According to a 2004 report from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), Niagara’s ecological footprint is a little smaller than that of many of our neighbours. The report estimates the average Niagara resident needs about 6.88 hectares of land and water to sustain his or her lifestyle. Regions like Windsor, Waterloo, Hamilton and York use a little more land to produce, consume, live and bury waste – anywhere from 7 to 10 hectares. The national average is 7.25 hectares, which still represents one of the largest ecological footprints in the world (FCM, 2004).
In 2005, wetlands covered an estimated 6.36% of the Niagara Watershed. It was estimated that 18.5% of the watershed was covered by natural areas, with a long-term target set for 30% to be covered. (Natural Watershed Report Card, 2006). Niagara covers 1,854.17 square kilometres and has a population density of 230.5 persons per square kilometre. Ontario has a population density of 13.4 persons per square kilometres.
Source: Statistics Canada, 2006, Community Profiles
Niagara has rich agricultural lands for growing fruit and vegetables and sustains many vineyards and wineries. Niagara has redesignated 129 hectares of land that were originally designated for agricultural purposes for other uses during 2006, higher than the Ontario Municipal Benchmark Initiative (OMBI) average of 77 hectares. A total of 1193 hectares of Niagara’s agricultural land has been redesignated for other purposes since 2000, higher than the OMBI average of 318.4 hectares. In 2007, 1,130 hectares of land were returned to agricultural purposes.
Source: OMBI, CAO 9-2008