Natural Heritage Systems & Policy Planning
The development of sound environmental policy facilitates sustainable land-use planning. At Dougan & Associates, one of our mandates is to position ourselves within the policy development framework for land-use and natural heritage planning within Regional and Lower Tier Municipalities.
Provincial direction for sustainable land-use planning is recognized through documents such as the Provincial Policy Statement, and is typically implemented within Official Plans developed for Regional and Lower Tier Municipalities.
The development and adoption of environmental policies that influence land-use planning is a complex process, and involves many stakeholders. Our success is driven by a focus on the development of defensible and transparent approaches that are grounded in science and guided by comprehensive stakeholder input. This is typically implemented through partnerships of multidisciplinary teams ranging from engineers, planners, and ecologists. D&A fills the natural heritage niche of these multidisciplinary teams with a focus on terrestrial systems.
At Dougan & Associates, our involvement with Natural Heritage Systems and Policy Planning primarily occurs through providing expert ecological support at various planning scales; from the site-level to multi-regional jurisdictions. The general process involves:
- Comprehensive review of existing background information relevant to characterize natural heritage features and functions
- Inventory of natural heritage resources through aerial imagery and on-the-ground surveys
- Recommendations of significance thresholds and assessments of significance
- Development of principles and practices that facilitate sustainable planning
The D&A team have experience with policy review and development as a lead consultant, providing support as a sub-consultant, and also as an expert team for peer reviews and OMB expert testimony.
Our team is composed of individuals with a broad set of talents grounded in ecology and/or landscape architecture, and working experience in jurisdictions across many areas in southern Ontario. Combined, senior staff at D&A has over half a century experience working within or helping develop land-use and natural heritage policies that are focused on sustainable development.
Examples of Work
In this regard, D&A’s involvement in policy development includes, but is not limited to:
- Natural Heritage System planning
- Secondary Planning
- Sub-watershed Studies
- Regional Significant Woodland Planning
- Significant Wildlife Habitat Thresholds
- Municipal Tree By-laws