Eramosa Karst

Location: Stoney Creek Ontario
Region: Southwestern
Character: Under Development

Eramosa Karst
By Hamilton Conservation Authority

The Eramosa Karst is the Hamilton Conservation Authority's newest conservation area. It is located in the southwestern section of the Stoney Creek area of Hamilton. It extends from Highland Road to south of Rymal Road, and from Upper Mount Albion Road to Second Road West.

Karsts are geological formations including underground drainage, caves and passages caused by dissolving rock, found in limestone formations like the Niagara Escarpment. The Ministry of Natural Resources designated the Eramosa Karst lands as an Area of Natural and Scientific Interest in 2003, because it is believed to have the largest number of unique karst features in any single area in the province. Several of its karst features are provincially significant. These include: soil pipes, a high concentration of suffosion dolines and sinking streams, overflow sinks, dry valleys and a 335 metre-long cave (the tenth longest in all of Ontario). There is also a natural dolomitic limestone bridge at the entrance of one of the sinkholes.

The diversity of geological features and its central location in the Greater Golden Horseshoe, makes the Eramosa Karst one of the best sites in Ontario for education and research opportunities. Protecting the Eramosa Karstís unique network of features will ensure that scientists, students and naturalists can continue to enjoy this natural resource. Because it has great potential for education purposes as a result of its features and hydrology, HCA is exploring the possibilities of creating an environmental education centre on the property.

Eramosa Karst Master Plan

The Nature Counts Hamilton Natural Areas Inventory of 2003 found that the Eramosa Karst natural area is made up of meadow, thicket, woodland and forest remnant communities. It is located in the Davis Creek watershed. The forest area is made up of sugar maple, ironwood, hawthorn, gray dogwood, white ash, pin cherry, black cherry, American beech, red oak, butternut and chagbark hickory and a variety of plant species. A total of 129 species of plants were documented at this site, 13 species of butterfly, 2 species of herpetofauna, 42 species of breeding birds and 6 species of mammals.

The Eramosa Karst plays a major role in the Hamilton East-end Open Space Replacement Strategy, which seeks to secure some 210 acres of land for new parklands and trail systems to link the karst lands to the Mount Albion and Felkerís Falls conservation areas, expand the latter, and address a number of related natural heritage issues. The strategy was developed in March 2004, by a committee representing the conservation authority, the City of Hamilton and the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce, with input from the mayorís office and local MPPs.