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Natural Heritage


Part of Halton Region’s long-term plan is to maintain our natural heritage for the future. Learn about our natural heritage and how we plan to preserve it.

What is natural heritage?

Halton Region has natural areas such as woodlands, wetlands, streams, creeks, valley lands and meadows that provide a habitat for diverse plants and animals. Some natural areas have been removed for development, making the remaining natural areas very important for current and future generations. These natural areas are considered our heritage. Natural areas are healthy and thrive when connected to form a natural heritage system. The natural heritage system in Halton is made up of the regional natural heritage system and the greenbelt natural heritage system.

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Guideline

An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is a study prepared by a qualified professional to determine if proposed development or site alteration will have a negative impact on the features and function of Halton’s Natural Heritage System. Halton’s EIA Guideline has been prepared to provide guidance to landowners considering development or site alteration in or near the Halton’s Natural Heritage System. For EIA practitioners, it also outlines when a study is required and the procedure for completing an EIA.

Regional forests

Halton Region has managed its Regional Forests for more than 75 years. It owns 703 hectares (1,739 acres) of forests in 14 separate tracts, which include wooded areas, wetlands and meadows. Regional Forests provide rich and varied habitats for wildlife and are home to several rare species.

Halton Tree By-Law 121-05

The Halton Tree By-law 121-05 came into effect on January 1, 2006. Its purpose is to inform property owners about:

Promoting healthy forests, tree conservation and Good Forestry Practices Protecting forest ecosystems and environmentally sensitive areas Preventing poor logging and clear cutting of woodlands Regulating tree harvesting

Woodlands Stewardship Program

The Woodlands Stewardship Program aims to increase awareness about managing forested areas on private lands. It provides funding for preparing Forest Management Plans, purchasing and planting of trees, and tree-marking services.

Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System

The Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark (external link) is home to:

  • nearly a quarter of the Canada's wild plant species
  • more than 50 species at risk

It consists of almost 1,900 hectares of natural lands at the western end of Lake Ontario. The EcoPark is the last intact ecological connection between the Lake Ontario wetlands and the Niagara Escarpment.

We are working with 8 other partners to ensure that the EcoPark System is a protected, permanent and connected natural lands sanctuary. It strives to promote ecosystem and human health within Ontario’s Greenbelt.