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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 Land Use Current Land Use The Lake Erie North Shore watershed study area spans the Town of Fort Erie (10%), City of Port Colborne (51%), Township of Wainfleet (24%), and Haldimand County (15%). Land use in the study area is characterized mainly by agriculture, recreation, and natural areas interspersed with strips and nodes of residential areas with one small concentration of urban land uses in Crystal Beach and one major concentration of urban land uses (residential, commercial, industrial) in the City of Port Colborne (Figures 9a and 9b). Numerous active and abandoned quarries are within the Lake Erie North Shore study area. In addition, closed quarries that have been converted to recreational activities are also present in the watershed such as Sherkston Shores Resort and Wainfleet Wetlands Conservation Area. Agriculture The location of the Niagara Peninsula between the moderating influences of the Great Lakes and the Niagara Escarpment creates a unique microclimate that supports a viable agricultural community. In fact, the combination of geography and climate make parts of Niagara a thriving tender fruit district (Planscape 2003). In 2001, the Region of Niagara commissioned a study to assess the nature of agriculture in Niagara; Regional Agricultural Economic Impact Study 2003. The study confirmed that “agriculture is of tremendous importance to the Niagara economy both directly and indirectly” (Planscape 2003). According to the study, in 2001 the agricultural industry generated over $511 million in gross farm receipts in Niagara. Agriculture is the most predominant land use in the Lake Erie North Shore study area and although the study area does not fall within prime agricultural lands, the Good General agricultural lands in this area support numerous prosperous commodity sectors. As described earlier, the mineral soils in the area are rated as Class 3 and Class 4 according to the Canada Land Inventory (CLI) Classification System for Agricultural. These soil classes have moderately severe to severe limitations that restrict the range of crops and/ or require special conservation practices. The limitations affect one or more of the following practices: timing and ease of tillage; planting and harvesting; choice of crops; and methods of conservation (Kingston and Presant 1989). The organic soils in the study area range from Class 2 to Class 4. According to the CLI Capability Classification for Organic Soils Class 2 soils have one minor limitation; this limitation may be woodiness, reaction, flooding, topography, depth or climate. Class 3 and Class 4 soils have moderately severe to severe limitations that restrict the range of crops and/or require special management practices (Kingston and Presant 1989). 38

LAKE ERIE NORTH SHORE WATERSHED PLAN According to Statistics Canada 2006 Agricultural Profile, the main agricultural commodity groups based on the North American Industry Classification System farm-typing categories for each district in the Lake Erie North Shore watershed are: Recreation Town of Fort Erie: animal production, other crop farming, and grain and oilseed; City of Port Colborne: grain and oilseed, animal production, miscellaneous speciality; Township of Wainfleet: grain and oilseed, animal production, miscellaneous speciality; and Haldimand County: grain and oilseed, cattle ranching and farming, and other crop farming The Lake Erie North Shore offers numerous recreational opportunities throughout the watershed. Beaches all along the shoreline provide ample opportunity for swimming, fishing and relaxing, in addition to numerous other beach related activities. Hiking and biking trails can be enjoyed throughout the area, including a portion of the Welland Canal Trail, Gord Harry Conservation Trail, Regional Bicycle Network, Scenic Bike Loops, Greater Niagara Circle Route and the Waterfront Trail along portions of Lake Erie. There are four golf courses in the watershed: Long Beach Country Club and Port Colborne Country Club in Wainfleet, and Coyote Golf Club and Whiskey Run Golf Course are located in Port Colborne. Camping is available at Highland Trailer Park and RV Resort and Pinegrove Park in Lowbanks in Haldimand County, Pleasant Beach Tent and Trailer Park and Sherkston Shores Resort in Port Colborne as well as at Long Beach Conservation Area in Wainfleet. Additional conservation areas in the study area include Morgan‟s Point Conservation Area, Wainfleet Wetlands Conservation Area, Gord Harry Conservation Trail and Baird Estate Wilderness Reserve. Future Land Use In Ontario planning decisions are influenced by all levels of government: federal, provincial, regional and local (e.g. municipal). Although each tier has an appropriate role in planning decisions, co-ordination between tiers is necessary for effective planning and management of respective jurisdictions. For example, in Niagara the federal government would be responsible for regulating railroads, the Welland Canal, and the defense of our international boundary; whereas the provincial government‟s major responsibilities are primarily concerned with matters of provincial interest, for example, provincial transport routes, utilities, property assessment, land use planning, and protection of the environment, as well as numerous aspects of municipal development. Regional governments are responsible for planning, waste management, regional roads, treatment and distribution of water, and community services (e.g. police, health and welfare). Municipalities are primarily responsible for their respective jurisdictions in areas of physical, economic and social development while adhering to provincial and regional policies However, some of the aforementioned responsibilities are shared with respective municipalities with some direction from the provincial government; areas such as treatment and distribution of water, waste management, planning and land use regulation. Therefore, implementation of the Lake Erie North Shore Watershed Plan should be integrated into planning initiatives and roles of regulation by all levels of government. 39

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