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Natural Environment - Lower Don Bridge and Don Yard

← Return to Early Works: Lower Don Bridge and Don Yard Draft Report

Key Findings

  • Though the study area provides limited wildlife habitat given its urbanized nature, it contributes to habitat connectivity and movement for small to medium sized urban wildlife.
  • The study area does not feature any provincially or locally significant wetlands, areas of natural and scientific interest, woodlands, valleylands or environmentally significant areas.
  • The Don River Valley is designated as an Urban River Valley under the Greenbelt Plan; the study area falls in the City of Toronto’s Ravine and Natural Feature Protection Bylaw, and the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority regulated area.
  • Though no specialized fish habitat is found, the Lower Don River in the study area provides fish habitat important for migration, feeding and refuge.
  • Species of Conservation Concern (Northern Map Turtle) and Species at Risk (Barn Swallow and Chimney Swift) may occur. The existing rail bridge may provide nesting habitat for migratory breeding birds. There are no recent records of aquatic Species at Risk.
  • Most of the Lower Don Bridge and Don Yard early works project footprint overlaps with previously disturbed areas (existing rail corridors and the Don Yard), and the amount of permanent vegetation and wildlife habitat removals to accommodate permanent infrastructure to be built as part of early works is anticipated to be low.
  • Corktown Common park is located within the study area and contains a system of restored urban prairie and marsh habitats for urban wildlife.

Ecological Land Classification* in the Lower Don Bridge and Don Yard Early Works Natural Environment Study Area

*Ecological Land Classification is the provincially-accepted standard for classifying vegetation communities in Ontario. This protocol uses a series of six nested levels (Site Region, System, Community Class, Community Series, Ecosite and Vegetation Type) to describe the ecological form and function of a vegetation community in a spatial context, from largest to smallest scale.

**Cultural communities are vegetation communities resulting from, maintained or affected by cultural or anthropogenic-based disturbances (e.g., fragmentation from roads and development).

Potential Effects & Mitigation Measures

Potential Effects:

  • Removal of/damage to trees, terrestrial vegetation and wildlife habitat.
  • Impacts to aquatic/riparian vegetation.
  • Erosion and sedimentation to waterbodies from construction.
  • Disturbance or displacement of wildlife species and reduced habitat connectivity.
  • Potential for impacts to fish and fish habitat.
  • Risk of contamination to waterbodies as a result of spills.
  • Introduction or spread of invasive species.

Mitigation Measures:

  • Sensitive wildlife timing restrictions for early works activities (e.g., removal of vegetation outside of the breeding bird period).
  • Tree/vegetation removals will be kept to a minimum and limited to within construction areas.
  • Tree removal compensation will be provided in accordance with the Metrolinx Vegetation Guideline (2020).
  • Temporarily disturbed areas will be restored/re-vegetated.
  • Erosion and sediment control measures will be implemented.
  • Ensure that all in-water activities do not interfere with fish passage, constrict the channel width or reduce flows.
  • Prior to early works activities, species-specific surveys will be completed to avoid or reduce potential impacts and meet all Species at Risk regulatory requirements.

View of the south side of the existing rail bridge crossing the Lower Don River. Source: Metrolinx, 2020.

View of the south side of the existing rail bridge crossing the Lower Don River.
Source: Metrolinx, 2020.

View of the north side of the existing rail bridge crossing the Lower Don River. Source: Metrolinx, 2020.

View of the north side of the existing rail bridge crossing the Lower Don River.
Source: Metrolinx, 2020.

← Return to Early Works: Lower Don Bridge and Don Yard Draft Report

Submissions are closed.