a green bin pest lock. December 9 in Cobourg at the County Works Yard on Elgin Street.

terry marrocco
Reply to  Miriam Mutton
4 years ago

Thanks . I just subscribed to Northumberland and unsubscribed for something else

terry marrocco
4 years ago

Many thanks John, I did not know about this meeting. Appreciate all your work but could you give us a heads up of meetings you might be attending.
Just skimmed through the detailed reports you linked, thank you. Like you I am not a planner, nor specialist in natural resources management.
None of them not only do not maintain 100% of our wetlands and woodlands, but they do not ENHANCE.
Even the UN is hiring Mark Carney on sustainability, Trudeau is planting 200 million trees.Humankind is destroying the world. We need to enhance, plant our lands, not allow a percentage to be eaten up in development. As Diana Beresford-Kroeger, botanist, medical biochemist says in her film, “Call of the Forest” if each of us were to plant 1 tree annually for 6 years we would have a chance for sustainability. We need tree planting mandates for all aspects of housing and development in our county. Enhance Cobourg’s urban forest plan.

Bill Thompson
Reply to  terry marrocco
4 years ago
Join /participate in the Highway of Heroes initiative as a gesture of respect for the military / veterans while saving the environment for the benefit of all mankind.
100,000 trees planted so far since 2015

4 years ago

How can they be doing this when the GRCA won;t even post a recent version of the regions Wet land s and flood plans what they have on the Web site is 13 yrs old ??

Reply to  perplexed
4 years ago

I thought the Harbour was man made .

Bill Thompson
4 years ago

One to add to the list for Cobourg …Preserve our Heritage Harbour .

4 years ago

These always sound so promising, then nothing happens. The town had a similar plan to interconnect all of our natural features but I haven’t seen any of it actually happen.

Take the dog park for example. Why is it not connected to severely underused James Cockburn Park? I know the dog park is on leased land but surely there is a way. People west of William could walk their dogs to the dog park quite easily, instead of driving. People to the east of James Cockburn Park could walk to it easily also.

Anyways that’s a town issue. As far as the County goes, a few nice sounded paragraphs and displays don’t mean a damn thing unless they are acted upon. We shall see.