Completed in 2012 City project

Natural Heritage and Urban Forest Strategy study

The Natural Heritage and Urban Forest Strategy (NH&UFS) study, launched in April 2012, is now complete following Council's approval on February 12, 2014.

The City of Mississauga has a long history of natural heritage protection. It continues to evolve with the growing support for the environment and recognition of the importance of preserving our natural heritage.

The Natural Heritage and Urban Forest Strategy (NH&UFS) study, launched in April 2012, is now complete following Council’s approval on February 12, 2014. This strategy along with the Urban Forest Management Plan (UFMP), also approved by Council, will guide the management of Mississauga’s Natural Heritage System and Urban Forest in the next 20 years and will ensure that they are protected, enhanced, restored and expanded for future generations.

While a number of municipalities have undertaken either natural heritage studies or urban forest plans, Mississauga is the first one to purposely develop both as a joint effort. This Strategy is also one of the first to look at natural heritage and urban forest assets from a more holistic perspective in terms of their relationship to other “green” elements in the city, and identify shared opportunities. This integrated approach is useful for effectively addressing natural heritage and urban forest challenges, including common threats and opportunities arising as a result of climate change.

Mississauga’s Natural Areas System (also known as its Natural Heritage System) currently covers a total of 2 737 ha (6760 acres), or approximately 9.5 per cent of the City. These natural areas include woodlands, wetlands, watercourses, and valleylands. There are also approximately 2.1 million trees within the City located within and outside of the Natural Areas System. This includes more than 243,000 street trees and hundreds of thousands of additional trees on publicly and privately owned lands. Treed natural areas and trees outside the natural areas in the City are all part of the urban forest, and together cover about 15 per cent of Mississauga.

The Natural Heritage System and the Urban Forest support local biodiversity and provide a wide range of ecological benefits (also known as ecosystem services) to those who live, work and play in the City. These ecosystem services include: air pollution removal, shade, temperature moderation, moderation of storm water flows, support for active living, improved outdoor recreational opportunities, improved mental health and community well-being, higher property values and a more aesthetically pleasing community. All these benefits make substantial contributions to quality of life in this city.

Preserving and Protecting Our Natural Assets

The City values its natural areas and urban forest, and over the years has undertaken many initiatives to develop and implement policies and by-laws to support these systems, as well as programs for their stewardship and management. The Natural Heritage & Urban Forest Strategy is meant to build on these initiatives, as well as those of the City’s partners.

This Strategy (along with the supporting Urban Forest Management Plan) will provide direction and implementation tools to help ensure that the City protects, enhances, restores and expands its Natural Heritage System and urban forest by:

  • leading by example and using its existing resources efficiently
  • working with the community, local businesses, local schools and other partners
  • building on existing, and creating new partnerships, with those already involved in supporting natural heritage and the urban forest, and
  • targeting new resources to initiatives where the City and the community will see the greatest returns over the 20 year period of this Strategy.

Community Meetings

As part of this study, the City has engaged a wide range of stakeholders and held public information sessions. Two separate series of consultations were held for Phase 1 and Phase 2 of this project.

Thanks to everyone who attended these community meetings, and to those who have contributed to the process via telephone, email and at our stakeholder workshops. Your comments were considered during the preparation of the final reports. We hope to count with your continued involvement when the City implements these important plans.

Public meeting information resources

For the Phase 2 project consultations, a number of the Phase 1 posters were recycled, and the additional posters below were also presented:

  1. Ecosystem Services
  2. Draft Vision and Guiding Principles
  3. Draft Objectives
  4. Draft Natural Heritage System (NHS) Targets
  5. Draft Urban Forest (UF) Targets
  6. Draft Planning Strategies – part 1
  7. Draft Planning Strategies – part 2
  8. Draft Management Strategies – part 1
  9. Draft Management Strategies – part 2
  10. Draft Natural Heritage System Expansion Areas
  11. Draft Natural Heritage Linkage System
  12. Draft Engagement Strategies – part 1
  13. Draft Engagement Strategies – part 2
  14. Draft Tracking Strategies
  15. Next Steps and Input

For an overview of the Draft Strategy (and supporting Urban Forest Management Plan Actions) please see:

Comments on the Draft Natural Heritage & Urban Forest Strategy were received for a month until July 31, 2013, and comments on the Urban Forest Management Plan were accepted for a month, until August 30, 2013. A fill out survey for comments on the Urban Forest Management Plan was available online for several months.

All comments and feedback received were considered for draft revisions.

Complementary Studies

In April 2010, Mississauga City Council directed staff to carry out a feasibility analysis for expansion of the provincial Greenbelt Plan Area into Mississauga. This analysis has been conducted in the context of the Natural Heritage and Urban Forest Study. The analysis includes consideration of new developments in provincial legislation in particular Amendment 1 to the Greenbelt Plan, approved by the Province of Ontario in January 2013 that introduced the Urban River Valley designation.

Comments on this discussion paper were received for a month until September 14, 2013, access the final report.

Expansion of the Provincial Greenbelt Area into Mississauga

The City of Mississauga is pleased to invite you to an open house focused on the expansion of the Provincial Greenbelt into Mississauga.

When: Wednesday May 27, 2015 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Where: Bank of Montreal Room, Living Arts Centre, 2nd Floor, 4141 Living Arts Drive, Mississauga

Maps of the lands recommended to become part of the Greenbelt will be on display at the open house. Staff from the City of Mississauga will be available to answer questions about the process involved in identifying lands suitable for Urban River Valley (URV) designation.

Mississauga City Council has endorsed plans to expand the Provincial Greenbelt Plan Area by designating public lands within the Credit River corridor as Urban River Valley. This decision builds on a recommendation from the Natural Heritage and Urban Forest Strategy.

The City has identified 76 parcels of land totally approximately 194 ha (479 ac) along the Credit River corridor. City staff consulted with other public land owners within the Credit River corridor, namely the Region of Peel, Credit Valley Conservation and the Province of Ontario to discuss inclusion of their parcels along the Credit River.

With Council’s support, the City will submit a request package to the Region of Peel. The request to the Province of Ontario must be completed by the Region of Peel as the upper tier municipality.

You can read the News Release on Council’s Endorsement here.


If you would like to be added to the project email list to receive updates on this initiative, please send an email to

Contact information

Olav Sibille, Project Lead, Community Services

(905) 615.3200 x 4345.

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