The much-anticipated Saltfleet Conservation Area (CA) wetland project will continue moving forward thanks to a $50,000 grant from the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation. The grant will help cover the cost of a number of studies and design plans required to start construction. That work includes an archaeological survey and a detailed wetland design plan which are expected to be completed in 2021.
The decade-long project is expected to create a number of wetlands and dramatically increase the Upper Stoney and Battlefield Creek’s capacity to mitigate flooding with natural heritage features. These wetlands will form part of the new Saltfleet CA which is also includes passive recreation opportunities and a trail link to the Dofasco 2000 Trail. The larger project has only been made possible with the support of the Heritage Green Community Trust and City of Hamilton who together provided $4 million in funding to acquire the lands necessary to begin this work.
With an unusual and certainly unprecedented school year now coming to an end, a lack of classes visiting the Hamilton Conservation Authority’s Outdoor Environmental Education program in the Dundas Valley CA has put serious pressure on the program’s budget. While similar pressures forced the program to close in the late 1990s, it has been able to withstand this latest disruption and continue connecting students with the natural world.
This is only possible thanks to the support of our extraordinary donors such as the Hamilton Industrial Environmental Association (HIEA). HIEA made a grant for $5,000 to support the program despite knowing that students are not currently able to take field trips to the Dundas Valley CA. The program is instead offering a Nature at Home series to keep students learning about the environment during the pandemic.
Thanks to HIEA’s support, and all of the other wonderful supporters who donate to the Foundation’s Step into Nature Fund, Education program staff are now making plans for the Fall when they hope to greet classes back in the Dundas Valley CA.
With the Covid-19 pandemic leading to the closure of all HCA Conservation Areas earlier this Spring, many regular trail users found themselves resigned to sheltering in place. Adopting an isolated, sedentary lifestyle has been essential to stopping the illness’s spread but it has come with its own negative health consequences. It’s no secret that increased screen time and limited opportunities for fresh air and exercise can affect your mental and physical health.
HCA’s decision to re-open long-distance trails was met with great enthusiasm by Hamilton’s trail users. Even more enthusiasm greeted the re-opening of select Conservation Areas where physical distancing is possible. Trail users have quickly returned and appear to have a new appreciation for the mental and physical health benefits of time spent in nature. The tremendously positive public health impact of these re-openings should not be underestimated.
What many visitors don’t know is that these beautiful, diverse and tremendously necessary conservation lands are only protected because of the generosity and foresight of supporters like you. That support can be seen across the watershed. We’ve had kind words from supporters hiking the Fifty Point CA trail loop as well as donors returning to their daily hikes in the Dundas Valley CA. Neither experience would have been possible had it not been for the community generosity our Foundation has enjoyed since 1976. For being a part of that incredible community legacy, we cannot thank you enough. Your support is now more important than ever.