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Conservation Area Strategy 

Recent amendments to the Conservation Authorities Act require Conservation Authorities to develop a Conservation Area Strategy to identify the programs and services that conserve, protect, rehabilitate, establish, and manage natural heritage located within these authority-owned or controlled lands.  


This strategy discusses the objectives that will inform ERCA’s decision-making, including decisions relating to land acquisition. 

The key objectives are to protect people from natural hazards, conserve nature, and provide opportunities for outdoor recreation and education across the watershed. 

Conservation Area Goals and Objectives

  • Objectives
    Ensure that the public has access to quality and sustainable outdoor recreation and education programming in nature.
    Invest in technology to measure Conservation Area use, identify user demographics, and develop strategies to engage underrepresented groups.
    Develop and implement education programs and initiatives to engage the community and local schools in conservation and stewardship activities.
    Ensure that, wherever possible, Conservation Areas are accessible and inclusive to all members of the community.
    Engage accessibility committees in the development and maintenance of the Conservation Area Strategy to ensure ongoing compliance with accessibility standards.
    Where possible, ensure Conservation Areas have accessible amenities, including facilities, parking lots, and restrooms that meet or exceed AODA standards.
    Safely maintain Conservation Areas for public use.
    Ensure sufficient staffing and resources are available to meet the maintenance needs of Conservation Areas.
    Adopt efficient and ecologically sustainable maintenance practices and ensure regular staff training.
  • Objectives
    Maintain and improve hydrological functions (e.g. water retention and erosion control) within Conservation Areas to assist in protecting people and properties from flooding.
    Increase the acquisition of wetlands and flood-prone areas in the Essex Region.
    Ensure our wetlands and swamp forests maintain their water retention abilities.
    Seek opportunities to improve and restore hydrological functions within Conservation Areas.
    Protect and enhance the biodiversity and ecosystem resilience of the Essex Region.
    Develop and maintain approved management plans for each Conservation Area.
    Update the Conservation Authority Land Acquisition Strategy.
    Increase strategic acquisition of conservation lands in accordance with the Conservation Authority Land Acquisition Strategy.
    Improve the connectivity of natural areas and mitigate the impacts of habitat fragmentation by implementing management practices, both within conservation areas and adjacent lands.
    Ensure Conservation Areas are optimizing ecosystem services.
    Ensure sufficient staffing capacity to monitor the ecology of Conservation Areas.
    Inventory and manage invasive species.
    Increase biodiversity and improve habitat for species at risk.
  • Objectives
    Collaborate and engage with Indigenous communities.
    Develop an Indigenous Partnership and Engagement Strategy in partnership with Indigenous communities.
    Engage Indigenous communities in the initial stages of plan development.
    Engage and consult with the local community to foster trust, transparency, and collaboration.
    Provide barrier-free mechanisms for ongoing public feedback.
    Undertake public consultation as part of management planning.
    Promote conservation area activities and events.
    Conserve, enhance, and manage the cultural and natural heritage of Conservation Areas.
    Preserve and maintain historical structures and community uses in Conservation Areas.
    Ensure staff capacity to provide cultural and natural heritage interpretation. .
    Invite and seek guidance on Indigenous cultural practices and needs.
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