Panel Discussion and Forum about Natural Linkages – June 8, 2013

A Panel discussion on natural linkages (eco-corridors) in and around Ottawa, organized by the Greenspace Alliance of Canada’s Capital, was held on Saturday morning, June 8, 2013, at the Hintonburg Community Centre. Brought together were Professor Emeritus Gray Merriam, landscape ecologist; Dr. Gary Bell, program manager for Eastern Ontario at the Nature Conservancy of Canada; François Cyr, senior manager of the Greenbelt at the National Capital Commission; Dr. Nick Stow, senior land use and natural systems planner at the City of Ottawa; and Dr. Erwin Dreessen, co-chair of the Alliance. Iola Price welcomed all and served as moderator.

Media ReleaseA Story.  A PosterThe Program.

Thirty-six people signed in; eleven affiliations with local community groups were cited, as well as Carleton and McGill Universities, a consulting company, the South Nation Conservation Authority and the City of Ottawa including two Councillors (David Chernushenko and Marianne Wilkinson).

Summaries of each presentation

Guide to the presenters’ slides and the video record:

Iola Price’s welcome and introduction (video, 44 seconds)

Gray Merriam’s slides (1.31 MB) and video (25:48)

Gary Bell’s slides (2.02 MB) and video (22:10)

François Cyr’s slides (2.25 MB) and video (23:03)

Nick Stow’s slides (2.34 MB) and video (25:52)

Erwin Dreessen’s slides (555 KB) and video (20:05)

After the five presentations, Gray returned with some reflections (video, 4:01).

Summary:  Gray remarked on the need to work at various scales, which is exemplified in the various presentations. The real issue is how people come to terms with the ecological system of the Ottawa Valley, at least. We will be disappointed in the long run if we restrict our focus to Ottawa.

Then the floor was opened for questions and discussion.

Video of question period (45:55)

Question 1 with response from Nick @ 0:17

Question 2 with responses from François and Nick @ 3:20

Question 3 with response from François @ 7:33

Question 4 with responses from Nick and Iola @ 10:40

Question 5 with response from Gary @ 14:12

Question 6 with responses from Nick and Gray @ 15:37

Question 7 with response from Gray @ 18:22

Question 8 with responses from Nick, Erwin, Gary and Iola @ 22:44

Question 9 with response from Nick @ 32:41

Question 10 with responses from François and Nick @ 35:46

Question 11 with response from Nick @ 37:50

Question 12 with response from Nick @ 42:01


NEW & updated: The City of Ottawa Methodology for identifying Natural Linkages is available here (26 pp., 4 MB).  (This is the final, corrected version as tabled for the Council meeting of November 26.)

NEW: Gray Merriam kindly provided “final draft conclusions” in a Report of a Workshop held May 9-10, 2013 in Kingston: Fundamental Elements of a Landscape Stewardship Plan.  The workshop was supported by the Frontenac Stewardship Foundation and the County of Frontenac. The report is co-authored by Don Ross.  While addressing not quite the world close to a large urban area such as the national capital region, it does formulate many of the principles also touched on in Gray’s presentation.


Authorship: Erwin [first draft 10 June 2013; revised 21 June, 23 June, 27-28 June, 16 August, 8 Dec] Paul [12 December, 29 December 2015] Erwin [22 February 2017]