I am writing in response to the Earth Watch article “Bridging over controversy” [Spring 2010, page 9].

As Canadian lead of the Detroit River International Crossing (DRIC) study and a longtime supporter of Ontario Nature, I want to assure your readers that protection of the natural environment was key throughout the DRIC study.

The natural environment was the focus of hundreds of hours of consultation and multi-season, detailed field investigations by specialists. The resulting information was integral to the development of our final recommendations.

We understand Windsor’s rare and fragile natural environment, especially the tallgrass prairie and associated plant and animal species. From the outset, the intent was to avoid or minimize impacts on significant natural features like the Ojibway Prairie Provincial Nature Reserve. The approved plan for the Windsor-Essex Parkway [locates it] along an existing transportation corridor and avoids most of the significant natural areas of the study areas.

Protection and enhancement of tallgrass prairie habitat are key components of our restoration activities, and we are working closely with the Ministry of Natural Resources on detailed management, monitoring and habitat restoration plans. These plans are required as a part of the approval of our permits under Section 17(2)(d) of the Endangered Species Act, 2007. Through these plans we are protecting, creating and restoring hundreds of acres of habitat and enhancing linkages between natural areas.

Within the footprint of the Windsor-Essex Parkway, 100 acres of land have been identified for ecological restoration. Additional restoration areas will be created outside of the parkway property limits. Stewardship arrangements will be developed to protect restoration areas over the long term.

The Windsor-Detroit Gateway is North America’s premier international gateway and a vital trade corridor for Ontario’s economy. While we move forward with this essential infrastructure project, we will continue our efforts to protect, create and restore habitat for species at risk. Our team is hopeful that our efforts will provide an example for others who seek to balance infrastructure needs with the protection of natural features.

We invite you to visit [the Windsor-Essex Parkway website at] www.weparkway.ca for information on our measures or to learn more about the project.

Dave Wake, Manager, Planning Office, Ministry of Transportation

The bear facts

A very good friend of mine gave me a copy of the spring issue of ON Nature magazine. I would like to compliment you on one of the best articles I have read on reducing our fear of black bears – if not the best [“Why fear the bear,” page 24].

About 12 years ago I moved from Toronto to Kinmount, where I purchased a home and a 121-hectare property. Our land is a haven for many species, as we do not allow hunting of any kind.

We have black bears on our land and have never had any problems. We respect their home and have worked hard to ensure we do nothing to attract them to ours. It has been a real life lesson trying to understand the local bear hunting philosophy, in particular the belief that it is [people’s] God-given right to hunt with baited traps.

Once again, thank you for this article. I am going to send it to our local community organization and suggest that, in the next newsletter, they recommend everyone obtain the spring issue of ON Nature and read your article.

Richard Patterson, Kinmount, Ont.