In 1990-91, the HCA, in cooperation with the Regional Municipality of Hamilton-Wentworth (now the new City of Hamilton) and the Hamilton Naturalists' Club, conducted an extensive biological inventory of all the significant natural areas of Hamilton-Wentworth. The result was a two-volume document entitled the Hamilton-Wentworth Natural Areas Inventory (NAI), a large database and a set of maps.
¬†The end products were:
- very detailed descriptions of each natural area and its significant features
- a complete listing of the flora and fauna of each natural area
- an annotated listing of plants, reptiles, amphibians, butterflies, fish, nesting birds and mammals of this Region
- a detailed description of the geology, soils and hydrology of the Region
- watershed summaries of all the stream systems
- mapped locations of rare species
- a technical library backing up all of the database and report information
The NAI has since been used by the Region to map and protect all of Hamilton's Environmentally Significant Areas (ESAs). These were then included in the Region's Official Plan. The Official Plan's ESA policies have done a good job of protecting these natural areas. The NAI is regularly used whenever development proposals are made in or near ESAs. The HCA is responsible for maintaining and updating the NAI database.
In summer 2000, a reinventory of 18 sites filled some gaps from the 1990-91 inventory. Of the 18 sites, 12 have been recommended for ESA status, while 6 did not meet the criteria.¬† A method of assessing natural habitats known as "Ecological Land Classification" was tested in 2000 and found to be very useful.¬†¬†