Disentangling Effects of Multiple Stressors on Nuisance Benthic Algae (Cladophora) in Nearshore Regions of the Great Lakes

We will analyze long-term monitoring data that were sampled over ten years from nearshore regions of the Great Lakes to find out key factors that cause the proliferation of nuisance benthic algae and fouling of shorelines of Lake Ontario in the Toronto–Durham region and throughout the Great Lakes. Additionally, we will test whether environmental DNA in water and sediment samples can be used to track the dispersal of nuisance benthic algae. Our project will contribute directly to the ongoing monitoring programs in the Great Lakes and will be relevant for management of nuisance benthic algae.

Restoration Opportunities for the Lost Creeks of South Etobicoke

Extensive development in south Etobicoke resulted in creeks historically viewed as a nuisance being buried, culverted or piped underground. However, creeks don’t just disappear, during large rainfall or snowmelt events. These buried creeks have been found to be a catalyst for flooding and reduce water quality because of reductions in storage and absorption of stormwater run-off over vegetated surfaces resulting in a ‘flashy’ response to stormwater. This project will investigate restoration options for the remnant portions of the lost creeks and investigate green infrastructure (i.e.

Integrating biodiversity functional guild responses to land use and climate change in natural heritage system update - Year two

Urbanization continues to drive the land conversion from natural areas to urban uses dominated by impermeable surfaces. This conversion has direct and indirect impacts on ecosystem services that are critical for a sustainable and resilient ecosystem as well as human wellbeing. Habitat removal and fragmentation accelerate biodiversity loss in urban landscapes. Additionally, climate change exacerbates these impacts even further. Hence, green infrastructure is also becoming more common in urban landscapes to offset negative urbanization impacts.

Enhancing Water Balance Criteria to Protect Wetlands from Urban Stormwater and Climate Change

Wetlands are important habitats for many plant and animal species, and also provide valuable ecosystem services to society such as improving water quality and releasing groundwater into streams. While wetlands are often protected from development through the land use planning process in Ontario, development and land use change near wetlands can still alter the amount and timing of water flowing into and out of a wetland.

Estimating the benefit of green infrastructure to urban ecosystems: A synthesis and case-study

Globally cities are expanding and this has a negative impact on natural systems. Green infrastructure (GI), such as green roofs, retention ponds, or urban tree canopies, is used to mitigate the impacts of extreme weather and provide resources for people in the city. However, GI can also provide a benefit for native species and wildlife by providing a habitat for them to live. Although this is commonly suggested, to our knowledge, no one has attempted to quantify the effects of GI on natural systems.

The Greater Toronto Area Watershed Readiness Pilot Project: Gaging how climate and land use change might impact aquatic ecosystems in urban environments.

Cities are often located near sources of water such as lakes, rivers, and oceans. Due to their location, the effects of climate change and urbanization will introduce unique challenges to aquatic habitats located within cities. These challenges could range from flooding, extreme wind, ice storm damage, extreme heat events, and drought as well as long term climate changes.

Accelerating home energy retrofits – building the case for local improvement charges in Ontario municipalities

In 2012, changes to provincial legislation in Ontario provided municipalities with a new market-based tool to improve the energy and water efficiency of the existing building stock; the ‘local improvement charge’ (LIC) mechanism.
The City of Toronto was the first and remains the only Ontario municipality to use LICs to finance residential energy retrofits, starting in 2014 with the Home Energy Loan Program. Many other municipalities are interested.

Integrating biodiversity functional guild responses to land use and climate change in natural heritage system update

Urbanization continues to drive the land conversion from natural areas to urban uses dominated by impermeable surfaces. This conversion has direct and indirect impacts on ecosystem services that are critical for a sustainable and resilient ecosystem as well as human wellbeing. Habitat removal and fragmentation accelerate biodiversity loss in urban landscapes. Additionally, climate change exacerbates these impacts even further. Hence, green infrastructure is also becoming more common in urban landscapes to offset negative urbanization impacts.

Assessing Gaps and Opportunities: Industry Knowledge and Capacity for Large-Scale Heat Pump Uptake

This research is based on the recognition that heat pump technology has the potential to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and reliance on fossil fuels, while providing space heating, space cooling and domestic hot water. Both internationally and in the Ontario context, a lack of industry knowledge and capacity has been noted to be a barrier to the uptake of heat pump technologies.

Integrating Climate Change Considerations in Plans and Policies in Durham Region

Durham Region recently created a plan to help guide future decisions about adapting to climate change. The plan shows how extreme future weather is expected to be and identifies many ways that the cities and towns in the region and other agencies that deliver services like water and electricity need to be prepared. Some municipalities and agencies are further ahead than others in having policies and plans to adapt to climate change.

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