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​Natural Heritage


What is Natural Heritage?

Natural heritage features are the forests, streams, wetlands and regenerating fields (and their interconnections) that support key ecological processes within our watershed.

What is the Natural Heritage Program?

The Natural Heritage Program provides technical review of planning applications and works with partner municipalities to develop natural heritage strategies for inclusion in their Official Plans. This program also supports other Authority initiatives such as Watershed Plan updates and Conservation Area management plans.

How do we provide technical review of planning applications?

Monitoring staff work with the Authority's Planning staff, municipalities and the Ministry of Natural Resources to review planning applications to ensure that they are consistent with provincial, county and municipal natural heritage policies, and that significant natural heritage areas are protected from inappropriate development.

How do we develop municipal natural heritage strategies?

Staff work with interested municipal partners to develop a 'Terms of Reference' for a municipal natural heritage strategy. Typically, this involves mapping of natural heritage features using a provincial standard protocol and then evaluating the significance of these features using a GIS-based model that measures the terrestrial, aquatic and groundwater attributes associated with these features (consistent with provincial policy). Staff then work with the municipality to prepare Official Plan natural heritage schedules and policies that are consistent with provincial natural heritage policy.

What other NVCA programs are supported by the Natural Heritage Program?

The Authority is currently updating its Watershed Management Plan. Part of this update will include identification of natural heritage system targets including an overall natural heritage strategy that identifies key natural heritage features and their interconnections within the watershed.

Program staff assist the Land and Water Stewardship Services department in the development of Conservation Area Management Plans. We are responsible for detailed ecological surveys of Conservation Areas and provide recommendations for natural area management.

Results to date

  • Municipal natural heritage strategies have been developed in partnership with several member municipalities, including the Town of New Tecumseth, Township of Essa and Town of Wasaga Beach.

  • Program staff have contributed to the Tiffin Centre for Conservation and Nottawasaga Bluffs Conservation Area Management Plans as well as the ongoing Minesing Wetlands Biophysical Inventory study.

  • Wetland approximation mapping has been completed for the watershed​

Related Reports an​d Studies

Tiffin Conservation Area Forest Bird Monitoring Program: 2005 to 2018 (Oct. 2018)

​This report summarizes and assesses the Forest Bird Monitoring Program data collected at the Tiffin Centre for Conservation between 2005 and 2018. It analyzes trends in species presence, species abundance and richness by guilds, indicator species, and species at risk. 


60 years of forest change in the Minesing Wetlands (1953-2013): Causal factors, ecological implications and recommendations for reforestation (2014 report) 

60 Years of Forest Change in Minesing Wetlands (1953-2013)

Hydrogeochemical characterization of the eastern Minesing Wetlands (Nov. 2014) 

Hydrogeochemical characterization of the eastern Minesing Wetlands

Minesing Wetlands Flora and Fauna Biological Inventory (2007)

Minesing Wetlands Flora and Fauna Biological Inventory  (11 MB file)