Natural Areas


Linkages are natural areas such as old fields, meadows, thickets, successional habitat, hedgerows, riparian vegetation and woodlands that ecologically connect Core Areas. These features are similar to roads that plants and wildlife can move along in response to environmental changes and life cycle requirements. These roads can be in many different forms based on the needs of the local plants and wildlife.

The City of Hamilton recognizes the importance of these areas to the health and integrity of the overall Natural Heritage System and is committed to protect, restore and enhance linkages. According to Hamilton's Official Plan, we must incorporate linkages into the design of a new development.  

Owning land in a linkage

You must complete a Linkage Assessment where new development or site alteration is proposed within a linkage in the Natural Heritage System. The purpose of the Linkage Assessment is to provide you with information to create a development plan that maintains and enhances the linkage.

A qualified expert, such as an ecologist or biologist must prepare the Linkage Assessment and:

  • Identify and assess the linkage including its vegetative, wildlife, and/or landscape features and functions
  • Assess the potential impacts on the viability and integrity of the linkage as a result of the development proposal
  • Make recommendations to protect, enhance or mitigate impacts on the linkage and its functions through planning, design and construction practices

If the development area contains a Core Area, you must complete the Linkage Assessment as part of the Environmental Impact Statement. For more information, review the Linkage Assessment Guidelines.