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Environmental Stewardship

The Niagara Parks Commission is one of Ontario’s original environmental organizations. Since its founding in 1885, Niagara Parks has served a mandate that includes the preservation of natural habitat along the Niagara River corridor from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario.

Today, Niagara Parks’ environmental stewardship mandate is at the very centre of its mission as the Commission works to protect, conserve and promote the natural and cultural heritage of the Niagara River corridor. That mandate now includes the pursuit of innovative conservation practices along with building an organization that is itself sustainable in its policies, plans and activities.

Preservation of the Niagara River Shoreline

Niagara River Coastal Wetlands Project

Niagara River Coastal Wetlands Project

This project aims to restore the Niagara River shoreline at identified areas to increase fish populations and reduce erosion. To date, over 800 metres of coastal wetland habitat has been created, utilizing over 200 ash trees that have succumbed to the Emerald Ash Borer and over 350 recycled Christmas trees that have been anchored to the bed of the Niagara River.

Restoring Riparian Zones

Restoring Riparian Zones

Over the next two years, this project will aim to create, restore, and expand up to 2 kilometres of vegetated shoreline buffers along the Niagara River through the removal of non-native species, where required, and the planting of a diversity of native plant species. Also, where possible, woody debris will be anchored at select locations within the river to soften the shoreline and provide suitable fish refuge and nursery habitat. In collaboration with Niagara College’s Ecosystem Restoration Program, priority areas for shoreline vegetation restoration have been identified for initial implementation.

Viewpoint Management

Viewpoint Management

Niagara Parks is developing standards for its many viewpoints along the Niagara River corridor as one tactic for the management of the entire shoreline. These viewpoint standards will help to create better and more sustainable views and prioritize maintenance activities. The standards will also be used to identify new viewpoints and assess current viewpoints.

Efforts to Support Endangered Species

Chippawa Grasslands Bird Habitat Management Plan

Chippawa Grasslands Bird Habitat Management Plan

With the drastic decline of grassland habitat and grassland bird populations throughout southern Ontario, there is an essential need to protect and enhance existing grasslands. The primary purpose of the Chippawa Grassland Bird Habitat Management Plan is to enhance existing grasslands on Niagara Parks property to support grassland dependent bird species.

Species at Risk Management

Species at Risk Management

Niagara Parks is the steward of some of the highest concentrations of rare and endangered species in Ontario. From northern dusky salamanders to peregrine falcons and butternut trees, some of the province’s most at-risk species of flora and fauna survive because of habitats managed by Niagara Parks. Niagara Parks protects these species through a wide-ranging program of habitat conservation, collaborative research and public education.

Pollinator Garden Route

Pollinator Garden Route

Building on the steadfast commitment to the environment and the preservation of the natural lands along the Niagara River Corridor, Niagara Parks established 12 pollinator gardens along the Niagara Parkway to provide habitat for pollinator species from bumblebees to hummingbirds, who play a crucial role in maintaining our environment. The gardens are connected through both the scenic Niagara Parkway and the Niagara River Recreation Trail, creating the Pollinator Garden Route which can be enjoyed by bicycle, foot, or automobile.

Sustainable Land Management

Invasive Species Management

Invasive Species Management

Niagara Parks works on the front lines of the ongoing fight against invasive species. With lands stretching from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario along the Niagara River Corridor, Niagara Parks is often the first Canadian defence against emerging threats. Invasive species - plants, insects and animals - can have significant consequences for everything from wildlife habitat to the economy.

Niagara Parks Golf – Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf Courses

Niagara Parks Golf – Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf Courses

In 2014, Niagara Parks Legends on the Niagara Golf Complex achieved designation as a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary, through the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf Courses. To reach certification, a course must demonstrate that they are maintaining a high degree of environmental quality in a number of areas. These categories include: Environmental Planning, Wildlife & Habitat Management, Outreach and Education, Chemical Use Reduction and Safety, Water Conservation, and Water Quality Management.

Urban Forestry Management Plan

Urban Forestry Management Plan

Stewarding Ontario’s urban forests has never been more important. With crises like the invasion of the emerald ash borer demonstrating vividly the fragility of our forests, we need to protect and sustain this vital aspect of our ecosystem. As part of its 2018-2028 Strategic Plan, the Niagara Parks Commission is developing a comprehensive Urban Forestry Management Plan. The plan is scheduled for final approval late in 2018, but key plan projects are already underway. The plan sets a number of research-based goals and strategies that will help Niagara Parks create a healthier and more resilient urban forest that supports wildlife and recreational opportunities, reduces pollution and helps mitigate the impacts of flooding, erosion and even climate change.

Strategic Partnerships

Partnership with Brock University’s Environmental Sustainability Research Centre

In April 2018, The Niagara Parks Commission and Brock University’s Environmental Sustainability Research Centre formalized a partnership to collaborate on mutually beneficial projects with a focus on environmental stewardship. This partnership, known as The Excellence in Environmental Stewardship Initiative, will advance understanding (theoretical and applied) of environmental stewardship, inform and enhance practice, and improve the capacity of Niagara Parks and its staff to make evidence-based decisions.

Niagara Parks works regularly with the following groups and organizations: Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport; Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry; Environment Canada; Ontario Power Generation; Parks Canada; Forests Ontario; NGO’s – Canadian Wildlife Federation, Land Care Niagara, Niagara Restoration Council; Nature Clubs – e.g. Niagara Falls Nature Club; Friends of Niagara Glen; and Local Municipalities.

Document Library

  • Chippawa Grassland Bird Habitat Management Plan
    Filename: Niagara Parks PIC - Sept 2018 - Chippawa Grassland.pdf
    Last Modified: Sep 28, 2018

    With the drastic decline of grassland habitat and grassland bird populations throughout southern Ontario, there is an essential need to protect and enhance existing grasslands. The primary purpose of the Chippawa Grassland Bird Habitat Management Plan is to enhance existing grasslands on Niagara Parks property to support grassland dependent bird species.

    Download pdf
  • Designated Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary
    Filename: Niagara Parks PIC - Sept 2018 - Audubon.pdf
    Last Modified: Sep 28, 2018

    In February 2014, Niagara Parks’ Legends on the Niagara Golf Complex achieved designation as a “Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary” through the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf Courses. Niagara Parks has been working to achieve this designation with the Audubon International since 2004.

    Download pdf
  • Emerald Ash Borer
    Filename: Niagara Parks PIC - Sept 2018 - EAB.pdf
    Last Modified: Sep 28, 2018

    The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is a non-native invasive insect that has killed millions of ash trees in southwestern Ontario and in the United States, and a confirmed infestation in Niagara Parks was confirmed in 2012. Infested ash trees die off within two to five years, posing a major economic and environmental threat to urban and forested areas.

    Download pdf

Who’s Listening?

Have your say and submit your feedback to the project team developing Niagara Parks’ environmental stewardship strategies.

Photo of Ellen Savoia

Ellen Savoia

Senior Manager, Environmental Planning

Photo of Corey Burant

Corey Burant

Project Manager, Forest Health Parks, Planning & Properties

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