About the Blog:

Guelph Politico is locally sourced and dedicated to covering the political and cultural scene in the City of Guelph. Est. 2008.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

You Don't Say...

It what has to be a major victory for local advocates fighting the Hanlon Creek Business Park, this press release came through from the City this afternoon. As to what effect it'll have on development plans for the area is yet to be determined, and it may still be too early to seriously weigh the impact of these findings.

City consultants identify Jefferson salamander on Hanlon Creek Business Park lands
City reaffirms commitment to protecting wildlife habitat

GUELPH, ON, May 21, 2009 – DNA analysis on a salamander collected along Laird Road has determined that while that salamander is a hybrid Jefferson, a pure Jefferson salamander sperm donor is present in the area.

The discovery is the result of the City's ongoing terrestrial and aquatic monitoring, which is being conducted by Natural Resource Solutions Inc. (NRSI). No salamander species were observed in the Hanlon Creek Business Park area during surveys conducted this spring, but one individual of the Jefferson salamander complex was observed while crews were monitoring amphibian movement across Laird Road. DNA extraction and analysis performed on a tissue sample by Dr. Bogart from the University of Guelph confirmed that the individual salamander was a hybrid. However, genetics indicate that a pure Jefferson salamander is present.

The Jefferson salamander is currently protected under the federal Species at Risk Act and the Ontario Species at Risk Act. The City's findings have been forwarded to the Ministry of Natural Resources, and the City will work with the Ministry to determine next steps.

"This discovery is the result of our rigorous, ongoing monitoring program in this area. The City remains committed to protecting the habitat of endangered species, and we will work closely with the Ministry of Natural Resources," said Mayor Karen Farbridge.

The City has conducted environmental monitoring programs on the Hanlon Creek Business park lands since 1998. Separate from the proposed business park, the City retained NRSI to conduct wildlife mortality monitoring on Laird Road. This monitoring program was added as a result of comments from residents, staff, agencies, and the consulting team.

The need for ongoing environmental monitoring is part of the Environmental Implementation Report (EIR) for the project, which is one of the Ontario Municipal Board's conditions of approval. The EIR was approved by the Grand River Conservation Authority and the City's Environmental Advisory Committee earlier this year.

I e-mailed members of the group Land Is More Important Than Sprawl (LIMITS) to get their reaction, and "Wow" was almost all they had to say. When they come down off what I'm sure is an incredible high, I'll update this post.

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