Established in 2015, the Hopkins Tract of the Pleasant View Natural Area is located on the southeast corner of Old Guelph Road and York Road in Dundas. The 24 hectare (59 acre) property includes deep ravines, mature deciduous oak forest, and a number of uncommon and rare species. Conservation Halton recently completed a restoration project on this property, and it is now part of the Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System.
Hopkins Tract was acquired to widen a natural corridor between Lake Ontario and the Niagara Escarpment within the City of Hamilton. Throughout 2016, Conservation Halton developed a restoration plan to protect and restore natural features and functions of the landscape, including the hydrology of the two subwatersheds.
Conservation Halton was able to identify a number of locations where there used to be wetlands, based on the presence of damp depressions and changes in soil colour. It is more strategic to restore these wetlands, instead of creating new ones, because there are suitable water conditions and the ability to benefit from historic seed sources buried in the soil. As such, we restored seven wetlands at Hopkins Tract, and planted more than 20 native species of wetland plants, including trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants. This work will improve the quality of water flowing into Grindstone Creek and North Cootes Paradise by increasing water filtration, and decreasing the amount of, phosphorus sedimentation and erosion.
Hopkins Tract is 500 metres from Lake Ontario, which means that wetlands on the property are considered to be “near-coastal” wetlands, and are known to improve habitat connectivity for wildlife, such as waterfowl and amphibians. The project will also improved and provided habitat features to support the recovery of species at risk, including Mottled Duskywing (Endangered), Western Chorus Frog (Threatened), Barn Swallow (Threatened), and Eastern Wood-pewee (Special Concern).
The Big Picture
Estimates suggest that the amount of wetland in Ontario has decreased by more than 80 percent. Wetlands are an important part of a healthy watershed, and provide valuable ecosystem services, such as reducing flooding, preventing erosion, protecting our drinking water, providing habitat for wildlife and creating opportunities for recreation. Hopkins Tract underscores the critical role that wetlands have in providing these services, and their ability to strengthen our resilience to climate change.
The restoration at Hopkins Tract will increase access to nature and provide an recreation opportunities for the Pleasant View community. This project was a community effort with an incredible amount of engagement from volunteers. Conservation Halton appreciates the support, and we are currently working with our partners to provide the community with access to this area.
This project supports and implements initiatives which contribute to the following:
- Conservation Halton Strategic Plan
- City of Hamilton Natural Heritage System
- Ontario Greenbelt Natural Heritage System
- Wetland Conservation Strategy for Ontario
- Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System
- Hamilton Harbour Remedial Action Plan