GEI was engaged to complete the natural heritage and ecological restoration design components in support of commercial development within the Derry Green Subwatershed Area. GEI contributed to the preparation of Subwatershed Impact Studies (SISs) for three sites within the Derry Green Secondary Plan Area.
GEI’s ecologists completed baseline aquatic and terrestrial studies within three properties within Derry Green Subwatershed catchments (3A and 5A) within the greater Derry Green Secondary Plan area proposed for future employment use development. As part of a multi-disciplinary team including engineers, hydrogeologists and planners our ecological and restoration teams completed the SISs for each property which included the identification of natural heritage features as well as mitigative/net gain opportunities where impacts were anticipated.
Detailed ecological investigations were undertaken to characterize the ecological forms and functions present within the landscape. Natural heritage features identified within these study areas included significant woodlands, fish habitat, significant wildlife habitat, habitat for endangered and threatened species and provincially significant wetlands.
Species at Risk (SAR) identified within the vicinity of or within this study area included SAR bats, Barn Swallow and Silver Shiner. Detailed discussions with the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks regarding SAR habitat and potential impacts from site alteration and/or development occurred.
As part of SIS studies, a review of the landscape setting was completed to evaluate the form and function of the existing natural heritage system and three locations were identified as being part of the natural heritage system within the Derry Green Secondary Plan, where restoration and/or enhancement was highlighted. GEI worked to define a new natural heritage system based on existing conditions and include mitigation for wetland and significant wildlife habitat removal. Restoration opportunities identified within the newly defined natural heritage system included watercourse realignments, wetland creation and enhancements, as well as invasive species management.
Specialized wildlife habitats were also designed within the retained Natural Heritage System, such as providing overwintering habitat for Snapping Turtle and amphibians, creation of pollinator habitat and terrestrial crayfish habitat, while providing roosting opportunities for bats.
GEI will be engaged in construction monitoring to ensure that the mitigation and avoidance measured outlined within the SIS are adhered to and ensure restoration guidelines are followed. During construction monitoring, our vegetation ecologists will ensure all plant materials follow Conservation Halton’s restoration guidelines. Our Ecological Restoration Team will work closely with the permitting agencies and construction teams to ensure all construction guidelines are followed.
Once construction has been completed, GEI will complete a five-year ecological monitoring program within the newly created and enhanced natural heritage system.