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Rouge 4

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Liz Brouwer

on 15 July 2014

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Transcript of Rouge 4

What's at Risk?
Putting Nature First in
Rouge National Urban Park
CPAWS, Get Outside Ontario
Rouge Park: unique treasure
Rouge National Urban Park:
opportunity and risk
What can you do
Get Outside Ontario
Past: Rouge Park
Urban Sprawl...
Connecting and Protecting: Cultural Importance
The Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation look to our Anishinabe roots to guide our vision for the future as a strong, caring, connected community who respects the earth's gifts and protects the environment for future generations.

Garry Sault, Elder,
Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation
Rouge National Urban Park History*
High value for First Nations

18th-19th Century:
European settlement

Tourism began

Formation of first "Conservation Authority" group to support protection

Bead Hill National Historic Site designated

Ontario develops Rouge Park Management Plan. . .

Park expands to 3800 ha

: Park recognized in Ontario’s Greenbelt Plan.
1. Modified from http://www.rougepark.com/about/history.phphttp://www.rougepark.com/about/history.php

Rouge National Urban Park History*
Additions of other Park and ON gov't lands in Markham brings park area to 4700 ha.

Review recommends creating a national urban park. CPAWS begins involvement.

Canadian gov't announces commitment for Rouge NUP.

CPAWS submits recommendations to strengthen the conservation focus of Canadian gov't's proposed concept paper.

2013: Cdn gov't announces addition of Federal Lands north to Stouffville, going ahead with Pickering Airport and intention to develop remaining federal lands.
What's at Risk?
Urban Sprawl

70 per cent of wetlands in Southern Ontario have been drained for other land use such as agriculture and urban development (DSF 2012)
Most intact watershed in the Western Lake Ontario Basin
Corridor for species: connectivity
Under the management of the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA), Rouge Park's slogan was: "Wild in the City"
7 million Canadians live within a 1 hour drive of RP...now might be a good time to talk Urban Sprawl!

Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources

Plants: 765
Birds: 225
Fish: 55
Mammals: 27
Reptile/Amphibians: 19

Rare Forests
largest and best example of Canada's rare Carolinian habitat in Toronto
At the current rate, an additional 260,000 acres (1,070 km2) of rural land will be urbanized by 2021, almost double the size of the City of Toronto. About 92% of the land is Ontario's best farmland. (greenbeltontario.org)
The Greater Toronto Area has approved or developed 128,000 acres since 1989, a rate of 9,100 acres per year. In comparison, the City of Portland, Oregon, set an urban growth boundary in 1980 and has consumed land at a rate of only 1,700 acres per year (greenbeltontario.org)
The TRCA has identified habitat loss as the leading reason for the rapid decline of species diversity in southern Ontario. Of the 180 animal species found in the Greater Toronto Area, 110 are at risk and listed as Species of Concern
Jayden Rae
Connecting and Protecting: Agricultural Importance
"These short-term leases have prevented long-term investment in the maintenance of soil quality and croplands because they do not provide the security farmers need to rationalize investing in farm
infrastructure, enhanced environmental practices and perennial crops that have longer growth cycles (e.g., orchards and vineyards)" (DSF 2012)
Agriculture has been a part of the Rouge River area for over 200 years.
Currently, agricultural land covers 59% of the Park’s lands,
Rented to farmers on one-year leases from the TRCA
The Good News...
Or equivalent to 26 million
football fields
If you lined those football fields up
- end to end - they would reach to the moon and back...3 times.

In 45 yrs, Wildlands League has enhanced, protected and conserved approx 13.5 million hectares of Ontario's wilderness
The Bad News....
The first image shows intact forests as they existed 8,000 years ago.
The second shows what we are left with today....
Future: Rouge National Urban Park
“ Respect and support sustainable agriculture and other compatible land uses”
“ Honour diversity, local heritage, cultural inclusiveness... past, present and future”
“ Maintain and improve ecological health and scientific integrity”
“ Encourage people (especially youth) to learn and connect with nature”
“ Foster a culture of …volunteering, engagement, respect and partnership”
“ Inspire people to experience this park”
“ Environmental leadership in park operations”
“ Collaborate to ensure multimodal connectivity and access”
“ Inclusive, progressive governance led by Parks Canada”
Parks Canada’s Guiding Principles
Connecting and Protecting: Agricultural Importance
“The new Rouge National Urban Park, within 100 kilometres of 20% of Canada’s population, opens up immense opportunity to connect people to agriculture and the land that grows the food we eat.”
Chris Hilts,
Chair, Ontario Farmland Trust

“A protected area is a clearly defined geographical space, recognised, dedicated and managed…to achieve the long term conservation of nature…only those areas where the main objective is conserving nature can be considered protected areas; this can include other goals as well, but in the case of conflict, nature conservation will be the priority”*
International Definition of Protection
needs to be the first priority
Protected Areas mean Conservation is Number One.
Prioritizing Ecosystem Health means...
Connectivity is key!
Rouge is a natural treasure

Putting Nature First means prioritizing nature protection in the Park Management Plan and Legislation

Ensuring meaningful connectivity for wildlife means ensuring protection of the "Pickering Lands"

can do
Putting Nature First in
Rouge National Urban Park
Help us get there!
Add your voice: Sign the Petition

Contact your local MP; let them know you want to make nature conservation the FIRST priority

Visit www.lovetherouge.ca for more information

Follow us on Twitter @BeWildON
50 Million HA in 50 Years
Vision is to protect at least ½ of public land and water
National Charity working with array of groups
Wildlands League a Chapter of CPAWS

Rouge National Urban Park
(courtesy of TRCA)
Courtesy of Canadian Geographic
We work with industry....
and Governments...
to conserve large tracts of Ontario's public lands
image: the Boreal forest
that's an area roughly the size of Greece...
Get Outside Ontario is a collaborative youth leadership program that trains youth ages 14 - 18 to be environmental leaders in their communities.
Find out more at www.getoutsideontario.ca
As ownership shifts to Parks Canada, the increased emphasis on visitor experience is evident from the new slogan: "A People's Park"
Freshly bull-dozed field for Toronto zoo parking lot (Rouge Pak)
Pickering Nuclear Plant, view from Rouge Beach
Line 9 railway, next to restored wetland and turtle habitat (Rouge Park)
Rouge Park is part of the traditional territory of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation.
Looking ahead.......
From this list, there is no clear prioritization of nature protection or conservation. Instead "maintaining and improving ecological health and scientific integrity" is a competing priority among many.
Prioritizing nature is consistent with the international definition of a protected area.
In such a busy urban landscape, assuring the long-term health of the park will require strong management tools that prioritize conservation and provide clear guidance for visitor use.
We think this is a problem....
Engaging thousands of people in appreciating and learning about nature, learning about the broader national parks system,
monitoring and restoring ecosystem health,
using a strong science-based research and monitoring system,
and respecting the need to tread lightly in the Rouge National Urban Park to ensure its future health.
Adjacent to the park are federally owned "Pickering Lands" (Yellow). Transport Canada announced in 2013 that there was potential for commercial and industrial development here. If developed, one of the last intact wildlife corridors running from Lake Ontario to the Oak Ridges Moraine would be compromised, which would pose a serious problem for wildlife in the Rouge, and in the entire region.

Better intergovernmental cooperation is required to ensure that these “Pickering Lands” remain permanently protected from urban development.
Conserving the Rouge’s natural heritage - including restoration of species at risk habitat
Full transcript