Nature Canada Nature Canada Nature Canada Nature Canada Nature Canada Nature Canada Nature Canada Nature Canada
Rouge National Urban Park – Amazing Gift to Canadians
News

Rouge National Urban Park – Amazing Gift to Canadians

[caption id="attachment_22697" align="alignleft" width="150"]Image of Stephen Hazell Stephen Hazell
Director of Conservation
and General Counsel[/caption] On Tuesday June 20th, Nature Canada along with CPAWS celebrated a major achievement for Rouge National Urban Park! Bill C-18 has received Royal Assent from the Governor General. This means that the ecological integrity of the park will now be the first priority in management of Rouge National Urban Park. "We couldn’t have done it without the extraordinary leadership and commitment by Minister McKenna and her team to the park,” said Eleanor Fast, Executive Director of Nature Canada. The minister made it a priority early in her mandate to strengthen the legislation and find a path forward that includes all involved." Ontario Nature, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, and Friends of the Rouge Watershed all played important roles in achieving this legislative success. With the implementation of this law, the Rouge National Urban Park meets the international definition of a protected area and that sets up the area for the best chance at long-term success. The Rouge National Urban Park is home to over 1,700 species of plants and animals. As well, it is home to at least 23 species at risk, like the Blanding's Turtle and the Bank Swallow! This area is part of the Carolinian Forest and is located in the heart of the GTA which makes it a perfect gateway for residences to enjoy nearby nature.   You can read more about this special National Urban Park by visiting our blog or the joint CPAWS – Nature Canada press release.

Email Signup

Want more nature news?

Join our 50,000 nature lovers raising their voices for nature!

Conservation Groups Celebrate Passage of Law that Strengthens Protections for Rouge National Urban Park
News

Conservation Groups Celebrate Passage of Law that Strengthens Protections for Rouge National Urban Park

Ecological integrity becomes priority in management of park today. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Ottawa (June 20, 2017) - CPAWS and Nature Canada celebrate a major achievement today for Rouge National Urban Park- Bill C-18 received Royal Assent from the Governor General. The law means ecological integrity will be the first priority in management of Rouge National Urban Park. It meets a key request from leading conservation groups in Canada that the federal government prioritize nature conservation in law for the park. "How sweet it is," says Janet Sumner, Executive Director for CPAWS Wildlands League. "After five years, we are that much closer to achieving our dream of building a truly amazing protected ecological connection for wildlife between the Oak Ridges Moraine and Lake Ontario in the Toronto area," Sumner added.‎ Nature Canada and CPAWS thank Minister Catherine McKenna and her team for leading the amendment process. "We couldn't have done it without the extraordinary leadership and commitment by Minister McKenna and her team to the park," said Eleanor Fast, Executive Director of Nature Canada. The minister made it a priority early in her mandate to strengthen the legislation and find a path forward that includes all involved. The groups are pleased with the result. "The law now meets the international definition of a protected area and ensures the park will have the best chance at long term success given its densely urban surroundings," Fast added. The groups also look forward to working with the farmers in the park on stewardship. Nature Canada and CPAWS have worked closely with both Canada and Ontario to ensure the full potential of Rouge National Urban Park can be achieved. "What an amazing gift this is to Canadians," says Éric Hébert-Daly of CPAWS. "The Rouge is a special place where everyone: newcomers to Canada, friends and families who love the outdoors and those who are just getting to know nature in their own backyard can connect with nature," added Hebert Daly. The Rouge protects a rare Carolinian Forest, is home to over 1,700 species of plants and animals including 23 species at risk. Because it is located in the heart of the GTA, this natural gem will also be an important gateway for residents and visitors to learn about Canada's national park system and the important role it plays in protecting Canada's biodiversity.


For more information please contact:  Janet Sumner, Executive Director CPAWS Wildlands League 416-579-7370 (mobile) Eleanor Fast Executive Director, Nature Canada 613-314-8713 (mobile) Éric Hébert-Daly National Executive Director, CPAWS 613-569-7226 ext 228

Amendments to the Rouge National Urban Park Act – Huge Step Forward
News

Amendments to the Rouge National Urban Park Act – Huge Step Forward

[caption id="attachment_22697" align="alignleft" width="150"]Image of Stephen Hazell Stephen Hazell
Director of Conservation
and General Counsel[/caption] Rouge Park located in the Eastern Greater Toronto Area which houses much of the lower Rouge River watershed – one of the last flowing rivers into Western Lake Ontario – was scheduled to become part of Canada’s first National Urban Park last year. However, the initiative was held up because of inadequate environmental protections. Today, amendments to the Rouge National Urban Park Act by federal Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna have been tabled to address key conservation oversights in the original 2015 version of the Act, namely making the maintenance or restoration of ecological integrity the top priority in the park’s management. Rouge National Urban Park protects one of Canada’s most biodiverse ecozones – home to a number of rare and at-risk species, and unique ecosystems that are not adequately captured in the country’s protected areas network. The park also falls on the eastern edge of one of Canada’s largest metropolitan areas, the Greater Toronto Area, making it an important and accessible area for millions of urban Canadians to connect with nature. Nature Canada’s national NatureHood program speaks to the same objective, citing the value of urban protected areas in addressing so-called “nature deficit disorder”. [caption id="attachment_28042" align="alignright" width="300"]Little Rouge Creek in Rouge Park Little Rouge Creek in Rouge Park. Photo by Stefan Ogrisek (CC BY 2.0)[/caption] The amendments introduced in today’s Bill improve the ecological protections for Rouge National Urban Park and underscore the importance of landscape connectivity in the region. They ensure that park management decisions necessarily protect natural resources and natural processes, giving nature the best chance to flourish. “The Rouge National Urban Park represents a huge conservation achievement in one of Canada’s most heavily populated and developed regions,” says Alex MacDonald, Nature Canada’s Senior Conservation Manager. “With today’s amendments we’re confident that Parks Canada’s management decisions for the area will enhance nature and natural processes over time – a key proviso given the unique setting for this park.” he adds. Nature Canada looks forward to reviewing future management plans for the site to see how enhanced landscape connectivity and the maintenance and restoration of ecological integrity are taken into consideration. Nature Canada has also been calling for greater protection of this site – along with 6 other proposed protected areas. To read more about this critically important site and others - visit here.

Email Signup

Want more nature news?

Subscribe to Nature Canada's online community!

Amendments to the Rouge National Urban Park Act represent a huge conservation achievement says Nature Canada Conservation experts
News

Amendments to the Rouge National Urban Park Act represent a huge conservation achievement says Nature Canada Conservation experts

Ottawa, ON (June 9, 2016) ― Nature Canada applauds today’s introduction of amendments to the Rouge National Urban Park Act by federal Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna. The amendments address key conservation oversights in the original 2015 version of the Act, namely making the maintenance or restoration of ecological integrity the top priority in the park’s management. “It is important that Rouge National Urban Park, just like its national park counterparts across Canada, be managed with ecological integrity as the first priority,” says Eleanor Fast, Executive Director of Nature Canada, “As Canada’s voice for nature, we’re very happy to see Minister McKenna’s acknowledgement of this and we applaud and support her for improving upon the original legislation,” she adds. Rouge National Urban Park protects one of Canada’s most biodiverse ecozones – home to a number of rare and at-risk species, and unique ecosystems that are not adequately captured in the country’s protected areas network. The park also falls on the eastern edge of one of Canada’s largest metropolitan areas, the Greater Toronto Area, making it an important and accessible area for millions of urban Canadians to connect with nature. Nature Canada’s national NatureHood program speaks to the same objective, citing the value of urban protected areas in addressing so-called “nature deficit disorder”. The amendments introduced in today’s Bill improve the ecological protections for Rouge National Urban Park. They ensure that park management decisions necessarily protect natural resources and natural processes, giving nature the best chance to flourish. “The Rouge National Urban Park represents a huge conservation achievement in one of Canada’s most heavily populated and developed regions,” says Alex MacDonald, Nature Canada’s Senior Conservation Manager. “With today’s amendments we’re confident that Parks Canada’s management decisions for the area will enhance nature and natural processes over time – a key proviso given the unique setting for this park.” he adds. Nature Canada looks forward to reviewing future management plans for the site to see how enhanced landscape connectivity and the maintenance and restoration of ecological integrity are taken into consideration. - 30 - To arrange an interview, please contact: Janet Weichel McKenzie, 613-808-4642 or jweichelmckenzie@gmail.com Alex MacDonald, Senior Conservation Manager, Nature Canada - 613-324-7003 (mobile) or amacdonald@naturecanada.ca About Nature Canada Nature Canada is the oldest national nature conservation charity in Canada. Over the past 75 years, Nature Canada has helped protect over 63 million acres of parks and wildlife areas in Canada and countless species that depend on this habitat. Today, Nature Canada represents a network of more than 45,000 members and supporters and more than 350 nature organizations across the country, with affiliates in every province. Nature Canada focuses on effecting change on issues of national significance including bird conservation,  citizen science initiatives, urban nature initiatives, building a national network of conservation organizations, building a network of volunteers to care for critical natural habitat sites across Canada and being a voice for nature at the federal level.

Putting the Blue back into the Rouge
News

Putting the Blue back into the Rouge

[caption id="attachment_26918" align="alignleft" width="150"]Image of Blair Scott Blair Scott,
Professional Writing Intern[/caption] The tale of the Eastern Bluebird teaches us that species at risk can be rehabilitated if the will is there. From the 1920s to the 1970s, Eastern Bluebird populations declined dramatically. Once a regular visitor to the Rouge Valley in the eastern Greater Toronto Region, sightings of this species have been rare since then. The Eastern Bluebird is a small, plump bird dressed in beautiful, blue plumage, accented by a rusty-orange and white chest. Its round head and stout stature is comically contrasted by its short legs and beak. It often sits perched on branches, posts or wires, examining the ground for insects on which it preys. During the off-season, it forages for berries on trees. The Eastern Bluebird depends on pre-made cavities as nests – any old hole in a dead, upright tree will do, including those made by woodpeckers. However, it is this very dependence that has strongly impacted its survival here. In the early 20th century, non-native birds such as House Sparrows were introduced into Canada. House Sparrows are aggressive compared to Eastern Bluebirds and also depend on nesting cavities. House Sparrows take over nesting boxes designated for Bluebirds and vigilantly defend them against interlopers. The Tree Swallow is another species that competes aggressively with the Eastern Bluebird.Image of a Eastern Bluebird Habitat loss and toxic chemicals such as DDT have also been challenges for the Eastern Bluebird. DDT spraying has long since discontinued, but other toxic chemicals are still present in the air, soil and water of the Rouge Valley. Loss of habitat remains an ongoing concern.  For example, standing dead trees and rotting logs provide habitat for this species; but the human compulsion to cut down such trees and clean up “messes” of rotten wood runs counter to the interests of bluebirds. For Eastern Bluebird conservation—if not ecological integrity generally — perhaps dead trees should be allowed to stand (until they fall down by themselves) and allowed them to rot (at their own pace) in the new Rouge National Urban Park. The park has been mentioned as one of the only places in Toronto to see bluebirds consistently, and the main reason for that is the nesting boxes provided by the Rouge Valley Conservation Center. Nature Canada is a longtime supporter of a national park in the Rouge Valley that has ecological integrity as the first management priority—including bringing back the Eastern Bluebird.  To achieve that goal; we support amendments to the Rouge Park law that the new federal government is considering.  Rouge Park may be Canada’s most important urban park given that it is on the doorstep of Canada’s largest metropolitan region and includes important and rare Carolinian forests.  In Rouge Park, there is nature to explore  for everyone–canoeing, camping, hiking, bird-watching and fishing Get out into your NatureHood! Nature Canada is raising our voice to have this area, as well as 6 others, listed as a protected area and you can help!

[button link="http://e-activist.com/ea-campaign/action.retrievestaticpage.do?ea_static_page_id=4826" size="medium" target="_self" color="blue" lightbox="false"]Take Action and Save Wilderness Now[/button]

Email Signup

Want more nature news?

Subscribe to Nature Canada's online community!

2016: Year of Action on Nature Conservation 
News

2016: Year of Action on Nature Conservation 

[caption id="attachment_16447" align="alignleft" width="150"]Stephen Hazell Stephen Hazell
Director of Conservation
and General Counsel[/caption] So far, so good for nature conservation in 2016—thanks to Nature Canada’s members! Wilderness and Wildlife Protection - Three months in office, and the new Liberal government is making pretty good progress taking action to conserve nature. Environment Minister Catherine McKenna has signalled that she wants to move quickly to amend the Rouge National Urban Park legislation to protect the ecological integrity of the park and expand the park to include key provincial lands.  Nature Canada is also on the verge of convincing the Liberal government to reverse the previous government’s bad decisions on prairie grasslands that provide important habitat for dozens of species at risk. Stay tuned for details. The Green Budget Coalition (which includes Nature Canada) has had a series of excellent meetings with the Prime Minister's Office, the Department of Finance and Environment Canada to make the 2016 federal budget as green as it can be. The Coalition is recommending additional funding to protect species at risk, conserve threatened grasslands, increase the number and size of protected areas such as National Wildlife Areas, and connect Canadians to nature. Image of a winter landscapeStrengthening Environmental Laws - Nature Canada is satisfied with the consultations with federal officials to restore and strengthen environmental laws. The government' interim principles to improve hearings for pipelines are a step in the right direction, and the right of cross-examination will almost certainly be reinstated for the Energy East hearings. We are confident that the public review of environmental assessment will be carried out either by an independent panel or the House of Commons Environment Committee.  With a public review, it makes it more likely that the government will introduce some constructive changes to environmental assessment laws. Saving Songbirds- The official launch of Nature Canada's program to keep cats safe and save birds from cat predation is set for late February. Growing NatureHood -  And our NatureHood program continues to grow in cities and communities across Canada. A NatureBlitz will be hosted in Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary and Alaksen National Wildlife Area on February 27th for youth and all young at heart to explore this wonderful site. What a great start to 2016—thanks to all our members for your tremendous membership support which helps to defend wildlife and wilderness!! [button link="https://netdonor.net/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=1909&ea.campaign.id=47834" size="large" target="_self" icon="" color="blue" lightbox="false"]If you have not yet renewed your membership, please donate today by clicking here![/button]

Strengthen the Rouge Park Law
News

Strengthen the Rouge Park Law

[caption id="attachment_16447" align="alignleft" width="150"]Stephen Hazell Stephen Hazell
Director of Conservation
and General Counsel[/caption] The House of Commons gets back to work on January 25, so what should be on its legislative agenda to protect nature?  Many laws need to be changed to build a framework for an ecologically sustainable Canada. But here is an easy one for the new Liberal government and the House of Commons: Amend the Rouge National Park law to establish the primacy of ecological integrity in park management and expand the park to include adjacent public lands currently under federal jurisdiction. [caption id="attachment_24774" align="alignright" width="225"]Rouge Park by Jamie Rouge Park by Jamie[/caption] Prime Minister Trudeau has already directed Environment and Climate Change Minister McKenna in her mandate letter to “work with the Ontario government to enhance the country’s first National Urban Park,” in part through “improved legislation to protect this important ecosystem and guide how the park will be managed.” Nature Canada and many other nature groups appreciated and supported the government’s election commitments to better protect National Parks and establish new National Wildlife Areas. Nature Canada, Ontario Nature and Environmental Defence  jointly wrote to the Minister in late 2015 requesting that needed amendments be introduced into the House of Commons early in the legislative session. What a gift to Canadians in the GTA to have a real national park in their backyard stretching from the Oak Ridges Moraine to Lake Ontario! Email Signup

Conservation groups standing up for nature in Ottawa
News

Conservation groups standing up for nature in Ottawa

[caption id="attachment_17618" align="alignright" width="150"]Download brief on Bill C-40 that will be presented to the House. View the amendments contained in the brief that will be presented before the Standing Committee.[/caption] On October 29, 2014 at 4:30pm EST, Nature Canada's affiliate, Ontario Nature, will go before the House of Commons' Standing Committee on the Environment and Sustainable Development and ask for a stronger Bill C-40, a piece of legislation which will establish Canada's first urban park - the Rouge National Urban Park. Caroline Schultz, Executive Director of Ontario Nature, will present a set of five recommendations for amendments to the Act that will "clearly prioritize ecological integrity and require the protection of natural ecosystems and wildlife". Nature Canada stands by our Ontario affiliate and we are strongly supporting their efforts to improve this bill. Nature Canada deeply believes in the importance of creating an urban national park. Our NatureHood initiative is designed to help connect city-living Canadians with their nearby nature. Nature Canada has also been advocating for more national parks for the bulk of our 75 year history and we're proud to have played a role in the creation of over 63 million acres of parks and protected national wildlife areas in Canada. Unfortunately, Bill C-40 is weak and needs to be strengthened. As it stands, the legislation fails to meet standards for sustainability and ecological health and integrity set out in existing policies that cover Rouge Park. If you're as excited as we are about good, healthy urban parks, join us in cheering on Caroline Schultz on October 29, 2014 when she speaks before the Standing Committee on the Environment and Sustainable Development.

Want to Help?

Canada’s wilderness is the world’s envy. It’s our duty to keep our true north strong and green.

Donate