Building in the Biosphere?

Building a bunkie on Georgian Bay

Building a bunkie on Georgian Bay

Do you have a building project in mind?  Naturally, you want to choose the best location and protect the key natural features of your property.  It is also your legal responsibility to ensure your building project is in compliance with Ontario’s Endangered Species Act (ESA), 2007.

The following screening tool will help you determine how the ESA may be applicable to your proposed building project.  Essentially the screening tool helps you determine the potential for species at risk habitat on, or adjacent to, your proposed building site.  This is best completed as early as possible in your planning process.

Start the screening tool here.

About the Species at Risk Habitat Screening Tool

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Barn Swallow, photo credit: Angela Mills.

The Georgian Bay coast is home to more than 1,100 native plant and animal species. Most have stable populations, but some are experiencing significant declines and therefore have protection under the Provincial Endangered Species Act (ESA). The loss of biodiversity has many consequences that we understand, and many that we do not. The loss of species may reduce the environment’s resistance to disturbances which can lead to a decrease in available natural resources. Currently, over 40 species are “at risk” in the Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve (GBBR) due to a variety of factors including habitat loss and fragmentation, road mortality, competition from invasive species, pollution and over-harvesting. Much of GBBR offers excellent habitat for species at risk, especially reptiles.

It is your responsibility to ensure your building project is in compliance with the ESA. Local Townships are not responsible for verifying if you are compliant under the ESA, and do not have the authority to consider the ESA provisions in their decision to issue a building permit.

This habitat screening tool has been created to help you determine how the ESA may be applicable to your proposed building project. Essentially the screening tool helps you determine the potential for species at risk habitat on, or adjacent to, your proposed building site. This is best completed as early as possible in your planning process. This screening tool has been designed for small scale building projects.

Please note that this screening tool does not replace an ESA permit or absolve the user of any responsibility under the Endangered Species Act. Please contact the Parry Sound MNR Species at Risk Biologist at 705-773-4205 with any questions or clarifications about the ESA.

Some projects will occur on both land and water, such as docks and boat houses. In this case, go through this screening tool twice selecting each option (Water and Land) to collect the relevant aquatic and terrestrial information for your project.