Natural Heritage System (Completed)

As the first amendment planned for the Northumberland Next Official Plan update, Northumberland County has developed a Natural Heritage System Plan to manage community growth in a way that preserves and enhances our natural environment for future generations. The NHS report was finalized based on multiple rounds of public consultations that took place between 2018-2020, and was endorsed by County Council on July 22, 2020.

Staff have now initiated an Official Plan amendment and are waiting for the Province to approve the amendment before the mapping and policies will be incorporated into the County Official Plan.

What is a Natural Heritage System?

Required by the province, the natural heritage system includes areas such as wetlands, woodlands and watercourses that have been identified as significant natural features that we must protect and enhance.

The Natural Heritage System Plan will result in updates to the Northumberland County Official Plan policies, including:

  • Establishing a new Natural Heritage Area designation that will apply to properties with natural heritage features
  • Identification of natural heritage features and areas, as well as supporting features and areas that would be subject to development prohibitions and/or restrictions
  • Introduction of new policies affecting development and site alteration in and adjacent to the Natural Heritage System
  • Updates to the requirements for environmental studies

Public consultation process

In November 2018, Northumberland County conducted the first round of public consultation sessions to gather input on natural features to be included in Northumberland County's Natural Heritage System Plan.

This input was used to develop three Natural Heritage System options, which were presented to the public for feedback during our second round of public consultation sessions in November and December 2019.

In response to feedback received during these public consultation sessions, the County developed an online interactive map to demonstrate how each of the three options for a Natural Heritage System would be implemented in our community. Public feedback was gathered on the proposed mapping until February 21, 2020.

Project timelines


November 2018 - first round of public consultations

  • Northumberland County Headquarters, Cobourg - November 26, 2018
  • Cramahe Township Municipal Office, Colborne - November 28, 2018
  • Clock Tower Cultural Centre, Campbellford - November 29, 2018

November/December 2019 - second round of public consultations

  • Cramahe Township Municipal Office, Colborne - November 21, 2019
  • Northumberland County Headquarters, Cobourg - December 2, 2019
  • Clock Tower Cultural Centre, Campbellford - December 3, 2019

January/February 2020

  • Interactive map and online form for gathering public input

July 2020

  • Completed final report

Spring/Summer 2020

  • Present the preferred Natural Heritage System option to Northumberland County Council on July 22, 2020

March 2021

  • Initiate update and arrange for a public meeting to incorporate the preferred Natural heritage System mapping and policies into the County Official Plan update

December 2021

  • County Council adopted the Natural Heritage System amendment and the amendment was sent to the Province for approval

Next steps

  • Implement the Natural Heritage System mapping and policies upon approval from the Province

News updates





Supporting documents

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link
<span class="translation_missing" title="translation missing:">Load Comment Text</span>