Our Ecological Offsetting Plan is one of the ways we're trying to improve our watershed's health. We launched the Plan in 2017 in order to respond to the impacts on the landscape as a result of development. The concept of ecological offsetting is not new. It has been practiced around the world for several years.
Our plan requires property developers to compensate for the negative environmental consequences of their activities on the land.
Our ultimate goal is to end up with more ecological features on the land, not less!
Ecological Offsetting is a tiered plan.
- First we seek to avoid any negative environmental impact from development.
- If it can't be avoided, then we seek to minimize the impact as much as possible.
- If there are impacts, then we work with the property developer to undertake rehabilitation efforts to make up for the loss.
- If that's not possible, then we require financial compensation so we can create or restore new habitat through a compensation program. The route of compensation is considered a last resort. If we take this route we seek compensation at a minimum ratio of 2 to 1 or 3 to 1, depending on the type of compensation. For example, a 3 to 1 compensation ratio could look like this: If 1 hectare of forest is cut down, 3 hectares of forest must be planted to replace it.
We believe Ecological Offsetting is an important step towards achieving environmental sustainability in our watershed and across Ontario. Our Ecological Offsetting Plan was approved by our Board of Directors in May 2017. The full details about the plan can be found here.
Tracking Our Efforts
To ensure transparency, a record of the collection and allocation of funds received through the plan will be made available to the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD), watershed municipalities and other interested stakeholders, on an annual basis, in a report to our Board of Directors.
The first compensation project funded through this Plan is in East Gwillimbury in York Region, where we are creating new wetland habitat at Rogers Reservoir Conservation Area. The new wetland is being constructed during the winter and spring of 2018, next to the Nokiidaa Trail, west of Holland River Blvd. Updates will be posted on that page.