Grindstone Creek Watershed Natural Assets Management Project
The Grindstone Creek watershed and its sub-watersheds are located partially within the Cities of Burlington and Hamilton and the Regional Municipality of Halton. 91 km2, the watershed is also a part of Ontario’s Greenbelt, and contains the greatest diversity of wildlife of any Canadian Forest Zone, including species found nowhere else in the country.
The region has experienced flood events for several decades, with some of them being quite extreme. In 2019, Conservation Halton, the Cities of Hamilton and Burlington, and the Royal Botanical Gardens partnered with MNAI and the Greenbelt Foundation on a landmark project for the province. The purpose was to explore the value of natural assets in Grindstone Creek in addressing natural resource issues, with a focus on stormwater management against increasing pressures from climate change. Another key goal was to assist partners in incorporating natural assets in local financial planning and asset management.
Findings reveal the natural assets provide immense service value through stormwater management and co-benefits to the region and provides an example of how beneficial cross-jurisdiction collaboration is to watershed management.
Partners are now provided with an inventory and framework to pursue next steps, including:
- Enhancing collaborative monitoring
- Incorporating natural assets into asset management policies and a watershed plan
- Expanding modelling to identify priority areas for restoration and management activities to reduce downstream flooding
The three-year project represents a new way forward to address the impacts of climate change and reduced municipal budgets. The resulting inventory and recommendations by MNAI in the report provide a case study and framework for watershed management in Ontario and beyond.