Enhancing the Resilience of the Greenbelt (Phase 1)

Ontario Nature is supporting the Federal government’s high profile international commitment to conserve 17% of land and freshwater by 2020.

Feb 07, 2020   •   Natural Systems, Grant

Enhancing the Resilience of the Greenbelt (Phase 1)
Ontario Nature
ontarionature.org

$45,000 (over 1 year)
Grant Approved: October 15, 2018
Grant Stream: Resilient Greenbelt

This project supports the Federal Government’s high-profile international commitment, Target 1, which mandates the conservation of 17% of land and freshwater in Canada by 2020. In collaboration with Indigenous and non-Indigenous community groups, potential candidate sites have been identified for protection. These sites were considered at 3 workshops, where they were mapped, analyzed, and assessed for landscape connectivity, species presence, threats, etc. A total of 52 candidate sites were identified, of which 24 were prioritized with support of local partners. Using Databasin, Ontario Nature incorporated a water resources data layer (representing the "Bluebelt") into mapping and analysis. In total, 93 participants, including members of 12 Indigenous organizations and/or communities, and 36 non-Indigenous organizations, were directly engaged.

This project set the table for respectful relationships between members of Indigenous communities and local community groups in the Greenbelt, enabling and supporting collaborative planning and action. In many cases, a pre-existing relationship among the participants did not exist. For many of the non-Indigenous participants, the workshops provided a unique opportunity to meet and exchange insights and perspectives with their Indigenous neighbours. Participant surveys conducted at the end of workshops indicated that the opportunity to build relationships across cultures was one of the most valued aspects of the workshops. Project partners will work collaboratively to prioritize candidate lands across southern Ontario and collectively build support for land protection among Municipal, Provincial, and Federal policies. Candidate lands will be submitted to the Federal Government for consideration.

The project presents an opportunity to protect Greenbelt lands prioritized for securement and restoration by conservation authorities, in addition to water resources in the Bluebelt, which are critical to growing communities adjacent to the Greenbelt. A connected network of protected spaces in southern Ontario will increase the value of the Greenbelt’s ecosystem services.

Photo: Shari Chambers