Environmental and Ecological Monitoring
From 2007 to 2012, the City undertook a post-construction multi-year environmental monitoring program as required by regulatory approvals for the Red Hill Valley Project. The Integrated Monitoring Plan examined, at various frequencies and durations, the following components: hydrometeorologic, groundwater, fluvial geomorphology, surface water quality, natural heritage systems and fish and fish habitat.
The final 5-year report will be available in early 2014, at which time the Board will review the baseline results and recommend appropriate actions to ensure the continued protection and enhancement of the Valley ecosystem and environment.
Using a combination of science-based approaches and Traditional Ecological Knowledge, the City of Hamilton and Kayanase (a restoration and native plant and seed business at Six Nations) collaborated on the ecological restoration of the Red Hill Valley. The project involved innovative planning and restoration methods, and the management of invasive species.
Initial habitat surveys informed the development of detailed plans for some 313 restoration units within the “green space” areas in and adjacent to the parkway corridor. Significant restoration from Stone Church Road north to the Queen Elizabeth Way was completed during 2007 to 2011. The City of Hamilton continues with selective planting, and test strategies for the management of invasive species.
The project achieved its goals to: protect and conserve existing natural elements, including the indigenous plants and plant communities; restore degraded habitat areas; and increase connectivity and the size of natural habitat areas within the Red Hill Valley post parkway construction
In February 2012, the Joint Stewardship Board hosted a series of Red Hill Valley Open Houses in Hamilton and at Six Nations. Attended by members of both communities, the events provided the public an opportunity to meet and discuss questions or concerns with the Joint Stewardship Board, staff, and Red Hill Valley Project consultants. Particular areas of public interest were implementation of the Environmental Interpretive Centre, archaeology, master planning, and ecological restoration work. Expanded engagement is planned in 2014.
In 2011, the board brought together contemporary ecological science and environmental practices, and indigenous ecological knowledge to conduct research on the state of the deer population. Two deer inventories were completed. From the Biodiversity Management Group results determined there was not an over population of deer in the valley. This was supported by a collaborative survey conducted by Hamilton Conservation Authority, Kayanase and Six Nations who also added there was minimal deer impact on the ecological restoration at the time of the survey.
Medicine Plant Recovery
To understand the type and health of indigenous medicine plants present in the Valley, the Joint Stewardship Board contracted Indigenous Consulting and Training to conduct an inventory and develop a recovery plan. Throughout 2006 and 2007, Haudenosaunee plant specialists searched the valley and determined the availability and absence of numerous medicine plants. Protection efforts for threatened plant stands involved seed recovery, replanting or relocation of some rare or significant species (e.g., Sweet Fern, Ladies Fern, Sassafras). View the Medicine Plant Photo Catalogue to learn more about medicines and significant plants in the Valley, and their critical importance to the Haudenosaunee.