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Designed by Polly Ko

It's Environmentally Crucial to Save Oak Ridges Moraine

by Dorothy Izzard
The Toronto Star: Letters
Aug. 23, 1990

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On July 26, MPP Ron Kanter released his Greater Toronto Area Greenlands Strategy, with a number of very important recommendations. (Copies are available at your public library.)

One of the most important recommendations was the recognition of the value and the purpose of the Oak Ridges Moraine.

The province will begin a two-year study on the moraine; and announce a general expression of provincial interest.

The purpose of declaring provincial interest would be to provide time to conduct a comprehensive land-use planning study of the Oak Ridges Moraine.

The province would review all proposed official plan amendments and rezoning applications. In the specific instances of the towns of Richmond Hill and Aurora, the province would also review plans of subdivisions.

So what is the Oak Ridges Moraine and why is the moraine so important?

  • What is the moraine?

    It is a major landform in southern Ontario stretching for more than 100 miles from the Niagara Escarpment to the Trent River.

    It was formed by glaciers (like large bulldozers) pushing the earth into high ridges (300 metres).

    The moraine is characterized by a rolling hummocky or hilly appearance dotted by lakes (more than 100), swamps, bogs, etc.

    The soils are generally sand, gravel or clay.

  • Why save the moraine?

    The environmentally crucial aspects of the moraine lie below its surface beauty. It is a recharge and discharge area for more than 50 rivers.

    As rain falls, it is filtered down into large storage aquifers. Functionally, the moraine constitutes a magnificent water-control system. Water which must not be contaminated by pollutants.

    At present, 10 towns along the moraine use this water source for their municipal water supplies.

  • Why save the moraine's surface waters?

    Kettle lakes, swamps, bogs, etc. are all an integral part of the moraine's aquifers. These wetlands also form a natural habitat for many ecosystems.

  • Why save the headwaters of rivers?

    Headwaters must be protected from disturbance and pollution to ensure the integrity of our river systems, the cleanliness of our beaches and, most of all, the quality of our drinking water.

  • Why save our natural habitats?

    It is imperative that appropriate areas of habitat be set aside to ensure species diversity. Perhaps 10- to 20 metre-wide strips of greenlands are not adequate for animals.

  • Why save the moraine's cultural heritage?

    There is evidence of many Indian villages and burial grounds around the water courses of the moraine. Some sites date back to times B.C. Studies must be done to protect and recreate some of these sites.

  • Why save the agricultural lands?

    There are considerable agricultural lands along the moraine. Along with conventional farming, horse stables and pick-your-own farms are needed for optional lifestyles and recreational open spaces for a population that is to grow to more than 5 million by 2011.

  • Why save the moraine's trees and forests?

    Trees and forests release oxygen into the air and improve our air quality.

    If you would like to learn more about the moraine or even work to help save what is valuable within the morane, please call STORM Coalition.

    STORM (Save the Oak Ridges Moraine) Coalition is a coalition of citizen groups, university groups and individuals whose focus is the moraine.

    Our mandate is to obtain legislated environmental protection for the Oak Ridges Moraine from the province.

Please help by calling or writing to STORM.

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Copyright 2007 Save the Oak Ridges Moraine (STORM) Coalition