South Lake Simcoe Naturalist's Club

9 October 2016

The Talon - Latest Issue

Click the link below to access the latest SLSNC Newsletter

The Talon - Vol. 26, No.7 October, 2016

Inside This Issue:

Upcoming Meetings, Outings and Issues

York Region Forest News

International Conversation News

And more!

10 September 2016

The Talon - Latest Issue

Click the link below to access the latest SLSNC Newsletter

The Talon - Vol. 26, No.6 September, 2016

Inside This Issue:

Upcoming Meetings, Outings and Issues

SLSN Executive Meeting Highlights

Chimney Swift Bird Survey- South Sutton: Update

Greenbelt in our Area

And more!

6 June 2016

The Talon - Latest Issue

Click the link below to access the latest SLSNC Newsletter

The Talon - Vol. 26, No.5 June, 2016

Inside This Issue:

Upcoming Meetings, Outings and Issues

Ontario Greenbelt Alliance (OGA) Key Issue Submission, Review Greenbelt Proposed Plan 2016

Provincial Greenbelt Review News

SLSN Carden Alvar Birding Outing Report

And more!

6 April 2016

The Talon - Latest Issue

Click the link below to access the latest SLSNC Newsletter

The Talon - Vol. 26, No.3 April, 2016

Inside This Issue:

Upcoming Meetings, Outings and Issues

Response to the Actual Wolf Post by SLSN

Be Part of the Rusty Blackbird Blitz – Bird Studies Canada

International Wildlife News

And more!

7 March 2016

The Talon - Latest Issue

Click the link below to access the latest SLSNC Newsletter

The Talon - Vol. 26, No.2 March, 2016

Inside This Issue:

Upcoming Meetings, Outings and Issues

Birding at Presquile Provincial Park

Watch where you are Walking Your Dog!

Canadian Wildlife Conservation News

And more!

26 Feb. 2016

SLSNC - eNews Blast

Click the link below to access the latest SLSNC eNews Blast

E-Blast, Feb. 25, 2016

22 Feb. 2016

The Talon - Latest Issue

Click the link below to access the latest SLSNC Newsletter

The Talon - Vol. 26, No.1 February, 2016

Inside This Issue:

Upcoming Meetings, Outings and Issues

Sutton Christmas Bird Count Report

19th Annual Great Backyard Bird Count

Northern Shrike – Winter Visitor

And more!

25 Jan. 2016

The Talon - Latest Issue

Click the link below to access the latest SLSNC Newsletter

The Talon - Vol. 25, No.10 November, 2015

Inside This Issue:

Upcoming Meetings, Outings and Issues

Autumn Birding Outing - Lake Simcoe, SLSN

Greenbelt Announcement Expected Any Day

SLSN Comments on DRAFT OFFICIAL PLAN, for the Town of Georgina – Summary Report.

And more!

24 Oct. 2015

2015 Annual Fall Event

Click Here To Download The Event Poster

13 Apr. 2015

The Talon - Latest Issue

Click the link below to access the latest SLSNC Newsletter

The Talon - Vol. 25, No.4 April, 2015

Inside This Issue:

Spring Meetings, Outings and Issues

The Greenbelt and ORM Reviews

Ontario Nature Comments on Greenbelt Review

Ontario Nature Information of Key Ontario Plan Reviews

Greenbelt Review - South Lake Simcoe

Hummingbird News

And more!

30 Mar. 2015

SLSNC E-News Blast

Click the link below to access the latest SLSNC E-News Blast

E-News Blast March 30, 2015


GreenBelt and ORM Reviews

30 Mar. 2015

Town of Georgina - The Link Steering Committee Agenda Jan. 13, 2015

Click the link below to access this resource

Town of Georgina - The Link Steering Committee Agenda Jan. 13, 2015


Draft Riverfront Partnership Strategy

Rewilding Lake Simcoe

And more community information...

8 Mar. 2015

The Talon - March 2015 Issue

Pick up the latest copy of "The Talon" Newsletter. Click the download link below.

The Talon - Vol. 25, No.3 March 2015

Inside this issue:

Sable Island

Rouge Deer/Mammal Census

A Message From The Ontario Greenbelt Alliance Coordinator

Town Of Georgina Official Plan Review and the Ontario Greenbelt Review

And More!

21 Feb. 2015

The Talon - February 2015 Issue

Pick up the latest copy of "The Talon" Newsletter. Click the download link below.

The Talon - Vol. 25, No.2 February 2015

Inside this issue:

Significant Winter Birds

2015 Outings and Meetings update.

Ecojustice Announcement of South Lake Simcoe Naturalists Comments on the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority Policy Review

Rare Gray-cheeked Thrush Observations from Sutton CBC

And More!

12 Jan. 2015

The Talon - January 2015 Issue

Pick up the latest copy of "The Talon" Newsletter. Click the download link below.

The Talon - Vol. 25, No.1 January 2015

Inside this issue:

Sutton Annual Audobon Christmas Bird Count - Offical Report

2015 Outings and Meetings update.

14 Oct. 2014

SLSNC Comments on LSRCA Watershed Development Policies

Pick up the latest copy of "The Talon" Newsletter. Click the download link below.

The Talon - Vol. 24, No.4 October 2014

Inside this issue:

Update on the SLSN's comments on The Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority’s watershed development policies.

SLSNC's full comments and accompanying correspondence with Ecojustive have been included below:

Ecojustice reply to LSRCA policy review comments

South Lake Simcoe Naturalists Comments on Lake Simcoe and Region Conservation Authority Watershed Development Policies

SLSN Comments on The Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority’s Watershed Development Policies - Cover Letter

14 Oct. 2014

Special Conservation Presentation

Bees and Agricultural Pesticides

Speaker: Sue Chan

THURSDAY OCTOBER 23, 2014 – 7:30 p.m.

Photo credit flickr user blathlean

EGYPT HALL Town of Georgina, York Region, 6757 Smith Blvd. Pefferlaw, Ontario.

Aubrey Goulding produces beeswax candles, skin balms and other products in Paradise (CBC). Sue’s powerpoint presentation is approximately 45 minutes long. It will be followed up by a Q&A. Sue Chan will present current knowledge regarding neonicotinoids pesticide use, and other issues with bees in Canada. Don’t miss this must see presentation! Everyone welcome.

September 2014

Rouge National Park Reaches Important Final Stages of Establishment

Notice to SLSN members:

This is the time for Naturalists and natural environment advocates to show you care about the beauty, biodiversity and health of the Rouge River watershed and Park and taking steps to protect the Rouge. Important conservation steps in the Rouge to the south of us, can set a tone for future conservation in the Lake Simcoe area in the future.

Some important developments summarized below by Friends of the Rouge.

Ontario Minister Brad Duguid and the Provincial Government are insisting that the Federal Government fully honour its agreement to "Meet or Exceed" the Provincial Rouge Park, Greenbelt and ORM policy framework, as a necessary pre-condition for the transfer of Provincial Rouge Park lands to the Federal Government for the creation of a national Rouge Park (Toronto Star Articles Attached).

Prime Minister Stephen Harper's draft Rouge National Urban Park legislation (Bill C-40) and management plan threaten to undermine the park's ecological integrity, ecological potential and size.

The originally proposed Rouge NU Park Study Area was 160 km2 of publicly-owned land, mainly in the Greenbelt.

In the maps recently released by Parks Canada, the proposed national Rouge Park has shrunk to an area of only 50 Km2 , less than one third of the original 160 km2 national park proposal.

The current Park proposal is less than half of the publicly owned Greenbelt lands surrounding the Rouge; and only marginally larger than the existing Rouge Park.

Please attend one or more of the upcoming Parks Canada meetings on the Rouge NU Park draft Management Plan and please support FRW's reasonable request to the Federal Government.

Tuesday September 16 in Pickering, Pickering Recreation Complex, O'Brien Room, 1867 Valley Farm Rd, Pickering, ON L1V 6K7, 7 PM

Thursday September 18 in downtown Toronto, Art Gallery of Ontario, Jackman Hall, 317 Dundas St West, Toronto, ON M5T 1G4 7 PM

Paul Harpley,

President SLSN

August 2014

The Talon - Vol. 24, No.3 August 2014

Pick up the latest copy of "The Talon" Newsletter. Click the download link below.

The Talon - Vol. 24, No.3 August 2014

Inside this issue:

NAFTA leaders could save the monarch butterflies

By Carter Roberts & Omar Vidal

(CNN) -- Twenty years ago last month, the North American Free Trade Agreement was born. The goal of NAFTA was straightforward -- to encourage the free movement of goods and capital between the U.S., Mexico and Canada. Few points in history have been as important in forging bonds between our three countries.

While NAFTA is a relatively new pact that ties our nations, there are some things that go back far longer that bind us. Like the annual monarch butterfly migration, which started long before the trades, borders or foreign affairs were even an issue.

There's no record telling us when monarch butterflies first began their journeys of up to 2,800 miles between southern Canada, the northern U.S., and central Mexico. It's easy to assume that an end date for the migrations is just as elusive, but reality tells a different story.

In January, we got grim news from the central mountains of Mexico, the southernmost destination for migrating monarchs and sanctuary for their winter hibernation...

Majority of Ontarians Want To See Greenbelt Grow

By Jenny Chan

After nine years, support for Ontario's Greenbelt remains strong. Ontarians want to see more land included in the land protection policy according to a recent poll conducted by Environics Research Group.

According to the survey, three-quarters of Ontarians (74%) feel it is very important to continue to grow Ontario's Greenbelt. Polling results align with Mississauga, Oakville, and Toronto taking the necessary steps to grow the Greenbelt. These cities have begun work to include areas along Fourteen Mile Creek, Credit River and Etobicoke Creek river valleys, and the Don, Humber and Etobicoke Creeks as part of Ontario’s Greenbelt. This is in addition to the recent inclusion of Glenorchy Conservation Area to Greenbelt protected land.

"Growing the Greenbelt ranks up there with developing public transit and increasing access to local food," says Burkhard Mausberg, CEO of the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation. "This overwhelming response is a most encouraging sign."

Support for the Greenbelt is at an all time high with 93% of Ontarians supporting the 1.8 million acres of protected land.

"Knowing that we are going into the review of Ontario's Greenbelt Plan in 2015, we are delighted that the Greenbelt remains an important contribution to the quality of life in Ontario," said Mausberg.

12 Dec. 2013

NAFTA leaders could save the monarch butterflies

By Carter Roberts & Omar Vidal

(CNN) -- Twenty years ago last month, the North American Free Trade Agreement was born. The goal of NAFTA was straightforward -- to encourage the free movement of goods and capital between the U.S., Mexico and Canada. Few points in history have been as important in forging bonds between our three countries.

While NAFTA is a relatively new pact that ties our nations, there are some things that go back far longer that bind us. Like the annual monarch butterfly migration, which started long before the trades, borders or foreign affairs were even an issue.

There's no record telling us when monarch butterflies first began their journeys of up to 2,800 miles between southern Canada, the northern U.S., and central Mexico. It's easy to assume that an end date for the migrations is just as elusive, but reality tells a different story.

In January, we got grim news from the central mountains of Mexico, the southernmost destination for migrating monarchs and sanctuary for their winter hibernation.

According to surveys carried out by World Wildlife Fund, together with Mexico's National Commission on Protected Areas and other partners, the entire hibernating population of monarch butterflies in the 2013-2014 season occupied an area of forest not much bigger than a football field -- a mere 1.6 acres. This is a 44% drop from the previous season, and a continuation of the freefall migrating monarchs have taken since data collection began two decades ago. 2013 was the worst year for these butterflies in recorded history. Now people are talking about the migration disappearing altogether.

There are several reasons for the decline, including extreme climate events in the U.S. and Canada as well as deforestation in Mexico. Yet the biggest culprit is likely the widespread extermination of milkweed, a flowering plant critical to monarch butterfly reproduction and development.

Across much of the monarch's range, particularly in the midwestern U.S., milkweed has fallen victim en masse to changing land use and the advent of herbicide-resistant crops. In short, the cupboard is bare for monarch caterpillars, and as a result one of North America's most dazzling natural wonders is on the brink of vanishing entirely.

If you've been fortunate enough to witness any part of the monarch spectacle, you understand why we can't let this happen. Whether a blanket of orange against a deep blue sky; a forest draped from root to leaf in dormant monarchs; or a single butterfly fluttering past you en route to join the masses, there is nothing quite like it.

The proverbial silver lining to this dark news on migratory monarch numbers is that it may have come at an opportune time.

Next Wednesday, February 19, U.S. President Obama will meet with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Mexican President Peña Nieto at the North American Leaders' Summit in Toluca, Mexico. Toluca is just a short distance from the monarch's hibernation sites. During the summit, the butterflies will still be in nearby forests, poised to emerge from a four-month siesta that began in early winter.

White House officials have said the three leaders will discuss "a range of issues important to the daily lives of all of North America's people." What isn't clear is whether the plight of the monarchs will make the agenda, and if the three countries bound by an age-old butterfly migration will together show resolve in making sure this unique connection isn't permanently severed.

Whether monarchs flying south from Ontario, across America's heartland to converge on the oyamel fir trees of the Sierra Madre; gray whales hugging the California coast as they migrate from Baja to the Beaufort Sea and back again; or pronghorn antelope clinging to strongholds from the Northern Great Plains to the Sonoran Desert, the natural bonds connecting the U.S., Mexico and Canada stretch back millennia and transcend anything that can be traded or written on paper. They are bonds to take pride in, that unite the countries of North America in unexpected, beautiful ways. Something we simply cannot let disappear.

The summit in Toluca may be the last hope we have of saving the monarch migration. President Peña Nieto himself has been committed to the conservation of the monarch sanctuaries of Estado de Mexico since he served as governor there from 2005 to 2011. He knows firsthand the significant efforts and sacrifices of Mexico's local indigenous communities, authorities and civil society organizations to protect the sanctuaries. He also knows the important contribution the butterflies bring to local social and economic well-being.

Only a joint effort from all three countries will turn the tide in favor of the monarch. Our leaders must re-energize efforts to conserve the monarch butterfly, like those under the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation that was born alongside NAFTA. This plan must include concrete actions to halt destruction of milkweed in the U.S. and Canada, restore monarch habitat in all three countries, and strengthen law enforcement in Mexico to stop deforestation. If together we could pull off something as big and ambitious as NAFTA, solving the monarch crisis must be within our means. We urge our heads-of-state, on behalf of all the people of North America, to use this opportunity to commit to the long-term preservation of one of our most ancient and spectacular bonds.

March 2014

The Talon - Vol. 24, No.2 March 2014

Pick up the latest copy of "The Talon" Newsletter. Click the download link below.

The Talon - Vol. 24, No.2 March 2014

12 Dec. 2013

The Town of Georgina's Recreation Facility Needs Study and Trails and Active Transportation Master Plan.

The studies for this project are nearing completion and the Town hosted one final Public Information Center at The ROC Chalet the evening of Thursday, November 28th, 2013. A few members were able to attend and feedback to be incorporated into the study, and see how the studies have progressed. The final reports and recommendations will be presented to Council in January. Any input at this stage will still be incorporated. Please contact the Town if you have any comment. Details of the Plan are now supposed to be on the Town of Georgina Web Site.

12 Dec. 2013

Landowners and Farmers

There are many simple things residents can do to protect drinking water sources, including:

Farmers can also protect groundwater sources by:

Landowners, including farmers, can apply for funding for projects that protect municipal drinking water through the Landowner Environmental Assistance Program in the Lake Simcoe watershed and the Rural Clean Water Program in the Toronto and Region watershed.

Source: York Region Web Site 2013-11-26

12 Dec. 2013

Update on Ontario Government Gutting of Species-at Risk

Ontario Nature continues to fight the Ontario Government gutting of legislation that protects at-risk species. This is unacceptable, so we’re taking them to court.

New rules that came into effect in July allow major industries like forestry, mining, aggregates, energy, housing and oil and gas pipelines to avoid strict (and necessary!) environmental standards intended to protect at-risk species and their habitats.

What does that mean?

It means that projects like subdivisions, roads, pits and quarries are protected more so than endangered and threatened species. We simply cannot stand by as industry is given carte blanche to pave, drill, drain and bulldoze critical habitats.

We are demanding justice for wild species.

Together, we need to raise $50,000 between now and the end of November to prepare our legal case and launch a public campaign.

Will you please support this urgent appeal with your gift today?

Ontario Nature members and supporters like you fought hard for our gold standard Endangered Species Act back in 2007. But now our leaders are failing to deliver on their promise to protect endangered species.

Our government abandoned Ontario’s most imperiled species, taking away the protection they desperately need. But we are here to defend the species we love.

Take action with your gift to Ontario Nature today. Please stand with us for nature, and justice, today.

Yours for nature—and justice,

Executive Director, Ontario Nature

12 Dec. 2013

Bird Deaths in Canada

Birds in Canada yearly face many serious threats to their lives. Below is a summary of key causes of their deaths below, recently quantified through scientific research in Canada (270 million deaths).

Sources of annual, human-related bird fatalities in Canada
Domestic and feral cats 196 million
Collisions with Power lines and electrocutions 26.1 million
Collisions with houses or buildings 24.8 million
Collisions with vehicles 13.8 million
Game bird hunting 4.7 million
Agricultural pesticides 2.7 million
Agricultural mowing 2.2 million young birds (equivalent to 1M adults)
Commercial forestry 1.4 million nests (equivalent to 900,000 adults)
Collisions with communications towers 20,000

Source: Richard Elliot, Director of Wildlife Research, Environment Canada. ONNATURE, Winter 2013/2014, pp. 38.

12 Dec. 2013

Follow-up Information from our November 12 meeting on “Bees”

Who we are

The Ontario Beekeepers Association

19 Oct 2013

Neonicotinoid pesticides in Ontario

Information from "The Ontario Beekeepers' Association"

The petition to ban neonicotinoid pesticides in Ontario has over 40,000 signatures! We’ve surpassed our goal, but let’s not stop here – we’re making significant progress toward protecting the future of pollinators and other wildlife. If each of us gets one more person to sign the petition we could pass 50,000 this week before we submit it to Premier Wynne.

In addition to supporting our efforts toward a ban in Ontario, here’s an opportunity for impact at the federal level: The Pest Management Regulatory Agency, the Federal body responsible for pesticide regulation and compliance in Canada, has issued a Call for Comments to their plans to protect bees from exposure to neonicotinoids. In their report (found here:, they acknowledge that the majority of examined pollinator mortalities were a result of exposure to neonicotinoid insecticides and “that current agricultural practices related to the use of neonicotinoid treated corn and soybean seed are not sustainable”.

They suggest a number of protective measures, but not a ban as yet. They need to hear from you! In addition to your own concerns, you can tell the PMRA that continued use of neonicotinoid pesticides poses an unacceptable likelihood of serious harm to honey bees and native pollinators and reduces pollination of wild plants in a way that may alter ecosystems. Tell them you are concerned about toxic build up in water and soil. Tell them you want these toxic chemicals removed from use before the 2014 planting season.

Here is the email link for comments: You will need to provide your name, phone number and email address along with your comments.

Let’s make sure they don’t just hear from those with vested interests in pesticides, because, make no mistake, those who are against the ban are out in full force, using every means available to prevent or delay change. They have the resources, but we have the passion, the science and the support of thousands like you. Ontario’s beekeepers will never give up pressing for change and we hope you won’t either. For more information:

The Ontario Beekeepers' Association

12 Oct 2013

Ontario Nature – Endangered Species Action – against Ontario Liberal Government

After exhausting all other avenues, Ontario Nature has joined forces with Ecojustice and Wildlands League to take the government to court for unlawfully gutting Ontario’s gold standard Endangered Species Act. We simply cannot stand by as the government trades in its gold standard act for fool’s gold.

This spring, the government approved changes that dramatically weaken protection for Ontario’s at-risk species, like Blanding’s turtle, American eel and lakeside daisy. We believe the changes are unlawful. The Endangered Species Act was intended to protect and recover the province’s most imperilled species. Instead the government has exempted a broad suite of industries from the law’s requirements to protect species and their habitats and significantly reduced government oversight of harmful activities.

Forestry wins the jackpot with a five-year blanket exemption. A blanket exemption for an industry that affects over 40 million hectares of land in Ontario! You can imagine what that means for a species like the woodland caribou that has already been pushed out of 50 percent of its historic range in the province.

But forestry is not the only industry that gets off the hook with the new exemptions. Others include mining, pits and quarries, hydro, wind power, subdivision development, road-building and waste management. Across the board, the new regulations protect industries over species, allowing industry to pave, drill, drain and bulldoze crucial habitat with almost zero government oversight.

Ontario’s gold standard Endangered Species Act has been undone, and we intend to set it right. For the sake of the more than 200 at-risk plant and animal species in Ontario and for everyone who believes that the law should be implemented as it was intended; we’re taking the government to court.

Caroline Schultz

Executive Director

Ontario Nature

27 Aug 2013

Ecojustice goes to Court with Federal Conservative Government over Pesticide use

Toxic pesticides like chlorthal-dimethyl and trichlorfon are harmful to you and the environment. Some are known to pollute water and kill bees, birds and fish. Others are believed to trigger neurological disorders and can cause cancer in humans. Europe’s already banned them, so why are they still being used in Canada?

Because the Government of Canada refuses to eliminate them.

We’ve asked nicely. But the federal government has so far outright refused our request to initiate reviews of four toxic, harmful pesticides, and has failed to even answer the same request for 26 others. That’s why Ecojustice — on behalf of the David Suzuki Foundation, Équiterre and all Canadians — is taking the federal government to court. It’s a last resort, but a powerful course of action.

We’re making the announcement today and wanted you to be the first to know. Cases like this can take months, even years to see through.

Lara Tessaro, staff lawyer and Dr. Elaine MacDonald, senior staff scientist


New Island appears off the coast of Pakistan – follow-up for those at our Volcanoes meeting last month.

30 Sep 2013

Provincial Policy Statement 5-year Review (which commenced in March 2010)

Letter to Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing – endorsed by SLSN.

Via E-mail (

The Honourable Linda Jeffrey

Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing

17th Floor, 777 Bay St

Toronto, ON

M5G 2E5

Dear Minister Jeffrey

Re: Provincial Policy Statement (2005), five-year Review

We, the under-signed, are writing to express our support for the Ontario government's commitment to land use planning reform and to highlight important issues that have yet to be adequately addressed through the ongoing five-year Review of the Provincial Policy Statement (PPS).

We endorse the Province’s goal of promoting vibrant, healthy communities, while protecting the natural environment and creating a greener economy. We are pleased to note the renewed emphasis on sustainability, system-based planning, active transportation, transit and green infrastructure in the Draft Amended PPS. To more fully protect biodiversity and to mitigate and adapt to climate change, however, there are still significant issues which can and should be addressed through the ongoing PPS Review. To this end, we urge you to make the following key changes:

1. Establish clear priorities: The scope of the PPS is very broad, covering many interests and potentially conflicting land uses. We strongly recommend that the PPS be amended to clearly state that in the case of a conflict, the protection of human health and the natural environment will be prioritized.

2. Protect significant natural features and prime farmland from aggregates extraction: Now is the time for Ontario to revisit and revise the preferential treatment accorded to aggregate extraction under the PPS. Unfortunately, the Draft Amended PPS includes changes that would offer even more preferential treatment to aggregates extraction. Specifically, there is a proposed loophole that would allow aggregates extraction to proceed in prime farmland and in significant natural heritage features, based on the unrealistic premise that rehabilitation afterwards will fully restore the values lost. This loophole must be closed, first because rehabilitation may not occur for decades 2– if it ever occurs. (There are over 4,000 abandoned pits and quarries in Ontario that have yet to be rehabilitated.) And second, because the science of rehabilitation is far from perfect: removing huge quantities of rock and gravel results in permanent changes to hydrology and soils, and thus to the very conditions which support particular crops and plant and animal life.

3. Enhance protection for wetlands: We are pleased to note the increased protection offered to coastal wetlands in the Draft Amended PPS. The proposed revisions do not go far enough, however, to adequately protect this valuable resource. Wetlands are key to maintaining water supply and water quality and to enhancing landscape resilience in an era of climate change. They also provide habitat for many of the province’s most imperiled plants and animals. We urge you further revise the PPS so as to protect all coastal wetlands and all provincially significant wetlands province-wide. In the absence of an assessment of significance having been made, the highest level of protection should apply. In addition, given the dramatic loss of wetlands in southern and eastern Ontario (at least 72%, and over 90% in some areas), the PPS should be amended to protect all wetlands in this region from development.

4. Require system-based planning for natural heritage across Ontario: A new requirement of the Draft Amended PPS is the identification of natural heritage systems in southern and eastern Ontario. This is an important step, but does not go far enough. The protection and enhancement of natural heritage systems is a critical component of strategies to conserve biodiversity and to mitigate and adapt to climate change. As noted in a letter to you, dated April 5, 2013, from 31 community and environmental organizations in northern Ontario, natural heritage should be afforded equally strong protection in the north as in the south, since “good planning should be for all of Ontario.” The identification of natural heritage systems should be required across Ontario.

5. Require planning at the watershed and/or sub-watershed level: In order to meaningfully address biodiversity loss and climate change and to protect water systems, it is imperative that the PPS require watershed planning at the appropriate ecological scale.

6. Retain current policies for species at risk: The Draft Amended PPS significantly weakens the current level of protection for species at risk offered under the PPS by deferring to provincial and federal requirements, including the Endangered Species Act, 2007 (ESA).This legislation allows development to occur through permits and exemptions without consideration of matters normally addressed through municipal land use planning. We urge you to maintain the current level of protection by retaining the existing PPS 2005 policies regarding species at risk, which include a clear prohibition regarding development in the habitat of species at risk and on lands adjacent to that habitat.

7. Reference technical guidance:To assist planning authorities and decision-makers with implementation and to enable the development and adoption of progressive policies in official plans, the PPS should explicitly refer to the Natural Heritage Reference Manual, which provides detailed guidelines for natural heritage protection, and should require planning authorities to consider that guidance.

In conclusion, we fully support the PPS vision of fostering strong, sustainable, healthy and resilient communities across Ontario. To do so requires an approach to land use planning that accurately reflects and upholds the true value of our ecosystems and the goods and services that they provide.

Thank you for your attention. We look forward to your response.


Dr. Anastasia M. Lintner - Staff Lawyer & Economist, Ecojustice Canada

Caroline Schultz - Executive Director, Ontario Nature

Theresa McClenaghan - Executive Director and Counsel, Canadian Environmental Law Association

Andrew McCammon - Executive Director, Ontario Headwaters Institute

Julie Cayley - Manager of Government Relations, Ducks Unlimited Canada

Naomi Grant - Chair, Coalition for a Livable Sudbury

c.c. Gord Miller, Environmental Commissioner of Ontario

4 Sep. 2013

Trails and Active Transportation Study

The Town of Georgina is undertaking a Recreation Facility Needs Study on a “Trails and Active Transportation Study. They need Naturalists input! Please check and complete Key Resources for both studies on the internet, and contribute to a sustainable recreation future in our community.




5 May 2013

Review of the Lake Simcoe Phosphorous Reduction Strategy

The Ministry of the Environment’s previously released Lake Simcoe Phosphorus Reduction Strategy acknowledges that environmental impacts of population growth currently planned in the Lake Simcoe watershed will make the achievement of the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan’s goals difficult, if not impossible. We set out this information again for club members to emphasize the importance of limiting phosphorous to the lake in future years.

The Strategy seems to work towards achieving the whole lake goal of 44 tons per year phosphorus loading down from today’s 72 tons per year. Importantly, I can see no real detailed plan in this strategy. No firm target dates of a myriad of implementation milestones to a tremendous amount of work that is needed to ensure the action of saving Lake Simcoe; really the intent of the Lake Simcoe Act.

The Provincial Growth Plan’s current population targets for the Lake Simcoe watershed are essentially why we (SLSN) are concerned the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan may fail. Given that this Strategy seems to continue to have no strong implementation actions of the aggressive form that must be done to really save Lake Simcoe, and there is no rigorous project management implementation plans.

A much more aggressive detailed implementation plan in naturalizing and Re-Wilding the entire Lake Simcoe to buffer the rivers and the Lake of phosphorus is required.

Our organization has been involved in projects of this kind in South Lake Simcoe for a number of years. As on-the-ground residents in rural and semi-urban locations, we know non-point source contributions are a major area of improvement needed for the future reduction of phosphorus in the lake. We see no evidence of urgency in implementation in this Strategy by the Province of Ontario to achieve the recommended 40% average natural cover target for the watershed, and we continue to push for full watershed naturalization to address particularly non-point source phosphorous.

We applaud the Lake Simcoe Protection Act for protecting an urbanized watershed attempted in Ontario and we applaud the province for this but need to have a much more aggressive Strategy and detailed Plan of implementation to meet the stated objectives of the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan.


Insects: Their Natural History and Diversity

A New Book by Steve Marshall, U of Guelph – 2012

Guelph entomologist Steve Marshall has published a new insect book that is so extensive, it’s being called “an insect collection between covers.”

Not only does his 700-page Insects: Their Natural History and Diversity cover just about every family of six-legged creatures in eastern North America, but it also contains never-before-seen photographs, including one taken of a species of bee fly that lays its eggs in wasp nests.

“The bee fly is one of several species discovered for the first time in Canada in the course of this project,” says Marshall, a faculty member in the Department of Environmental Biology.

The book is the first species-level guide to a vast array of insects beyond the standards of butterflies and dragonflies. It deals mostly with insects found east of the Mississippi River and north of Georgia, including the six provinces east of Manitoba. That area is home to an estimated 100,000 insect species.

“Although many new discoveries were made while writing the book, I initiated this project to provide something badly needed by naturalists and students,” says Marshall.

Great Lakes Marsh Monitoring Program (MMP): Information 2013

The 2013 Marsh Monitoring Program survey season begins in early spring (March/April) and, ideally, everyone should be registered by late February. The program can accommodate late registrations but please register as soon as you are certain that you want to participate.

Volunteers monitor close to home and can survey amphibians, birds or both depending on the skill and time availability. Materials provided instruct people of route establishment and survey techniques. Novices can readily learn to identify calling frog and toads from the materials we provide but for bird surveys we ask they you are able to identify 50 common marsh species prior to attempting the surveys. On average it takes about 10 hours a year to survey, this is split between late March and early July. But, during the first season, more time is needed as you learn the techniques and set up the route.

Each MMP survey route consist of as few as 1 or up to as many as 8, semi-circular sample stations, each with a radius of 100-metres (110 yards). Sample stations must face areas of emergent marsh vegetation - small numbers of trees or shrubs can occur within the station but more than half of the area within the semi-circle must be dominated by non-woody, emergent plants such as cattail, bulrush, reed, grasses or sedges. Both the marsh bird and amphibian surveys are conducted facing into the marsh while standing at the centre of the 200-metre (220 yard) long semi-circle. Stations are usually accessed along the edge of marshes, on a dike or trail. However, volunteers interested in monitoring a route accessible only by boat or canoe are encouraged to do so. In very large marshes, it may be possible for several different stations to be established by one or more volunteers. In smaller, or less accessible marshes, it may be feasible to establish only 1 or 2 stations.

The 2012 Marsh Monitoring Program Route Map is available online. The map is color-coded for availability. If you are interested in surveying birds look at red and purple dots; if you are interested in surveying amphibians look at red and blue dots. Green and yellow dots are not available. Our priority is to assign new volunteers to existing routes but, if there are no routes near you, volunteers can establish a new route in an appropriate marsh near when they live.

On 10 February 2012 – Bird Studies Canada, through support from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, hosted two free one-hour webinars on the volunteer-based “An Introduction to the Great Lakes Marsh Monitoring Program” (GLMMP) & “An In-depth Look at the Great Lakes Marsh Monitoring Program Field Protocol” and hopefully similar sessions will be held in March 2013. The webinars introduce attendees to the GLMMP, its goals, and its techniques and protocols. The in-depth webinar can also serve as a refresher for experienced program participants prior to the upcoming survey season.

Ask P. Harpley for further details.

Doing Less with Less – MNR’s Fish and Wildlife Monitoring Programs, Ontario

A Special Report to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario - Submitted by Gord Miller, Environmental Commissioner of Ontario, April 24, 2007

MNR is responsible for the protection and management of animal and plant species in Ontario, including advising planners and builders of infrastructure about the habitat values of lands proposed for development. The ministry conducts population inventories of less than 10 per cent of Ontario's mammalian species, and there is evidence of limited capacity to monitor even high priority species such as moose, black bear and white-tailed deer. MNR relies heavily on third parties for monitoring and assessment of bird populations and habitat. The ministry also has a very limited capacity to inventory and monitor sport fish species and habitats.

Selection of Vertebrate Wildlife Indicators For Monitoring Sustainable Forest Management in Ontario

Margaret A. McLaren, Ian D. Thompson, James A. Baker

The Forestry Chronicle, 1998, 74(2): 241-248, 10.5558/tfc74241-2


Part of a recently advocated method of sustainable forest development employs indicator species as fine filters to assess changes within ecosystems and landscapes. Researchers used a series of criteria based on biology, sampling methods, and legal or particular status to select vertebrate indicator species for the province of Ontario. The criteria for selection were applied in a hierarchical manner, with species ecology given primary importance, followed by sampling considerations, and status criteria. The latter represented certain societal weightings and political or featured management concerns. Species fitting the selection criteria were placed in a four-dimensional matrix (with axes: broad habitat type, age class, trophic level, and spatial scale), and species were then chosen from among the matrix cells. The exercise reduced the total vertebrate species in two forest biomes (Boreal and Great-Lakes St. Lawrence) to a relative few, from which the final choices were made primarily based on expert opinion. In Ontario, the species selected as indicators of biological diversity in the future will be used to test the underlying general hypothesis that forest management has no effect on species richness and species abundance, or the distribution of species in time and space.

This is an important and timely study with regard to preserving biodiversity in Ontario Forests with active logging as part of the management mix.


Invasive Species Centre: 2012 Strategic Plan

Source: ISC web site

Introduction and establishment of non-native or invasive species (1) continues to be a global issue. Invasive species are considered to be the greatest threat to biodiversity after habitat loss (2). Economic losses associated with invasive species are also significant - annual biological invasion costs are estimated to be $1.4 trillion globally (3) (5% of the global economy), compared to $190 billion for natural disasters.

Ontario is particularly vulnerable to the threats of invasive species for a number of reasons, including: proximity to international and domestic vessel traffic that transit the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway System (70% of all goods imported to Canada arrive in Ontario through the Great Lakes St Lawrence Seaway System); high volume of international and domestic passenger traffic through Pearson International Airport; and high rate of urban and economic development which can stress ecosystems leaving them more vulnerable to establishment of invasive species.

There is a history of invasive species outbreaks in Ontario, including: zebra mussel; sea lamprey; emerald ash borer; garlic mustard; and gypsy moth. In 2002-03, the rapid spread of emerald ash borer and Asian long-horned beetle in Ontario highlighted the negative impacts of invasive species on Crown and private lands as well as within municipalities and urban forests. These outbreaks have exposed the province’s vulnerability due to lack of a coordinated response system.

Both the federal and provincial governments have responsibilities to protect Canada’s natural resources from invasive species. Through several Acts (Plant Protection Act: SC 1990; Great Lakes Fishery Convention Act: RSC 1955, and more recently, the Fisheries Act 2012) the federal government of Canada has a regulatory responsibility.


1 For the purpose of this document, the definition in the 2004 Government of Canada Invasive Alien Species Strategy for Canada is adopted: “Alien species are species of plants, animals, and micro-organisms introduced by human action outside their natural past or present distribution. Invasive alien species are those harmful alien species whose introduction or spread threatens the environment, the economy, or society, including human health. Invasive alien species can originate from other continents, neighboring countries, or from other ecosystems within Canada.”

2 Sala et al. 2000; Simberloff et al. 2005

3 Pimentel et al. 2001

Lake Simcoe VHS Management Zone (LSMZ)

The objective of the new Management Zone is to address the further spread of Viral Hemorrhagic Septicaemia (VHS), which was confirmed in Lake Simcoe last year. The deadly fish virus has already been responsible for significant fish die offs in Lake Ontario, and was responsible for a fish die off in Lake Simcoe last year. VHS can spread to other inland waters and the spread of invasive species to Lake Simcoe by movement of commercial baitfish (alive or dead) into or out of the Lake Simcoe Management Zone. Management of some 70 commercial bait operators have retail locations or Bait Harvest Areas (BHAs) in the Lake Simcoe Management Zone area is the goal of the Management Zone designation. Existing controls for VHS Management Zone for other sectors (e.g. egg collections and stocking, etc.) are applied to new area of Lake Simcoe Management Zone. This move is considered an Interim Approach for Lake Simcoe, that has supplied a significant portion of the Ontario winter ice-fishery with baitfish. On August 21, 2012 Fisheries Policy Section staff met with Simcoe harvesters in Orillia to discuss potential interim options with the goals of minimizing the risk of spread of VHS ensuring bait availability for winter 2013.


2012 Durham Butterfly Count Results

Results can be viewed here in pdf format


Oshawa: Jerry Ball, Dennis Barry, Susan Brown, Peter Clute, Cathy Galberg, Ann Hilborn, James, Lynda, Liam & Nathan Kamstra, Carolyn King, Steve LaForest, Tom Mason, Dianne & Otto Peter, Rayfield Pye.

Sunderland: Karli Allen, Jerry Ball, Dennis Barry, Dave Bishop, Josh Blanchard, Susan Blayney, Dan Bone, Jon Boxall, Margaret Carney, Peter Clute, Alec Follett, Ann Hilborn, David Himelfarb, Jim Hopkins, Glenda Jones, James, Lynda, Nathan & Liam Kamstra, Carolyn King, Steve LaForest, Thom Lambert, Tom Mason, Les McClair, Ed Poropat, Rayfield Pye, Victoria Ridenour, Kathy Story, Norbert Woerns, Bob & Karen Yukich.