Hamilton Conservation Authority City of Hamilton Bruce Trail Conservancy
 
 

 

Iroquoia Heights Conservation Area

  

General Summary

The Iroquoia Heights Conservation Area is an irregularly shaped block of land on the rim and upper slopes of the Niagara Escarpment at the southeast corner of the Dundas Valley re-entrant. Most of this area consists of regenerating agricultural lands that are now largely covered with tall shrub thickets, second-growth woods, and plantations. These provide habitat for several significant species, and form part of the continuous greenbelt along the Niagara Escarpment. A former railway right-of-way runs northeast to southwest across the study area providing a trail for recreational use.

  

Significance

City of Hamilton Environmentally Significant Area (ESA) Criteria:
• Significant Earth Science Feature

- the area encompasses part of the Niagara Escarpment

• Significant Ecological Function
- the area provides habitat for significant species
- the area contains interior forest habitat (100-200m from forest edge)

  

Physical Description

Elevations above the escarpment range from 195 to 240 m. South of the escarpment rim, a thin blanket of glacio-lacustrine clay and silt deposits have been exposed in some areas by recent erosion and gullying. A small abandoned gravel pit is located in the southwestern portion of the study area. Soils on the tableland portion of this area consist of well-drained Ancaster silt loam except along the stream channel where variably-drained Alberton silt loam occurs.

The few water wells near this area tap an aquifer at or near the bedrock surface.
The headwaters of Chedoke Creek consist of an intermittent stream that flows north through this area and spills over the escarpment in the small bedrock gorge at the northeast corner.

  

Ecological Land Classification

The southern section of Iroquoia Heights Conservation Area is comprised mainly of former agricultural and industrial areas in the early stages of succession. Hawthorn (Crataegus spp.), black walnut (Juglans nigra), black cherry (Prunus serotina) and white ash (Fraxinus americana) are abundant in the regenerating areas. A black maple forest dominates the steep escarpment gorge, which drains the wetlands along Chedoke Creek, and round-leaved dogwood (Cornus rugosa) is abundant along the rim.

  

Flora and Fauna Summary

  

Vascular Plants

Nature Counts surveyors recorded 271 species, including 80 (30%) non-native species, six locally uncommon species, and a locally rare species, Virginia Mountain-mint (Pycnanthemum virginianum). The 1991 NAI reported over 300 species at this site, including 11 Carolinian species.

  

Butterflies

Nature Counts surveyors documented seven common species, three of which are new records for the area. The 1991 NAI reported a total of 18 species, including one COSEWIC species, the Monarch (Danaus plexippus).

  

Fish

No fisheries assessment has been done in this natural area.

  

Herpetofauna

The 1991 NAI and the Hamilton Herpetofaunal Atlas documented eight species.

  

Breeding Birds

Nature Counts surveyors documented 46 species including two interior forest species. Also recorded were 10 locally uncommon species, nine of which are new records for the area, and a new locally rare species, American Black Duck (Anas rubripes). The 1991 NAI reported that a number of regionally uncommon species that previously nested in the area may now be locally extirpated.

  

Mammals

The 1991 NAI field surveys documented 15 species.

  

Waterfalls

    


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