Investing in the Future: The Economic Case for Natural Infrastructure in Ontario

Jun 01, 2020   •   Featured , Climate Resilience

in association with the Greenbelt Golden Horseshoe Conservation Authorities Collaborative (GGH CAC), Investing in the Future: The Economic Case for Natural Infrastructure in Ontario is the first-ever study on the cumulative economic and ecological benefits of restoration projects in the province.

This study outlines a comprehensive business case for three proposed restoration projects through evaluating the expected future ecosystem service values (ESVs) that are estimated using original analysis in addition to building off previous Greenbelt and Ontario research.

Case studies:

  • Saltfleet Conservation Area: The Hamilton Conservation Authority is creating a new conservation area located above the Niagara Escarpment in the Upper Stoney Creek and Upper Battlefield Creek watersheds in the east end of the city. 
  • Brock Lands Restoration: The Toronto and Region Conservation Authority will restore over 400 hectares of land at the former Brock Landfill sites to be used for recreation.
  • Lake Scugog Enhancement Project: Lead by the Kawartha Conservation Authority, this project is intended to support the lake’s important local tourism and recreational economy by addressing water quality, nutrient budgets, invasive species, wildlife habitat and recreational amenities in and around the lake.

High-level findings from the three case studies:

  • The Saltfleet Conservation Area could provide up to an estimated $1.5 million in ecosystem services per year.
  • The Brock Lands Restoration could provide an estimated $3.1 million per year in ecosystem services.
  • The Lake Scugog watershed, which has a total area of about 54,000 hectares could provide an estimated $220.9 million per year.

A critical component of strengthening the region’s resilience to the impacts of climate change is the investment in natural assets as infrastructure to help manage some of the largest threats including flooding, water quality issues and rising temperatures.

This report provides a robust approach to developing a business case for natural infrastructure in southern Ontario that can be provided to decision-makers, particularly in municipal and regional governments.

Read the project summaries:

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Read the full report: