Environmentally Significant Areas in the City of London
In the City of London, 21 natural areas are currently designated as “Environmentally Significant Areas” or ESAs. These areas exist within both agricultural and urban settings and include wetlands, forests and meadows as well as river corridors and valleylands and significant wildlife habitat. The City funds a contract with the UTRCA to manage nine of these ESAs: Coves, Kilally Meadows, Kains Woods, Lower Dingman, Meadowlily Woods, Medway Valley Heritage Forest, Sifton Bog, Warbler Woods and Westminster Ponds.
The London Plan and Conservation Master Plans identify management objectives for these areas to protect the ESAs, improve public safety, encourage partnership and education, and promote and enforce proper use. The City is an identified leader among Ontario municipalities and other levels of government in demonstrating a proactive approach to the management and control of invasive species in ESAs.
Staff regularly visit the ESAs to carry out duties such as:
• identifying and dealing with encroachment by property owners into the ESAs,
• invasive species control, ecological restoration, tree planting and monitoring,
• repairing and replacing bridges, staircases and boardwalks,
• installing signs and trail markers and removing garbage,
• restricting unofficial access points to protect sensitive vegetation, and
• enforcing rules and municipal by-laws to protect vegetation, wildlife and people under the Provincial Offences Act.
There are links to maps and brochures for each of these ESAs (Coves and Lower Dingman ESA pages are under construction) on their webpages. Brochures are also available free of charge from:
• Tourism London Information Centre (696 Wellington Road South, in Westminster Ponds ESA) and the Dundas Street Information Centre (267 Dundas Street at Wellington)
• Upper Thames River Conservation Authority (519-451-2800 ext 281)
• City of London Planning Division (519-661-4980)
Rules to remember in London’s ESAs:
• Please use the official access points indicated on the trail maps.
• Stay on the managed trails (marked with yellow and/or white blazes).
• Bicycles are only permitted only on multi-use pathways.
• Access is allowed from 6 am to 10 pm.
• Keep the ESAs litter free.
• All pets must be on leash (2 m/6 ft max.).
• Do not feed fish or wildlife.
• Releasing or dumping fish or wildlife of any kind is prohibited.
• Fishing is permitted with a provincial fishing licence. No hunting is permitted.
See additional rules on signs at ESA entrances.
If you have questions or concerns about management of London’s Environmentally Significant Areas, please contact the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority (phone: 519-451-2800 ext. 281).