Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority

Conservation Area Master Plan updates

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Public thanked for input on Conservation Area master plans

Ausable Bayfield Conservation thanks the public for input into the review of the Conservation Area Master Plans.

PLEASE NOTE THAT CHANGES HAVE BEEN MADE SINCE THE PREPARATION OF THESE PLANS. FOR INSTANCE, OFF-ROAD VEHICLES SUCH AS ALL-TERRAIN VEHICLES AND MOTOR BIKES ARE PROHIBITED ON ALL CONSERVATION LANDS.

For an introductory overview of the Conservation Areas Master Plan update read this introduction (pdf).

You may also be interested in this easy-to-read chart showing the permitted uses in the different conservation areas. Please type in 'permitted uses' into search box at the top of the page to find most current chart of permitted uses.

To find out the goals, objectives and action plans for the different conservation areas in the Ausable Bayfield watershed, based on the 2004 master plan review, click on the links below:

Ausable Bayfield Conservation protects 3,635 hectares of land through its ownership.

The Conservation Authority master plan review covers nine main Conservation Areas including:

Conservation areas are more than just recreation destinations, according to Kate Monk, Stewardship, Land and Education Manager with the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA).

She said the conservation areas play an increasingly important role in advancing watershed planning goals through protection of species habitat, preserving water quality, providing outdoor education opportunities and serving as areas of research and scientific study.

Conservation areas have an important environmental role. They provide an area for recreation, outdoor education, nature appreciation and watershed habitat protection.

Ausable Bayfield Conservation began a review process in 2004-2005 to update master plans for each Conservation Area. The existing master plan documents were developed more than 20 years before. The new draft documents were created by staff and outline what uses are permitted in which areas, possible improvements or expanded uses (such as extended trails) and addressing needs such as updated inventories of species.

Master plans were last updated in the 1980s, according to Monk. Since then, Ausable Bayfield Conservation developed a Conservation Strategy and Watershed Management Strategy which influenced the Master Plan review.

Mapping capabilities have also increased greatly with a new Geographical Information System, Monk said. Ausable Bayfield Conservation also knows more about endangered species that rely on habitat that can be provided at conservation areas.

The public consultation process began in the spring of 2005 when a public meeting was held at Ironwood Golf Club near Exeter.

As part of the consultation process leading up to the final Master Plans Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA) staff also met with municipalities in July and August.

The updated, draft Conservation Area Master Plans offer assessment of user numbers, possible partnerships as well as threats (such as ATVs).

These master plans will help guide Ausable Bayfield Conservation management practices for several years, according to Monk.

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