Getting Growing Numbers Of People Involved In Saving This ‘Sacred Space’ Is Crucial
A Call-Out from John Bacher for the citizens group Greening Niagara
Posted July 18th, 2016 on Niagara At Large
Niagara, Ontario – Since 1993, when the clear cutting of an old growth forest north of Oldfield Road in Niagara Falls took place, the struggle to protect the slough forest and its buffering savannah in that same area has become a focus for protecting this region’s environment.
As part of the effort to rescue this sacred space – now known to growing number of concerned area residents as the Thundering Waters Forest (also known as the Ramsay Road Forest) in Niagara Falls, Ontario – an environmental group, Greening Niagara, is organizing a trash cleanup.
Greening Niagara is encouraging anyone in the community who wishes to participate in this cleanup to gather Saturday, July 23 at 10 a.m. at Dorchester Road in Niagara Falls, south of the Canadian Pacific Rail line. Participants should wear long shirts and pants and avoid open toe sandals and bring garbage bags.
A draft Environmental Impact Study (EIS) has identified trash in the protected wetlands of the slough forest in this Thundering Waters area as harmful to reproduction success of a regionally rare species, the Blue Spotted Salamander.
The EIS, paid for by GR Investments, the corporate group planning to pave much of this area over for residential and commercial development, examined eight vernal pools in the area. It identified one pond in particular in the area, contaminated with “numerous canisters, fuel drums and other debris” which was dumped there and “which may have inhibited the suitability of this pond for breeding Blue-Spotted Salamanders. “
At a recent board meeting, Greening Niagara resolved that protecting the Thundering Waters Forest would be a high priority for the organization. Early this spring, the new Executive Director of Greening Niagara, Nate Smelle, produced a moving video about the threatened wetland.
The video was produced during a time of the full singing of the Western Chorus Frog and it played an important role in defeating calls to use the site as the basis for a pilot project, being pushed for by the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority, in wetland trading or biodiversity offsetting.
Unfortunately, while the idea of biodiversity offsetting is dead for the moment at the Thundering Waters site, the development on areas of the land which is not protected wetlands is going speed ahead.
The importance of getting more people involved in protecting the Thundering Waters Forest is highlighted by the arrogant non response to the recent wise call made by Native Canadians.
Under the leadership of the Oneida environmental activist, Karl Dockstader, a number of Native organizations such as the Indigenous Solidarity Coalition of Brock University, have called for a moratorium on further work on what is termed the Thundering Waters Secondary plan. The response of officialdom in Niagara Falls has so far been to speed the process up.
At the end of the last Open House on this issue, held earlier this July in the Niagara Falls Gale Center, it was announced that a Public Meeting to discuss the key zoning approvals needed for the development to proceed will be held on August 23 – the same date as a regularly scheduled Tuesday meeting of Niagara Falls City Council.
John Bacher is a veteran conservationist in Niagara, Ontario and is the Chair of Greening Niagara
For more on Greening Niagara click on – http://www.greeningniagara.ca/ .
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