Hamilton needs a Biodiversity Action Plan to protect, enhance and manage nature in our city. On April 7th, Planning staff will present Council with a Framework for a ‘made in Hamilton’ BAP.
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.
Nature in Hamilton 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!
Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) Framework to be Presented to Hamilton City Council
Environment Hamilton and the Hamilton Naturalists’ Club have been exploring what such a plan could look like since May, 2018. Such a plan includes working with community partners, residents, municipal staff and councillors to improve and protect habitat and restoration through municipal policy. To lead this discussion, we have a Biodiversity Working Group that comprises local conservation groups and City of Hamilton Public Works and Planning and Economic Development staff.
On February 19, 2020, the City’s General Issues Committee (GIC) passed a motion directing that City staff investigate the feasibility and resources required to develop a Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP), in collaboration with the conservation community and provide a report back with the findings.
The Planning Department will be presenting the Biodiversity Action Plan Feasibility Framework to the GIC on April 7th 2021.
Let your ward councillor know that you support a BAP for Hamilton!
Your ward councillor needs to know that healthy nature and biodiversity are important to you. Let your ward councillor know that you support a Biodiversity Action Plan for Hamilton before that date!
Click here for a sample letter to your ward councillor. Not sure who your councillor is? Click on this link to find out.
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
Biodiversity in Canada
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, any we 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!
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