Community led planning to ensure Innisfil’s natural heritage systems remain strong far into the future.
With the support of the Greenbelt Foundation, the Rescue Lake Simcoe Coalition analyzed and mapped environmental policies across Simcoe County and the Lake Simcoe watershed landscape.
Following this research, in February 2020 the Rescue Lake Simcoe Coalition hosted an event at Innisfil’s incredible IdeaLab and Library. This was attended by Innisfil residents, including some members of Council, the MPP for the area, Andrea Khanjin, and members of the Rescue Lake Simcoe Coalition’s Innisfil member groups, including the Innisfil District Association and Innisfree Ltd.
Participants discussed how to keep Innisfil’s natural heritage strong and connected into the future.
Only 14% of Simcoe County’s landscape fell into our “best protected by environmental policy” category; in the Lake Simcoe watershed, that percentage rose to twenty one. More of the areas’ natural heritage needs strong policy protection in order to create a robust and connected Natural Heritage System. The full reports can be accessed via the “Our Work” page, or by searching for “Reports”.
We need an intact ecosystem complete with forests and wetlands in order to protect biodiversity and good water quality. But a healthy environment also supports healthy people and local economies.
In the Lake Simcoe watershed a quality ecosystem supports the $420 million / year sustainable recreation sector, and delivers millions in ecosystem services like clean water, flood control, climate regulation and water filtration.
The Lake Simcoe Protection Plan includes a target of 40% high quality natural cover (HQNC) in the Lake Simcoe watershed, but no policies specifically support this target. Today, 28% of the Lake Simcoe watershed qualifies as HQNC but only half of that area is well protected by strong natural heritage policies that do not permit land use changes.
Greater efforts at the municipal level can increase the size and protections given to areas of High Quality Natural Cover, and improve on the identification and protection of other natural features that protect our environment and way of life. The 2020 provincial review of the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan is an opportunity to express the need for better protection of High Quality Natural Cover.
In February 2020 the Rescue Lake Simcoe Coalition hosted an event at Innisfil’s incredible IdeaLab and Library attended by Innisfil residents including some members of Council and the MPP for the area, and members of the Rescue Lake Simcoe Coalition’s Innisfil member groups the Innisfil District Association and Innisfree Ltd., for a lively discussion about how to keep Innisfil’s natural heritage strong and connected into the future.
This maps shows the result of the participatory mapping exercise noted above.
Summary of Aims
Due to the significance of patch size, it is of utmost importance to protect and maintain the 25 hectare patches mapped by the province as “High Quality Natural Cover” (HQNC) using the following steps:
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