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Scanned copy, if there are errors, please e-mail me with corrections:
Page - 1 & 3 - Mississauga News, Sept. 8/97

Nature's fate rests with us experts claim


Natural areas in Mississauga will have a better chance of long-term survival if local residents take stewardship of them.

That's one of the conclusions of a major three-year $210 000 study of the city's natural area's just completed by a team of consultants.

A key to preserving natural areas is encouraging informal overseeing of them by local residents, lead consultant Mirek Sharp has told City councillors. Once residents feel a "Physical and spiritual commitment" to local areas they become attached to, "then it's much more likely they will be protected," he said.

Once residents feel a sense of ownership of the greenspaces, they're more likely to become involved in maintaining and upgrading them.

City councillors concurred with Sharp's conclusion, citing current fiscal constraints that will limit what the municipality can do in future.

Plant species in Peril

Sharp, an ecologist with Geomatics international Inc., said that just preserving natural areas isn't necessarily going to be good enough. In many cases, you must also protect the natural ecosystems that created them in the first place, he said.

"You have to maintain the natural processes," Mirek told general committee. "A number of existing natural areas are degrading because, while they were preserved, the processes that sustained them weren't preserved. If we don't protect those processes, the areas will eventually disappear."

The Natural Areas Study provides an update of the municipality's inventory of woodlots, wetlands and special areas of greenbelt.

The preservation of wetlands and tablelands needs to be emphasized in further land acquisitions, Sharp said.

There are just over 1,000 plant species in Mississauga, with more than half considered rare or uncommon. "That means to say that they're at some peril and could eventually disappear," Sharp explained.

The study concludes that the City's goal should be to protect natural areas representing native ecosystems and landscapes that once characterized the area.

The study also recommends there should be no further development of natural areas, "to the extent possible."

Doug Campbell, a local master gardener, objected to the emphasis in the study on growing native species for future planting. "That's such a narrow band compared to the beautiful world we have," he said. "Is that what the citizens of Mississauga want, considering the woodlands belong to t them?" he asked.

A public open house will be held in the Great Hall at the Mississauga Civic Centre Tuesday from 4-9 p.m. to discuss the study. Consultants and City staff will be on hand to provide information and answer questions.

Copies of the report are available to peruse in local libraries. Once the report is finalized, it will be available for sale from the City.

It will make a difference!

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