Nearly 70 per cent of people surveyed in the Credit River Watershed rated natural areas as an important part of their health and quality of life according to a new technical report done by Credit Valley Conservation (CVC).
This report, entitled The Importance of Ecosystem Services to Human Well-being in the Credit River Watershed, continues to build on CVC’s efforts to explore the links between the health of the watershed’s forests, streams and wetlands and the health and well-being of local communities. The report’s findings are based on the results of an extensive survey administered to watershed residents in Brampton, Mississauga, Caledon, Oakville, Halton Hills, and Orangeville. Over 1,000 completed surveys provided information about what natural features were important to residents’ health and well-being and why.
“Residents acknowledge the importance of critical services provided by the watershed’s natural features, such as the ability of trees to remove pollutants from the air, or of wetlands to regulate water flow,” said Tatiana Koveshnikova, Project Coordinator, Ecological Goods and Services for CVC, who coordinated the study. “The results also demonstrate that having contact with nature is important to the majority of respondents for health-related reasons, such as relieving stress or improving physical fitness.”
The Credit River is located in the Greater Toronto Area, one of the most densely populated regions of Canada. Currently more than 750,000 people reside in the Credit River Watershed, with over 80 per cent of the watershed’s total population living in Mississauga and Brampton. With population centralized in the lower urbanized portion of the watershed and with continued development and population-growth pressures, there is a growing concern that large portions of the watershed’s residents could potentially have limited access to nature, making existing natural features in the area even more important for their use and enjoyment.
While watershed residents recognize a clear link between natural features and their well-being, they had several areas of concern; for instance, provision of clean water. One third of residents surveyed indicated they would be ready to take action, such as volunteering or donating money, to support conservation activities that might improve these services.
The report’s findings will provide information and recommendations to CVC about how it can enhance management strategies for conserving and restoring ecological features in the Credit River Watershed while improving the well-being of its residents.
For more information about this report and the other valuable benefits natural areas provide, please see CVC’s series of research reports and factsheets on Ecological Goods and Services (www.creditvalleyca.ca/bulletin/resources). For opportunities to get involved with CVC visit: http://www.creditvalleyca.ca/learn-and-get-involved.
Conservation Authorities are a provincial/municipal partnership. CVC was established by an act of the province in 1954 with a mandate to protect all natural resources other than minerals in the area drained by the Credit River. We have been working for over 50 years with our partner municipalities and stakeholders to protect and enhance the natural environment of the Credit River Watershed for present and future generations.
Credit Valley Conservation
905-670-1615 ext. 385
Project Coordinator, Ecological Goods and Services
Credit Valley Conservation
905-670-1615 ext. 443