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Lake Erie North Shore Watershed Plan - Niagara Peninsula ...

Lake Erie North Shore Watershed Plan - Niagara Peninsula ...

LAKE ERIE NORTH SHORE

LAKE ERIE NORTH SHORE WATERSHED PLAN the watershed have riparian cover. Once again, Environment Canada recommends at least 30 percent of the watershed should be in forest cover, 10 percent wetland cover, and at least 75 percent of the watercourses should have a recommended 30 meter riparian buffer. The guidelines are intended as minimum ecological requirements and are meant to provide guidance in setting local habitat restoration and protection targets. The following chart (Table 24) specifies the upland, wetland and riparian habitat percentages for each subwatershed in the study area. This chart should be used in conjunction with the Restoration Strategy to prioritize the implementation of riparian, upland and wetland restoration projects. Table 24: Subwatershed Habitat Statistics Subwatershed Name Percent Upland Percent Wetlands Percent Riparian Lowbanks Drain 20.1 21.7 23.6 Hoover Drain 19.4 13.1 64.0 Lake Erie 8 13.6 8.0 12.9 Lake Erie 7 37.4 21.8 31.6 Lake Erie 6 9.5 17 29.3 Casey Drain 21.8 16.1 12.5 Lake Erie 5 13.9 3.4 13.1 Wainfleet Marsh 31.7 20.4 98.9 Lake Erie 4 10.4 0 8.1 Lake Erie 3 13.4 16.0 30.1 Eagle Marsh Drain 11.8 12.8 32.0 Welland Canal South 7.2 1.1 11.3 Lake Erie 2 13.6 16.9 25.2 Wignell Drain 9.3 5.6 17.4 Beaver Dam Creek 28.3 21.2 20.8 P.C. Oil Mill Creek 21.1 10.2 39.0 Bearss Drain 20.3 13.9 24.3 Point Abino Drain 38.6 18.9 43.4 Bay Beach Area Drain 20.5 11.6 35.1 Estimating Ecosystem Services Ecosystem services „are the benefits that people obtain, either directly or indirectly, from our ecological systems. These services can be understood in ecological terms and they can also be translated into economic terms through valuation studies (MNR 2009c)‟. The Ministry of Natural Resources commissioned a study intended to understand the socio-economic value of our ecological systems and how this information could be used as a tool to support policy and planning decisions as well as to develop a defensible economic rationale for the conservation of southern Ontario‟s natural heritage systems. Although ecosystem services form the “foundation of human well-being and they also represent a significant part of the total economic value of our landscape and economy” (MNR 2009c), their value is often not considered. 234

LAKE ERIE NORTH SHORE WATERSHED PLAN The pilot study methodology was approached by assigning a value to each respective ecosystem category based on an average derived from research for similar research sites. This method is known as „value transfer‟ or „benefits transfer‟ and was used because it is not feasible to conduct valuation studies on the entire study area due to significant time and financial constraints. The project generated estimates for southern Ontario for the yearly value of ecosystem services. However, one of the key findings of the study was that due to the number of gaps in existing valuation study data, the results present a greatly under-estimated value of the natural systems. The science of Ecosystem Services Valuation is still relatively young and has not yet “progressed to the point of matching changes in landscape configuration and ecosystem processes to levels of the provision and the values of the corresponding services. These processes affect ecological indicators like net primary productivity, biodiversity, soil quality, runoff, sedimentation rates, nutrient cycling, and natural disturbance processes, which in turn underlie the provision of most ecosystem services” (MNR 2009c). Although still a relatively new science, it is hopeful that as the science improves and data gaps are filled that Ecosystem Services will be considered in future provincial and local policy decision making. This tool would enhance the ability of decision makers to make informed decisions in areas such as cost-benefit analysis and to compare outcomes of various scenarios of different policy criteria (MNR 2009c). Implementation Responsibilities and Recommended Management Actions The Lake Erie North Shore Watershed Restoration Strategy is guided by an implementation framework (Table 24). The implementation framework has been designed to account for the watershed plan objectives which were derived from key issues in the watershed and extensive public input. The implementation framework is guided by the Government of Canada‟s vision for integrated community sustainability planning, which envisions all parties involved to focus limited financial and human resources in ways that will best serve common objectives at all levels of government (Godfrey 2005). To this end, the implementation framework identifies project stakeholders (e.g., provincial agencies, regional government watershed municipalities, public interest groups and landowners), and recommended management actions for each watershed plan objective. Implementing the Recommended Actions Lead project stakeholders and those who should be involved in the project have been identified in the following framework. The recommended management actions for the Lake Erie North Shore Watershed include planning and regulatory actions (e.g., Official Plan amendments), project opportunities on private and public lands (e.g., riparian buffer planting, wetland creation), and areas requiring additional research and monitoring (e.g., ecological linkages, geomorphic assessments) in the watershed. The budget for NPCA restoration projects is identified in the table. If the project is 235

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