Agriculture & Environment


Related Documents 

Halton Region is home to an active and vibrant farming industry, which includes a wide range of farming types, including livestock operations, cash crops, fruit and vegetable growers, horse farms, nurseries and more.

Rural Agricultural Strategy

Halton Region is developing a Rural Agricultural Strategy. A Public Information Centre (PIC) will be held to provide an opportunity for the public to review and comment on the background report. More information

Halton Region Agricultural Forum

The forum is a chance to network with peers, learn from engaging speakers and communicate your needs. More information

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Halton residents have inherited a rich and diverse natural legacy that includes a wide range of plants and wildlife, unique features and areas of spectacular beauty.

Part of Halton’s long-term planning vision is to maintain our natural heritage and to pass this on to future generations.

Formation of Halton's Physical Character

Halton's natural environment is comprised of a connected system of physical features (landforms, soils, water) and biological features (plants and wildlife). Halton's layered bedrock of shale and dolomite originated 300 to 400 million years ago.

The landscape of Halton has been shaped by glaciers, which scoured the bedrock at the end of the last ice age. When the glaciers retreated, they left behind a thick layer of fertile till soils in south eastern Halton, now an important farming area, and deposited thin stony soils over the bedrock north of the escarpment.

The present drainage patterns also became established as the ice withdrew from the area. The region is predominantly drained by four major watercourses: Bronte Creek, Sixteen Mile Creek, Grindstone Creek and the Credit River.

Biological Features

The great varieties of soil and physical features in Halton, along with a climate ideal for vegetation growth, have combined to create environments, which support a wide variety of plants and wildlife.

Rare and unusual plants and wildlife can be found within the region.

The Niagara Escarpment provides habitat for a wide variety of plants, such as Hart's tongue Fern, Walking Fern and Green Violet.

Prior to settlement, Halton was extensively forested. The first settlers cleared the trees for lumber. As that resource dwindled, saw mills were changed to grist mills and much of the land was used for farming.

The Great Lakes St. Lawrence Forest Region originally covered most of Southern Ontario and is evident in the northern three quarters of Halton. The largest continuous forest area of this type remaining in Halton is the Halton Forest Complex near Hilton Falls, which covers about 2,900 hectares (7,200 acres) and represents the original forest environment. The typical trees present in this area are: Sugar Maple, Beech, White Pine and Yellow Birch.

Preserving Halton's Natural Environment

One of Halton Region’s first major tasks since it was established in 1974 was to prepare a Regional Official Plan Review (ROPR) to guide the overall development of the region. Early in the ROPR preparation process, residents identified the protection of Halton's natural environ¬ment as a high priority.

A major study identified significant natural areas of the regional landscape. These Envi-ronmentally Sensitive Areas (ESAs) (PDF file) were incorporated into the Regional Plan with corre¬sponding policies to assist in their long term preservation. ESAs have been replaced in successive versions of the Regional Plan and the focus in the current version is on protection of a Natural Heritage System as a whole.

Private Stewardship - The Cornerstone of Natural Heritage Protection

Some of Halton's Natural Heritage features and areas are owned by Halton Region, or been acquired by other government agencies for all to enjoy. The Region’s Greenlands Securement Program is designed to assist our Partners in this area.

Many other natural heritage areas are privately owned. Landowners who are aware of the natural features on their property often appreciate their property more.

This kind of private stewardship is the cor¬nerstone for future protection of Halton's remaining natural heritage features.

Halton Today

Halton’s natural surroundings include nearly 18,500 hectares (45,714 acres) of forests, wetlands, river and stream corridors, and large sections of the Lake Ontario Shoreline and the Niagara Escarpment. Halton is committed to permanently protecting and enhancing Halton’s natural heritage.

Halton is considered a provincial leader for protecting the region’s natural features and has been recognized for implementing strong and innovative natural heritage protection planning policies. Continuing this legacy, innovative Natural Heritage System (NHS) protection measures were recently added to the ROPR to ensure that Halton’s biological diversity and ecological functions will be preserved future generations. As a result, approximately 50 per cent of the region is protected in the ROP as part of Halton’s Natural Heritage Strategy.

Natural Heritage Advisory Committee (NHAC)

In 1976, to pursue its commitment to main¬taining the region’s natural environment, Regional Council established a committee to pro¬vide expert technical advice on environmental mat¬ters. NHAC advises and assists the Region in managing and conserving Halton’s natural environment.

Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System

The EcoPark (external link) is a collaborative initiative to protect, restore and connect almost 1,900 hectares (4,700 acres) of natural lands at the western end of Lake Ontario. This is one of the most biologically rich areas of Canada, home to nearly a quarter of the country’s wild plant species and more than 50 species at risk. It is also the last intact ecological connection between the Lake Ontario wetlands and the Niagara Escarpment.