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The Letter …
Re: Please honour your commitments to strengthen the Rouge National Park Management Plan
Dear Prime Minister, Premier, Ministers, MPs, and MPPs:
Thank you for prioritizing ecological integrity within the strengthened Rouge National Park legislation.
Now, to comply with the legislation and fulfill federal “Liberal Party Approved” commitments, the Park Management Plan must also be strengthened, before private leases are extended in the park.
To prioritize ecological integrity and fulfill federal commitments and mandates, the Park Management Plan must be strengthened to:
- Implement Environment Canada’s scientific recommendations for ecological integrity and water quality, outlined in the 2013 Report “How Much Habitat is Enough”;
- Implement existing Greenbelt, Rouge Park, Oak Ridges Moraine, and Watershed Conservation Plans, particularly the “main ecological corridor” between Lake Ontario and the Oak Ridges Moraine; and
- Include surrounding Greenbelt lands to help create a 100+ km2 Rouge National Park.
These scientific recommendations and conservation plans require forest and wetland restoration to prioritize ecological integrity and combat the costly impacts of pollution, climate change, flooding, and erosion. Based on their ability to reduce these costly impacts, and improve watershed, ecosystem and public health, a 2009 Ontario Report estimates the following public benefits for these land uses:
- Near Urban Wetlands: $161,420 per year per hectare (ha)
- Near Urban Forests: $14,777 per year per hectare (ha)
- Cash Crop Lands: $291 per year per hectare (1 ha = 2 soccer fields in size)
To avoid $Billions in damages from pollution, climate change, flooding, and erosion, the National Park Management Plan needs to support the timely implementation of existing plans for forest and wetland restoration.
Canada is lagging far behind many other nations in terms of biodiversity protection. Less than 1% of southern Ontario’s land is protected by national and provincial parks — far below our international commitment to protect 17% of Canada’s land. We cannot afford to dilute or delay science-based remedial action plans in Rouge National Park in southern Ontario — a region with 1/3 of Canada’s endangered species and 1/3 of Canada’s population.
Please demonstrate political integrity by strengthening the Rouge National Park Management Plan to implement existing conservation plans and scientific recommendations for prioritizing ecological integrity.
I look forward to your response.
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