Species decline lends new urgency to turtle fence expansion on Cootes Drive
Earlier this spring, the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) designated the midland painted turtle (pictured above) as a species of Special Concern. That means that all of Ontario’s turtle species are now on the list.
Local populations in Cootes Paradise and Spencer Creek have fared better in recent years thanks in part to the efforts of the Dundas Turtle Watch volunteer group and the Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG). Following the success of RBG’s efforts to fence their property along the north-east side of Cootes Drive, Hamilton Conservation Authority (HCA) added a similar fence to HCA property on the south-west side of the road in 2016.
While these fences have been successful in helping to reduce turtle fatalities on Cootes Drive, it has not eliminated them. In order to build on these successes, the Foundation is now raising $15,000 to complete the turtle fencing project and fence the remaining 250 metres of unprotected roadway. This will add to the existing 420 metre section and a previously planned 280 metre extension. This will stretch the fence the full 950 metre distance between the Spencer Creek bridge and a culvert passageway to the west of the fence.
The vast majority of turtles found in the area are either snapping turtles or midland painted turtles. For these threatened species, added protection can’t come soon enough.
Ready to help Hamilton’s turtles? Click here to donate now!
Anyone who has had the pleasure of cooking on a camping trip will be familiar with the ubiquitous green propane cylinders which fuel camping stoves. While these cylinders are commonplace, their disposal has long been a sustainability nightmare for local campgrounds.
In recent years, Ontario Parks introduced their OrangeDrop program with high-visibility bins where campers can dispose of their cylinders responsibly before they are transported to local recycling facilities.
As a result of a grant from TD Friends of the Environment Foundation and donations to the Hamilton Conservation Foundation, Fifty Point CA, Christie Lake CA and Valens Lake CA now host OrangeDrop bins and plenty of educational signage to ensure that cylinders are recycled.
Before this program was introduced, canisters were often found in trash cans or worse, tossed in an inconspicuous area of brush. Now that the recycling program has launched, staff who once discovered littered canisters on a daily basis are going weeks without finding them.
This past Sunday (June 24th) saw dozens of volunteers and community members gather in Westfield’s Ironwood Hall to review an early draft of Westfield Heritage Village’s new Master Plan. The plan will drive capital development in and around the Village for the next ten years.
While this might seem like a dry exercise, it’s important to note that this is the first Master Plan since the Hamilton Conservation Authority acquired a number of natural properties behind the Village. This plan will direct how those lands are developed and integrated with the Village.
The plan will explore passive recreation opportunities, trails and interpretive opportunities in the newly-expanded area which has the opportunity to offer a larger conservation area experience similar to what is offered at other HCA conservation areas.
Anyone who wishes to review the plan and comment is invited to please contact Katherine Smith at 905-525-2181 ext 117 or Katherine.firstname.lastname@example.org.