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Showing posts from December, 2008

losing ground

Counters track bird populationsTheSpec.com - Local - Counters track bird populations
John Burman, The Hamilton Spectator,
(Dec 24, 2008)

Hamilton bird watchers will cover a little less ground during the annual Christmas Bird Count Dec. 26.The birders, participating in the local count for the Hamilton Naturalists Club (HNC), walked 198 kilometres last year to tally 64,054 birds.But Tom Thomas, the HNC's count co-ordinator, says the counters may cover less distance this year. "Urban sprawl" -- subdivision and road construction within the designated 24-kilometre radius for the count centred on Dundurn Castle -- has steadily reduced grasslands, fields and habitat."The owlers (those who count owls) have a tough time hearing the birds because of traffic," Thomas says.Nevertheless, he expects 70 or 80 counters to turn out for the species count on Boxing Day for the challenge of finding birds, a walk in the fresh air and a love of the environment in the field.Begun in 192…

decrease costs by expanding habitat

[a prudent policy of closing roads that are redundant or not needed (like the example of Valley Inn Road), combined with "road diets" to narrow overbuilt existing roads (like Main and King) and shrinking parking lot footprints would save the city money while enhancing liveability, i.e. more money for recreation, more car-free natural areas.
The use of salt combined with other car-produced run off (oils, grease, anti-freeze, gasoline, brake fluid, etc.) should also be considered as an environmental cost, especially when it directly impacts water quality and habitat in and around Cootes Paradise. Efforts to improve water quality would benefit from less roads and larger wetlands, for example] - r

Hamilton plowing among province's priciestTheSpec.com - Local - Hamilton plowing among province's priciest Blame high level of service and highways

Nicole Macintyre, The Hamilton Spectator, (Dec 23, 2008)

When it comes to cleaning up after Mother Nature, Hamilton spends more -- way…

shit

Here the warning sign to keep people from accessing Ancaster creek as it reaches McMaster University just south of Spencer Creek and Cootes Paradise:

WARNING: Combined storm sanitary sewer outfall. This water may be contaminated.
Do not play in this immediate area. KEEP AWAY. CITY OF HAMILTON

While we are blessed with these lovely creeks, we cannot fully access them for our enjoyment, and indeed, we regularly pollute the waters with our waste water thus contributing to the ongoing problems blocking progress in efforts to improve water quality in Cootes.

Rather than offering a connection to nature through recreation like swimming, wading, fishing, or just dipping your toes into the cool creek, the creek instead presents a threat to human health. What kind of message does that send to young people curious to explore the world around them?

This past summer, my daughter and I got caught in a sudden and furious rain storm while beside Spring Creek in Dundas; taking shelter beneath a pine tree a…

opposition mounting...

Advisory board opposes Dundas storage facility
Richard Leitner, News Staff, Dundas Star News
Published on Dec 19, 2008


A Hamilton Conservation Authority advisory committee is siding with residents who are fighting a proposed storage facility they say will make the western entrance to Dundas look like the home to a “maximum-security jail.”

Members of the conservation areas advisory board voted 10-0 last week to recommend that the authority’s board of directors oppose an application to rezone parkland at the corner of King Street and Olympic Drive to make way for the development.

The directors next meet on Feb. 5.

“To me, this is the last straw that breaks the camel’s back, if this were to go ahead,” said advisory board member Dave Robinson, noting Cootes Drive already cuts through the area’s environmentally sensitive wetland, home to nationally protected Blanding’s turtles.

“It’s not the first time this has happened or could happen.”

Advisory board chair Jim Howlett said the development confli…

balding paradise?

RBG tries to attract pair of bald eaglesTheSpec.com - Local - RBG tries to attract pair of bald eagles
Eric McGuinness, The Hamilton Spectator, (Dec 18, 2008)

The Royal Botanical Gardens hopes to be home to the first bald eagle nest on the north shore of Lake Ontario in more than half a century.Tys Theysmeyer, acting head of conservation, says it could happen as soon as next spring.The big birds, with a wingspan of up to 2.4 metres, disappeared from southern Ontario and faced extinction across much of Canada and the United States after the pesticide DDT started causing their eggs to break in the mid-1900s. But the population is now recovering.A dozen spent last winter on Hamilton Harbour, half a dozen are back already this year and, for the first time in recent memory, two or maybe three stayed around last summer."We're sure they will stay a second summer," says Theysmeyer. That gives rise to hope that a male-female pair old enough to breed will start looking for a nest si…

filling in

Pavement near marsh is bad thing: chair
Craig Campbell, Dundas Star News Staff
Published on Dec 12, 2008

Hamilton Conservation Authority staff cannot determine when fill was placed in Volunteer Marsh, next to the site of a proposed storage facility development at 201 King St. E. within the Cootes Paradise environmentally sensitive area.

As a result, the authority cannot have the fill removed, and return the wetland to its originally functioning condition, said HCA watershed planner Nora Jamieson, who approved a rezoning and official plan ammendment for the corner property at King Street East and Olympic Drive to permit construction of a four-building storage facility.

“We’re dealing with what’s there now. I don’t know who placed the fill there or when it was done. We deal with what’s there today,” Ms. Jamieson said.

But Patricia Chow-Fraser, chair of biology at McMaster University, said degraded wetlands shouldn’t just be left alone or be covered with more fill.

She supports the restoration …

losing males

Ron Albertson, the Hamilton Spectator Fewer male pike in fish habitatTheSpec.com - Local - Fewer male pike in fish habitat Chemical outflow on the hook

Rob Faulkner, The Hamilton Spectator
(Dec 10, 2008) Cootes Paradise is famous for a habitat restoration effort that includes barring carp from this 250-hectare wetland at the west end of Hamilton Harbour.But also for vanishing male pike.In a disturbing echo of recent news about gender-bending chemicals, a Royal Botanical Gardens aquatic biologist says male northern pike are hard to find.At the fishway, a carp barrier at the mouth of the harbour credited with saving the marshland, only 27 pike per year pass through. (About 500 pike live in a cleaner system called Hendrie Valley.)But at the fishway, crews found that about 77 per cent of the pike are female."We do know we have a serious problem," said acting head of conservation Tys Theysmeyer. Also, in 2003, he took females and males to a clean pond and they failed to produce baby…