Natural Heritage Resources Study

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The Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville has retained Skeleton, Brumwell & Associates to undertake a Natural Heritage Resources Study in support of the Town’s Official Plan Review. The Natural Heritage Resources Study will assist in informing the policy directions of the Town’s new Official Plan.




Project Overview

As part of the Town’s Official Plan Review, we are undertaking a Town-wide Natural Heritage Resources Study to ensure a sufficient amount of land is designated to the natural heritage needs of the Town’s growing population to 2051. The Natural Heritage Resources Study will guide policy development to help protect and sustainably manage the Town’s natural environment. The study will support the Official Plan Review by identifying and exploring policy recommendations to support the natural environment and promote environmental protection and awareness.

The Natural Heritage Policy Study is being undertaken in two phases, which generally include the following tasks:


Phase 1 – Natural Heritage Resources Background Review

  • A high-level assessment of the Town’s Natural Heritage and Greenlands system will be completed as a desktop review and analysis of available data/mapping to establish the baseline conditions in the Town. Key issues and opportunities will be identified which support the need for mapping and policy modifications.
  • Specific areas possibly requiring restoration will be identified, along with isolated islands of natural heritage features for restoration and connection.
  • Recommendations and policy directions will be developed to support restoration and connection, including recommendations and policy directions pertaining to the development approvals process.
  • A review of the Town’s current Natural Heritage policies/initiatives will be undertaken to identify opportunities for improvement.
  • Areas of ecological concern in the Town will be identified including consideration for invasive species and wildlife. Opportunities for the establishment of natural heritage targets will be considered.
  • Policy considerations for potential future impacts to the Natural Heritage System and Greenlands will be considered, as well as possibly considering cumulative impacts as appropriate.

A Phase 1 Background Report will be prepared to outline the findings and analysis of Phase 1 along with preliminary recommendations and actions for: areas requiring restoration or connections, Town policies/initiatives and development approval process, areas of ecological concern and natural heritage targets, and development practices and policy considerations.

A Public Open House will be held in January 2022 to facilitate consultation with the public, stakeholders, and other interested parties.


Phase 2 – Policy Recommendations Report

  • Based on the work undertaken in Phase 1, key policy recommendations will be considered for:
    1. boundary modifications to the Town’s Greenlands and Natural Heritage System,
    2. opportunities for connections/protection/enhancement of the Town’s Greenlands and Natural Heritage System,
    3. the protection/enhancement/restoration/expansion of natural areas and the urban forest,
    4. sustainable development and management practices during the construction phase of development,
    5. requirements for wildlife habitat conservation/enhancement of natural forest cover/connectivity to urban forest cover, and
    6. tree canopy policies.
  • The Project Team will undertake a mapping exercise to identify ecologically sensitive areas, and opportunities for improved connections including future Natural Heritage System and Greenlands connections.
  • Some of the policy recommendations that will be developed to address challenges and opportunities include:
    1. intensification and infill,
    2. climate change,
    3. recreational demands,
    4. maintenance and restoration of Town-owned natural assets,
    5. protection/enhancement/expansion of natural areas to improve resilience
    6. balanced management of parks and natural areas, and
    7. avenues to pursue outreach/stewardship/partnerships.


A Natural Heritage Resources Report will be prepared to outline overall recommended policies and actions as well as inform policy development for the updated Official Plan.

A Public Open House will be held to facilitate consultation with the public, stakeholders, and other interested parties.




The Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville has retained Skeleton, Brumwell & Associates to undertake a Natural Heritage Resources Study in support of the Town’s Official Plan Review. The Natural Heritage Resources Study will assist in informing the policy directions of the Town’s new Official Plan.




Project Overview

As part of the Town’s Official Plan Review, we are undertaking a Town-wide Natural Heritage Resources Study to ensure a sufficient amount of land is designated to the natural heritage needs of the Town’s growing population to 2051. The Natural Heritage Resources Study will guide policy development to help protect and sustainably manage the Town’s natural environment. The study will support the Official Plan Review by identifying and exploring policy recommendations to support the natural environment and promote environmental protection and awareness.

The Natural Heritage Policy Study is being undertaken in two phases, which generally include the following tasks:


Phase 1 – Natural Heritage Resources Background Review

  • A high-level assessment of the Town’s Natural Heritage and Greenlands system will be completed as a desktop review and analysis of available data/mapping to establish the baseline conditions in the Town. Key issues and opportunities will be identified which support the need for mapping and policy modifications.
  • Specific areas possibly requiring restoration will be identified, along with isolated islands of natural heritage features for restoration and connection.
  • Recommendations and policy directions will be developed to support restoration and connection, including recommendations and policy directions pertaining to the development approvals process.
  • A review of the Town’s current Natural Heritage policies/initiatives will be undertaken to identify opportunities for improvement.
  • Areas of ecological concern in the Town will be identified including consideration for invasive species and wildlife. Opportunities for the establishment of natural heritage targets will be considered.
  • Policy considerations for potential future impacts to the Natural Heritage System and Greenlands will be considered, as well as possibly considering cumulative impacts as appropriate.

A Phase 1 Background Report will be prepared to outline the findings and analysis of Phase 1 along with preliminary recommendations and actions for: areas requiring restoration or connections, Town policies/initiatives and development approval process, areas of ecological concern and natural heritage targets, and development practices and policy considerations.

A Public Open House will be held in January 2022 to facilitate consultation with the public, stakeholders, and other interested parties.


Phase 2 – Policy Recommendations Report

  • Based on the work undertaken in Phase 1, key policy recommendations will be considered for:
    1. boundary modifications to the Town’s Greenlands and Natural Heritage System,
    2. opportunities for connections/protection/enhancement of the Town’s Greenlands and Natural Heritage System,
    3. the protection/enhancement/restoration/expansion of natural areas and the urban forest,
    4. sustainable development and management practices during the construction phase of development,
    5. requirements for wildlife habitat conservation/enhancement of natural forest cover/connectivity to urban forest cover, and
    6. tree canopy policies.
  • The Project Team will undertake a mapping exercise to identify ecologically sensitive areas, and opportunities for improved connections including future Natural Heritage System and Greenlands connections.
  • Some of the policy recommendations that will be developed to address challenges and opportunities include:
    1. intensification and infill,
    2. climate change,
    3. recreational demands,
    4. maintenance and restoration of Town-owned natural assets,
    5. protection/enhancement/expansion of natural areas to improve resilience
    6. balanced management of parks and natural areas, and
    7. avenues to pursue outreach/stewardship/partnerships.


A Natural Heritage Resources Report will be prepared to outline overall recommended policies and actions as well as inform policy development for the updated Official Plan.

A Public Open House will be held to facilitate consultation with the public, stakeholders, and other interested parties.



Page last updated: 01 December 2021, 08:36