Living with Natural Areas
A Guide for Living Next to the Westminster Ponds
The backdrop to your new home is the Westminster Ponds – Pond Mills Environmentally Significant Area (ESA) and Provincially Significant Wetland (PSW). It is a natural space that expands over 200ha in the City of London.
In the City of London, an ESA is a public space that has been identified for protection. These green spaces have important natural resources in the City and include wetlands, forests, meadows, valleylands and
significant wildlife habitat. ESAs are an integral part of London's Natural Heritage System.
Provincially Significant Wetlands (PSWs) are wetlands identified by the province as being the most valuable. They are determined by a science-based ranking system known as the Ontario Wetland Evaluation System (OWES).
It is a wooded swamp that is flooded for a portion of the year and contains a diverse array of plants, animals and ecological settings. The vegetation is dominated by trees and tall shrubs, including Maple and Willow. You may see water fowl, turtles, snakes, frogs and a multitude of migratory birds.
While swamps are not rare in Ontario, to find them in an urban setting, outside your back door is unique and worth protecting.
Your Actions Matter!
Sheds, playgrounds, fire pits and lawn do not belong in the natural areas. Not only is in not your property, but encroachment impacts the stability, diversity and wildlife that is there for your visual enjoyment. Respect the preservation of the vegetation beyond your property. Keep gardens and structures inside youry ard.
Invasive garden species in your yard can encroach into the natural areas and choke native plants and flowers. Instead, select appropriate native or non-invasive species from a garden centre or seed supply company.
If you decide to install a swimming pool, remember there are maintenance activities that can impact the natural environment. The woodland and wetland vegetation is not capable of handling the volume of discharge that
occurs from pool maintenance, backwash or draining. You should drain away from natural features. Talk to your municipality and pool contractor about pool treatment options and methods to deal with pool discharge before you make your final choice.
Yard and Garden Waste
Trees drop leaves and branches which naturally break down into nutrients that are picked up by roots, helping to maintain a healthy forest. The cumulative effect of dumping yard and garden waste in natural areas
can smother the natural ground vegetation, restrict new seedling establishment and introduce invasive and non-native plants to the system. Alternatively, compost yard waste materials for reuse in landscaped portion of your property, or provide this waste for others to compost: curbside collection or take to the depot.
Domestic cats and dogs are hunters. When a pet runs off-leash they can disturb ground nesting birds and small mammals, compromising their success. Cats are particularly notorious for their impact on wildlife. Keep your pets on a leash and under control.
Use of these guidelines may aid in your long term enjoyment and contribute to protection our local natural spaces.
A New Place to Call Home
City of London
Environmental and Parks Planning
Environmentally Significant Areas
Yard Waste Collection
Upper Thames River Conservation Authority
Ontario Invasive Plant Council