Level 3: Partially Protected

The term "partial protection" refers to the a relatively small number of Natural Heritage Features that are given some mention in upper-tier municipal Official Plans, but for which the degree of policy protection is not high. "Partial protection" is not intended to imply that only portions of these features are protected. Rather, the term is used to describe the relatively low level of policy protection given to these features, which generally include the following:

  • Non-provincially Significant Wetlands;
  • Environmentally Significant/Sensitive Areas;
  • Regionally Significant Life Science ANSIs;
  • Earth Science ANSIs;
  • Crown Land.

Municipally designated features

Although the upper-tier municipalities of south-central Ontario are quite consistent in the protection of Level 1 and 2 Greenlands, at Level 3 there is considerable variation as to what features receive some protection. For example, the following miscellaneous features/areas are assigned Level 3 protection:



Public Open Space in the Parkway Belt West

Region of Halton

Woodlands within Escarpment Protection Areas

City of Hamilton, Region of Niagara, County of Dufferin

Open Space, Recreation Reserves, Shorelines

City of Kawartha Lakes

Significant Wildlife Habitat

Region of Niagara, County of Peterborough

Woodlands between 3 and 30 ha (off-Moraine), Valley and Stream Corridors (draining >125 ha), Shorelines

Region of Peel

County Greenlands

County of Simcoe

Significant Forested Land

Region of York

County/Regional Forests

County of Dufferin

Crown Land

County of Simcoe, County of Peterborough, City of Kawartha Lakes

Crown Land

Eighty-seven percent of Ontario's land mass is Crown Land. In the study area, with the exception of Provincial Parks and Nature Reserves, Crown Land is generally confined to the northern (Canadian Shield) portions of the Counties of Simcoe and Peterborough and the City of Kawartha Lakes. Most Crown Land is situated away from the shorelines of the major lakes and rivers (much of which is occupied by privately owned cottage lots). These areas are characterized by many wetlands (mostly swamps and bogs) and tracts of dense, native forest.

It could be argued that as Greenlands, Crown Land deserves to be given Level 1 (full) protection because most of it is in an undisturbed state and cannot be developed. However, the Province, at its discretion, can sell or lease Crown Land to private interests. Over the last 25 years, an average of 2,000 ha of Crown Land has been sold off every year in Ontario. In most cases, the Crown Land put up for sale is identified by the Ministry of Natural Resources, although the Province will entertain unsolicited requests for particular properties. Once sold, the property can be developed under the applicable local Official Plan policies. On this basis, therefore, we have classified Crown Land as Level 3.