Hamilton Conservation Authority City of Hamilton Bruce Trail Conservancy
 
 

 

Felker's Falls Escarpment Valley

General Summary

The Felker’s Falls Escarpment Valley study area includes a 4 km section of the Niagara Escarpment between Mount Albion Road and Centennial Parkway, as well as Felker’s Falls, a waterfall and plunge pool created where Davis Creek crosses the escarpment. The study area also includes one of the few remaining woodlots on the Vinemount Moraine, located south of the escarpment brow.

Significance

Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources Designation:
• Regional Earth Science ANSI (Area of Natural and Scientific Interest)

City of Hamilton Environmentally Significant Area (ESA) Criteria:
• Significant Earth Science Feature

- the area encompasses regionally significant features

• Significant Ecological Function
- the area serves as a link between natural areas along the Niagara Escarpment corridor
- the area provides habitat for significant species
- the area is representative of the landforms and natural communities associated with the Niagara Escarpment

Physical Description

This segment of the escarpment trends east-west and is about 50 m high. The rocks of the Niagara Escarpment in the City of Hamilton exhibit the transition between the Appalachian basin and the Algonquin arch sedimentary environments. The rock exposures at Felker’s Falls and in the roadcut along Highway 20 (Centennial Parkway) at the eastern boundary provide important geological information and the former is considered of regional significance by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources.

To the south of the study area, a small bedrock scarp known as the Eramosa Escarpment runs parallel to, and about 1 km south, of the brow of the Niagara Escarpment. Halton Till up to 6 m thick on the tableland between the Niagara and Eramosa Escarpments forms the broad low ridge of the Vinemount Moraine, the northernmost of the series of moraines that parallel the brow of the Niagara Escarpment through much of the Niagara Peninsula.

Battlefield Creek, a tributary of Stoney Creek, descends the escarpment in a small ravine at the eastern end of the study area. Interestingly, another small stream that disappears underground above the escarpment reappears as a spring in the face of the escarpment within the waterfall at Felker’s Falls.

Ecological Land Classification

Broadleaf upland woods associated with various aspects of the Niagara Escarpment are represented here. In addition to the linear belt of woods along the lower slope, upper slope, and rim of the escarpment, there are two small wooded ravines and a woodlot on the tableland south of the escarpment.

Flora and Fauna Summary

Vascular Plants

In 1991, 198 species were documented including eight locally uncommon species and two locally rare species. Nature Counts surveyors recorded 178 species in 2002, including one additional locally rare species.

Butterflies

During the 1991 NAI, 23 species were observed including a locally rare species, Northern Cloudy-Wing (Thorybes pylades), and a COSEWIC special concern species, the Monarch (Danaus plexippus).

Fish

There are several barriers to fish passage at road crossings in this natural area. Fish were assessed here between 1980 and 2002. In total, eight species have been collected, with no new species recorded since 1990. Northern Redbelly Dace (Phoxinus eos) was not recorded in the 1990s.

Herpetofauna

During the Hamilton Herpetofaunal Atlas surveys from 1987 to 1991, five species were observed including Jefferson Salamander (Ambystoma jeffersonianum), a
locally, provincially, and nationally rare species, and Eastern Milk Snake (Lampropeltis triangulum triangulum), a COSEWIC special concern species.

Breeding Birds

Nature Counts surveyors recorded 43 species in 2002. Of these, seven are locally uncommon species.

Mammals

The Nature Counts project conducted bat mist netting in July of 2002. Four common mammal species were recorded, while five species were observed in 1991.

Waterfalls

 


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