A B C
D E F G H
I J K L M N
O P Q R S
T U V W X Y Z
ANSI: Area of Natural and Scientific Interest –
Areas of land and water containing natural landscapes or features that
have been identified as having life science or earth sciences values related
to protection, scientific study or education.
AOC: Area of Concern - Severely degraded geographic areas
within the Great Lakes Basin. They are defined by the U.S - Canada Great
Lakes Water Quality Agreement as “geographic areas that fail to
meet the general or specific objectives of the agreement where such failure
has caused or is likely to cause impairment of beneficial use of the area’s
ability to support aquatic life.”
AQI: Air Quality Index – Tells you how clean the
air is and whether it will affect your health.
ARCH: Action to Restore a Clean Humber – An environmental
Non-Governmental Organization that started in 1989 in reaction to the
fact that a polluted Humber River is harmful to health, recreation and
Biodiversity: The number and variety of organisms found
within a specified geographic region.
Biomass: The total mass of living matter within a given
unit of environmental area.
Bioregion: A region defined on the basis of physical
and biological features.
Bluff: A steep headland, promontory, riverbank or cliff.
Brownfield: A piece of industrial or commercial property
that is abandoned or underused and often environmentally contaminated,
especially one considered as a potential site for redevelopment.
CA: Conservation Authority – A community based,
resource management agency. Consists of partnerships between municipalities
within a watershed. Can deal with resource management issues that cross
municipal boundaries. Includes the watershed level analysis of the issues
and long-term maintenance of watershed-level data and information.
Corridor: A natural linear feature, providing for habitat
connections and species dispersal, at both a regional and local scale.
Cultural Heritage Landscape: A place that exhibits physical
characteristics or represents cultural and/or religious values of a community
as a result of interactions between people and the natural environment.
CSO: Combined Sewer Overflows – Mixed wastewater,
used water and sewage that goes down the drain in homes and businesses
as well as stormwater, rain or snow that washes off streets and parking
lots that flow together in a single pipe which is called a Combined Sewer
System. During heavy rain, the pipes get too full and start to overflow
into nearby lakes. When this occurs, it is called Combined Sewer Overflow.
This provides a “safety valve” that prevents back-ups of untreated
wastewater into homes and businesses, flooding in city streets, or bursting
DDT: Dichloro Diphenyl Trichloroethane - A colourless
crystalline organochloride insecticide. It is very soluble in fats and
most organic solvents and practically insoluble in water. DDT is persistent
in the environment, with a reported half-life of between 26 days in river
water to 15 years, and is immobile in most soils. Routes of loss and degradation
include runoff, volatilization, photolysis and biodegradation (aerobic
Dredging: Excavating under water, usually to create or
deepen a harbour or canal.
EA: Environmental Assessment – Aimed to protect
the environment and quality of life of the people of the province; and
facilitate the wise management of the natural resources of the province.
It requires that anyone who plans a project that could have a significant
effect on the natural, social or economic environment, to present the
project for examination. The environmental assessment process ensures
that projects proceed in an environmentally acceptable manner.
Ecosystem: A system composed of air, land, water and
living organisms. Includes humans, and the interactions among them.
EC: Environment Canada – To preserve and enhance
the quality of the natural environment, including water, air and soil
quality; conserve Canada’s renewable resources, including migratory
birds and other non-domestic flora and fauna; conserve and protect Canada’s
water resources; carry out meteorology; enforce the rules made by the
Canada – United States International Joint Commission relating to
boundary waters; and coordinate environmental policies and programs for
the federal government.
EPA: Environmental Protection Agency (American) –
Strives to protect human health and the environment. Since 1970, the EPA
has been working for a cleaner, healthier environment for the American
Eutrophication: Having waters rich in mineral and organic
nutrients that promote a proliferation of plant life, especially algae,
which reduces the dissolved oxygen content and often causes the extinction
of other organisms. Often occurs in a lake or pond.
GIS: Geographic Information System – A computer
system for capturing, storing, checking, integrating, manipulating, analyzing
and displaying data related to positions on the Earth’s surface.
Typically, a GIS is used for handling maps of one kind or another.
GLWQB: Great Lakes Water Quality Board – The principal
advisor to the International Joint Commission on all matters related to
the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. The 20 member Board is made up
of senior program managers from the federal, state and provincial regulatory
and resource management programs.
GTA: Greater Toronto Area
Greenfield Area: An area that has not been disrupted
by urban development.
Greenway: A linear landscape that is identified for management
purposes to integrate environmental regeneration, recreation, and cultural
opportunities into the urban and rural fabric.
Green Infrastructure: An open framework of services,
based on natural systems and including natural habitats, landforms, aquifers
and recharge areas, heritage landscapes, parks, trails and archeological
Groundwater: Water beneath the earth’s surface,
often between saturated soil and rock, that supplies wells and
HPD: Housing Preservation and Development – Work
to provide safe, viable, neighborhoods with quality affordable housing
that is convenient to schools, shops, services and places to play and
Hydrologic Cycle: The cycle of evaporation and condensation that
controls the distribution of the earth’s water as it evaporates
from bodies of water, condenses, precipitates, and returns to those bodies
IBE: International Brownfield Exchange – Initiated
by the Waterfront Regeneration Trust in collaboration with Environment
Canada, the United States Environmental Protection Agency, and the German
Marshall Fund of the United States. The objectives of the programs are
to exchange information, and to develop, test and communicate a set of
best practices for sustainable brownfield redevelopment.
IJC: International Joint Commission – An independent
bi-national organization established by the Boundary Waters Treaty of
1909. Its purpose is to help prevent and resolve disputes relating to
the use and quality of boundary waters and to advise Canada and the United
States on related questions.
Lake Ontario Greenway: A greenway encompassing the lands and
waters along the shoreline of Lake Ontario between Niagara on-the-Lake
and Brockville, generally extending inland to the fist major rise in elevation
and offshore to a depth of about 10 meters.
LRT: Light Rail Transit – A modern form of public
transportation. LRT is a one, two or three car train that runs on tracks
in city streets or on a separate right-of-way. The length of the train
is never longer than a city block so that stopped vehicles do not block
cross streets. LRT stations can be spaced as close as one-quarter mile
in downtown areas but are typically spaced between one –half to
one mile apart in most areas. Overhead electric wires power the trains,
making the trains both clean and quiet. Light Rail vehicles are controlled
by an on-board operator.
MNR: Ministry of Natural Resources - The ministry claims
to be committed to protecting and managing the province's natural resources.
In doing so, the it contributes to the environmental, social and economic
well-being of the people of Ontario (OMNR), meeting not only today's needs,
but also ensuring these resources are available for future generations.
MOE: Ontario Ministry of Environment – Works to
protect, restore and enhance the natural environment through tough legislation
and enforcement, innovative programs and initiatives, strong partnerships,
and public engagement. The ministry works to provide all Ontarians with
safe and clean air, land and water.
Migrant: A person or animal that is moving from one place
to another or changing habitat.
Moraine: An accumulation of boulder, stones, or other
debris carried and deposited by a glacier. For example, the Oak Ridges
NPC: Niagara Parks Commission – The NPC maintains
1,7000 hectares of parkland stretching along the entire length of the
Niagara River from Erie to Niagara-on-the-Lake, including the 56 kilometer
scenic Niagara River Parkway and Recreational Trail.
Naturalization: The process of adapting or acclimatizing
a plant or animal to a new environment; to introduce and establish as
Natural Core Area: A natural area that protects the most
significant natural habitats and provides representation of landforms
and biotic communities.
ORM: Oak Ridges Moraine – One of the most significant
landforms in southern Ontario. It contains the headwaters of 65 river
systems and has a wide diversity of streams, woodlands, wetlands, kettle
lakes, kettle bogs and significant fauna and flora. It is one of the last
remaining continuous green corridors in southern Ontario.
PAC: Public Advisory Committee - A group o f community
leaders, and public officials representing the population of the study
area who assist in planning goals and objectives, evaluating alternative
plans, selecting recommended courses of action, and setting priorities.
They represent community interests and contribute valuable information
to project sponsors about the location, design, and implementation of
PCB: Polychlorinated Biphenyl - Any of a family of industrial
compounds produced by chlorination of biphenyl, noted primarily as an
environmental pollutant that accumulates in animal tissue with resultant
pathogenic and teratogenic effects.
PWQO/Gs: Provincial Water Quality Objectives/ Guidelines
– Defined as numerical and narrative ambient surface water quality
criterion, and are applicable to all water of the province including lakes,
rivers and streams.
RAP: Remedial Action Plan – Identify specific problems
in severely degraded Great Lakes Areas of Concern and describe methods
of correcting them.
Regeneration: The protection, enhancement, and restoration
of ecological health, community well-being, and economic vitality.
SSRA: Sight Specific Risk Assessment – Used in
more private-sector redevelopment efforts, this approach is employed to
establish cleanup levels because it typically yields the lowest cleanup
cost estimates. Under this approach, cleanup levels for contaminants in
the soil are not based on generic criteria set by governmental regulations
for different land uses, but on criteria established for a specific site
or for a level of exposure protection based on risk.
STORM: Save the Oak Ridges Moraine – A group that
challenge the adequacy of existing provincial land use planning laws and
policies to protect the Oak Ridges Moraine.
STP: Sewage Treatment Plant – Wastewater from houses,
factories and office buildings is delivered to a local STP by a network
of sewers and pumping stations. When the wastewater arrives at the plant,
it is a mixture of solid and liquid waste. The STP accelerates the natural
decomposition process, and at the same time renders the wastewater inoffensive,
stable and safe for release for reuse or disposal back into the environment.
Smart Growth: New development and redevelopment done
in a proactive approach to environmental protection and management.
Stormwater: Rain, which runs off roads, yards and roofs
and down gutters into stormwater grates. Stormwater picks up silt and
other contaminants as it runs over these surfaces. It is piped/runs untreated
into streams and harbours.
Subwatershed: A subunit of a watershed, often defined
as the drainage area of a tributary of a watercourse.
TBI: Toronto Bay Initiative – A non-profit, volunteer-based
charitable community organization dedicated to a cleaner, greener, healthier,
and more accessible Toronto Bay.
Threatened Species (Ontario): Any indigenous species
of flora or fauna that is indicated to be experiencing a definite non-cyclical
decline throughout all or a significant portion of its Ontario range,
and that is likely to become an endangered species if the factors responsible
for the decline continue unabated.
Trophic: Relates to the processes of energy and nutrient
transfer from one or more organisms to others in an ecosystem.
Tributary: A contributing stream or river; one that runs
into another or into a lake.
TRCA: Toronto and Region Conservation Authority –
Strive to work with various partners to ensure that The Living City is
built upon a natural foundation of healthy rivers and shorelines, greenspace
and biodiversity, and sustainable communities.
VCP: Voluntary Cleanup Committee – A non-responsible
party to acquire a contaminated property liability protection for existing
contamination by agreeing to perform an environmental assessment and/or
remediation. The amount of environmental work is site specific and dependent
on the intended future use of the site.
WFP: Water Filtration Plants – Treatment facilities
that improve water quality. Impurities are removed through a process known
as filtration whereby incoming water is passed through a porous structure
or medium, such as a screen, membrane, sand or gravel.
WRAP: Waterfront Remedial Action Plan Committee - Identify
specific problems in severely degraded areas along the Toronto Waterfront
and describe methods of correcting them.
WRT: Waterfront Regeneration Trust – An independent,
non-profit organization that works to complete, help restore, and market
the Lake Ontario Waterfront Trail and Greenway.
WWFMMP: Wet Weather Flow Waste Management Master Plan
– Strive to develop a strategy to reduce and ultimately eliminate
the adverse effects of wet weather flow (runoff that is generated when
it rains or snows). When implemented, the Master Plan will make the streams,
rivers and waterfront cleaner and healthier.
Water-Borne Contaminants: By-products and contamination
created by humans due to the disposal of sewage, industrial, agricultural
and domestic chemicals, heat and freshwater into numerous outfalls. These
operate continuously or sporadically to create a mosaic of short and long
term, acute and chronic contamination of coastal waters.
Watershed: The area drained by a river or lake system
Wetland: Land where the water table is at, near, or above
the land surface long enough to promote the formation of wet soils or
support the growth of aquatic plants.
Wet Weather Flow: The controlling of flowing polluted
stormwater and combined sewer overflows into surrounding bodies of water.
i.e. waterfront and watersheds.