Conservation Area Strategy

The Hamilton Conservation Authority (HCA) is developing a Conservation Area Strategy (Conservation Strategy). The Conservation Strategy is a requirement of Ontario Regulation 686/21 and is to be completed by December 31, 2024.

The Conservation Strategy will be used to guide the operation and maintenance of the HCA’s conservation lands. The HCA is a major land owner within our watershed area in that we own or manage 4,732.6 hectares (11,694 acres) of land, which represents 10% of our watershed area. These lands are locally, provincially and, in some cases, internationally significant and include features such as forests, prairie, wetlands, watercourses, karst, Lake Ontario shoreline and the Niagara Escarpment.

It is noted that the purpose of a Conservation Authority, as outlined in the Conservation Authorities Act, is “to provide for the organization and delivery of programs and services that further the conservation, restoration, development and management of natural resources in watersheds in Ontario. In this regard, the HCA delivers programs and services within our watershed jurisdiction such as the following:

  • Flood forecasting and warning
  • Operation and maintenance of flood and erosion control infrastructure
  • Plan input and review of land use planning application related to natural hazards
  • Administration and enforcement of proposals for Development, Interference with Wetlands, and Alteration to Shorelines and Watercourses, Ontario Regulation 161/06.
  • Watershed planning
  • Water, aquatic and terrestrial monitoring
  • Invasive Species management and environmental restoration
  • Land acquisition and management
  • Conservation education and awareness
  • Outdoor recreation

With the recent changes to the Conservation Authorities Act, all conservation authorities are required to complete a Conservation Area Strategy. As per Ontario Regulation 686/21, the strategy must include the following:

  1. Objectives established by the authority that will inform the authority’s decision-making related to the lands it owns and controls.
  2. Identification of the mandatory and non-mandatory programs and services that are provided on land owned and controlled by the authority.
  3. An assessment of how the lands owned and controlled by the authority may augment any natural heritage located within the authority’s area of jurisdiction, and integrate with other provincially or municipally owned lands or other publicly accessible lands and trails within the authority’s area of jurisdiction.
  4. The establishment of land use categories to be included in the required Land Inventory.
  5. Periodic review and update of the strategy.

The Conservation Strategy will be used by the HCA to guide the management, maintenance and restoration of HCA lands.
The HCA is in the initial phases of the development of the Conservation Area Strategy. Updates on the project will be provided on this webpage as the Conservation Area Strategyy is developed.

If you have questions regarding the Conservation Area Strategy, please contact Scott Peck at