Rouge Park to benefit from $1.5 million in projects for 2002
Toronto & York Region – Rouge Park and watershed will benefit from $1.5 million worth of ecological restoration
and enhancement projects in 2002. The Rouge Park Alliance will provide start-up funding of $219,000 for 16
projects for the coming year. Eight of these projects are on specific sites in Rouge Park north of Steeles Avenue in
York Region; six projects are specific to Rouge Park in Toronto. Two of the projects span the municipalities of
Toronto, York and/or Durham.
“The Rouge Park Alliance is proud to continue its commitment to funding the work of community groups and
other organizations to build ownership in Rouge Park. We are pleased to announce that this year’s funding will
help to accomplish over one and a half million dollars worth of work in the Rouge,” said Ron Christie, Chair of
the Rouge Park Alliance.
Rouge Park funding supports not only restoration efforts such as reforestation and stream rehabilitation; this year
funding will also go towards large-scale, long-term ecological management initiatives such as an invasive plant
species inventory and a base flow monitoring study to guide future planning for the protection of ground water in
the Rouge River watershed. Rouge Park will also cooperate on a radio telemetry project with the Toronto Zoo to
investigate the critical habitat locations and requirements for snapping turtles and other ephemeral wetland
wildlife in the Rouge watershed.
All members of the public are welcome to submit projects in the Rouge River watershed for Rouge Park funding.
The projects are reviewed in October each year. “We received many excellent funding proposals for 2002,”
reported Lewis Yeager, General Manager of Rouge Park. “Our biologist and a committee representing academia,
government and NGOs review the project proposals and rank them according to the priorities of Rouge Park
plans. We feel that we have struck a balance this year between projects that provide Rouge Park with some
immediate gains and those that achieve longer-term goals.”
Rouge Park is one of North America’s largest natural environment parks in an urban setting.
Rouge Park Gains New Lands on Oak Ridges Moraine
Richmond Hill – Over 100 hectares of land in the Oak Ridges Moraine will be protected in perpetuity as part of the
Rouge Park. Four parcels of land, in total 119 hectares, in the Town of Richmond Hill on the north side of
Stouffville Road, east of Bayview Avenue, will be transferred to public ownership. The Ontario Ministry of Municipal
Affairs and Housing (MMAH) recently made the announcement as part of its ongoing commitment to protecting
lands in the moraine through the new Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan.
Lands will be held in trust for the Rouge Park by the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) to be
used for Rouge Park purposes, and managed in accordance with the objectives of the 2001 Rouge North Management
Plan. “The Rouge Park will be a long-term steward of lands on the Oak Ridges Moraine, and throughout the Rouge
watershed,” said Ron Christie, Chair of the Rouge Park Alliance, the management body for the Park. “We have an
excellent record for protecting environmentally significant lands in the public interest and have had great success in
our partnership with the TRCA as a manager of Rouge Park lands. These properties are a welcome addition to the
As part of the Oak Ridges Moraine natural core area, under the new conservation plan, these lands are designated by
the Province of Ontario as an Area of Natural and Scientific Interest (ANSI). The newly acquired properties are
within the Jefferson Forest Environmental Significant Area (ESA) and offer protection to the Lake Wilcox Bog ESA.
Protecting the ecological integrity of these lands is also important because they contain the headwaters of the Rouge
River, provide a linkage to the Humber River, and form part of the environmental corridor in Richmond Hill which
is critical for healthy wildlife habitat.
At over 4800 hectares, the Rouge Park is North America’s largest natural environment park in an urban setting.
Rouge Park Award Given to Vocal Local Activists
York Region – The Rouge Park Alliance, the partnership body which oversees the management of the Rouge Park,
gave recognition to members of the community at an awards ceremony in Markham this evening. Save the Rouge
Valley System was recognized for the hard work they have done towards the preservation of the Rouge over the
past 27 years. Save the Rouge thanked the Rouge Park Alliance and indicated that their long struggle for
preservation of the natural environment has not yet ended.
Awards of appreciation were also given to environmental restoration project leaders from Markham, Richmond
Hill and Toronto. Three local businesses: IBM Software Lab, Markham Green Golf Club and Emerald Hills Golf
& Country Club from Markham as well as residents, Al and Joan Johnston, of Whitchurch-Stouffville, received
recognition for their private land stewardship efforts in the Rouge.
This was the largest group of Rouge Park award recipients since the initiative began in 1998. “There are so many
people throughout the Rouge Park and watershed working together to help us achieve our ecological restoration,
protection and enhancement goals,” said Ron Christie, Chair of the Rouge Park Alliance. “We hope that those we
have recognized here this evening will continue to help us develop our unique park.”
Established in 1995, after years of citizen support for the protection of the Rouge River valley in Toronto, the
Rouge Park is North America’s largest natural environment park in an urban setting.
New Lands Link Rouge Park North and South
York Region & Toronto – The generous support of the Province of Ontario, (through the Ecological Land Acquisition
Program), along with the Town of Markham and the Region of York has helped Rouge Park to gain a key piece of land at
the border of Markham and Toronto.
The 16 hectare property on the northwest corner of Ninth Line and Steeles Avenue consists of both open fields and
forested valley. The landscape is a mixture of meadows, coniferous and mixed forest, in an area that provides important
linkages betw een the areas of the Park North and South of Steeles Avenue. The Rouge River passes through these lands,
providing a key migratory corridor for cold water fish species. The property is also home to spawning and nursery habitat
for warm water fish species.
This important ecological linkage area will be reforested over the coming years to provide interior forest conditions, which
are rare in the Greater Toronto Area. Interior forest habitat is important for the preservation of many unique flora and
fauna species which require certain conditions to breed. Birds like the Oven Bird and Scarlet Tanager will find habitat in
these reforested areas.
Part of the network of valley and stream corridor lands, this new part of Rouge Park also has strong potential as a
historically significant site. The Rouge River is one of only two Carrying Places for Toronto, and is recognized by the
Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada. The Rouge River valley historically served as a portage route for First
Nations people travelling from Lake Ontario north to Lake Simcoe. The protection of this site in public ownership
provides the potential for future archaeological research into the history of the area.
Opportunities for volunteer participation in restoration efforts will be publicized as they arise.