Partners across the City of Hamilton have decided to develop a Biodiversity Action Plan to enhance and manage nature in our city. Led by the Hamilton Naturalists’ Club, the partners are developing a local, custom plan to ensure a bright future for the many residents and visitors of Hamilton and surrounding areas.
What is Biodiversity?
Biodiversity is the variety of life on Earth. It includes all living things and the ways they interact with each other and their environment. Simply put, biodiversity is life. Biodiversity is about connection. All species, including humans, depend on each other to survive. We depend, directly and indirectly, on biodiversity for clean air, water, food, and amazing outdoor experiences. Conserving and restoring Hamilton’s biodiversity is important because healthy ecosystems sustain healthy people and a healthy economy. Hamilton is part of a biodiversity hotspot that includes many different habitats which support hundreds of different species including birds, fish, plants, butterflies and mammals.
Why does it matter to you? (hint: Nature is on the decline)
Alarmingly, along with the climate crisis, our planet is going through a biodiversity crisis. Animal and plant species around the world are going extinct at 1,000 times the natural rate as a result of human-caused factors, including habitat destruction and sprawl, overexploitation, invasive species, pollution and climate change. In cities, where most of the world’s population will live in by 2050, it is critical that healthy biodiversity and near-urban nature be incorporated into urban planning and city building. The City of Hamilton is no exception. Significant actions at the local level can benefit us at home while having a provincial, national and international impact as well. Cities like Toronto, Edmonton, Guelph and Montreal and are leading the way with ambitious policies. Hamilton has begun implementing some policies that support urban biodiversity, such as the Urban Forest Strategy. However, we are very far from a protection and enhancement strategy. Hamilton needs a community-developed Biodiversity Action Plan that guides our city’s biodiversity conservation activities. We’re on it!
Timeline for Plan Development
- February 19, 2020- The City’s General Issues Committee (GIC) passed a motion directing that City staff investigate the feasibility of developing a Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP)
- April 7, 2021 – Thank you for your support! The Planning Department at the City of Hamilton presented the Biodiversity Action Plan Feasibility Framework to the GIC, and it was accepted. Development has begun.
- April 2021 – BAP framework passed, and will be led by the Hamilton Naturalists’ Club
- June 2021 – BAP Coordinator hired. This position leads the conversations and timelines to have the BAP ready to present to council in April 2022
Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) Framework passed by Hamilton City Council
Environment Hamilton and the Hamilton Naturalists’ Club have been exploring what a plan could look like since 2018.
Developing a useable plan for Hamilton includes working with community partners, residents, municipal staff and councilors to improve and protect habitat through municipal policy. To lead this discussion, we have a Biodiversity Working Group, comprised of 9 partners in the Conservation and Municipal Communities.
Key Elements of a BAP
The Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) is intended to be a collaborative, multi-stakeholder strategy to guide city-wide biodiversity conservation actions. The BAP is intended to have the following main project goals:
Protect – protect Hamilton’s unique species, habitats and ecosystems
Enhance & Restore – enhance and restore habitats for species biodiversity to regenerate and thrive
Educate – educate the public and local leaders about the importance of safeguarding the City’s biodiversity for future generations
How we’re all connected
In response to the global biodiversity crisis, Canada has followed the lead of the United Nations Convention on Biodiversity Diversity and in 2015, released 19 targets to improve biodiversity conservation throughout the country by the end of 2020.
2020 has come and gone, and governments are no where near achieving these goals and targets. The only way for Canada to come closer to meeting these goals is for municipalities to include and prioritize biodiversity protection, management, and enhancement into their governing practices.
Hamilton, let’s do our part for our city, for Canada, and the world!
WE ARE NOT ALONE
Click the links below to see what others are doing and saying about biodiversity.
- United Nations’ Climate Change Convention Durban Outcomes
- London, UK National Park City (it’s a National Park, in a City!)
- Parks Canada Science and Conservation Site
- Local Governments for Sustainability Network
Get social! Let your networks know about the BAP
If you have your own Instagram, Twitter and Facebook accounts please FOLLOW us! LIKE and REPOST/RETWEET our posts about the BAP.
Pollinator Paradise Project
Hamilton Naturalist Club
Create and share your own posts
– Create your own posts encouraging support of the goals of the BAP
– Use the hashtag #HamOntBiodiversity in your social media posts