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Showing posts from October, 2012

Future Site of Wetland Recovery Research Project?

A view of the west campus parking in "Lot M" that has been closed for over three-years now. Even without the lot there is ample parking available. A group of professors at the university are lobbying to have this land turned into a research area that would see it restored as a wetland. In the hills (to the right) are springs that used to feed into a creek, but are now diverted into drains. We will have more on the professors' work in the near future.


Combine good transit with a strategy to reduce parking and you have a recipe for success. The transit doesn't have to be light rail necessarily, but having excess parking supports single-occupancy car use. At McMaster, that means the university's parking department insists they need to keep almost 4,000 parking stalls for less than 3,000 cars at peak. A successful strategy in Edmonton used "Promotion of transit ridership through the gradual reduction of long-term parking in the downtown core relative to growth in the area" to contribute to the move away from car-dependency. Yes, McMaster needs a transportation demand management plan.   Mac report illuminates issue of LRT for city Senior Hamilton bureaucrats are carefully studying a  report  produced by McMaster University researchers that suggests that light rail transit has the potential to succeed in Hamilton but will be a “long, challenging and costly process.” The study looked at successful and failing

Depave for natural system resiliency

Hamilton Conservation Foundation: "If we're going to continue to see storms like Sandy in the coming years we're going to need to increase the resiliency of the natural systems in our watershed."   Lot M is (was) the floodplain for Lower Ancaster Creek What a filled-in paved floodplain looks like (Lot M with Ancaster Creek in foreground) Restore Cootes' advocacy for restoring Lot M into a floodplain is exactly where we need to be going at this turning point in our ecological history. Demographic shifts in transportation away from private automobile use in favour of transit, cycling and walking, combine with the heavy costs to our water resources by damaging storms related to climate change to create the perfect opportunity to get a jump start on a new way of living on earth. Sustainably.

Looking for Clues

Armed with an old trail map and a historical description of a hike though Coldspring Valley in 1961, a group on interested (and interesting) people retraced the steps of W.J. Lamoureux, the Royal Botanical Gardens' Conservationist back in the days when Coldspring Valley was still an RBG Nature Sanctuary and not McMaster University parking. A checklist of plants that Lamoureux mentioned in this description of his walk along some of the trails was made available to the 20 people who came to this event last evening, and we tried our best to navigate a route that approximated the steps of Mr. Lamoureux, searching for relatives of the vegetation he described. We also took time to discuss events playing out in the West Campus parking lots, which include Restore Cootes' initiative to have McMaster create a 30metre naturalized buffer between the parking and Ancaster Creek, which forms the western boundary of the parking lots, and another project that would see the southern sectio

The Sting of Disintegration

From the Forward in the Royal Botanical Gardens, Annual Report, 1962: " progress respecting land requirements of McMaster University for its projected expansion programme, have caused much soul searching on the part of the Board of the Royal Botanical Gardens. The Board is well aware that it was not established by Provincial Statute in 1941 to witness the disintegration of this property. Indeed it is particularly sensitive about this at a time when governments at all levels are striving to amplify rather than reduce such holdings." Formerly Coldspring Valley now Parking Lot M, this section closed for over three years, coveted by McMaster professors interested in establishing a Wetland Research Facility here

Floodplain Forensics

If you are planning on coming to this hike, please consider using public transit, cycling or walking to the meeting place. We will depart at 6pm sharp to make full use of the remaining daylight. A limited number of species checklists based on historical accounts of the valley will be available. Bring a pencil/pen and please dress for the weather and terrain (some uneven paths and,  unfortunately,  lots of pavement). We will return to the starting point at 7:00pm.  Wanted: sleuths for a Cootes Paradise cold case Hamilton Spectator online, October 8, 2012 Randy Kay is inviting naturalists to investigate a half-century-old cold case. On Tuesday evening, the author of the Restore Cootes blog plans to explore a vanished valley on the western edge of McMaster University’s campus along Ancaster Creek. The wetlands that formed a large part of the former Coldspring Valley are now better known as university parking lot M. But in the early 1960s, the valley was criss-crossed with