Dufferin County has an area of 149,667 ha. It is almost entirely a rural municipality, with urban development concentrated in the Town of Orangeville to the south and to a lesser extent in the Village of Shelburne in the centre of the County. With the exception of low-lying wet areas, much of the County (more than 71%) has long been cleared and cultivated. At present the County of Dufferin has no upper-tier Official Plan. As a result, land use designations, zoning and environmental protection policies are established at the local municipal level and vary somewhat among the eight local municipalities that make up Dufferin County (Table 10).
The most prominent environmental feature in Dufferin is the Niagara Escarpment, which cuts northward through the municipality and occupies much of its eastern half. The extensive woodlands within Escarpment Natural Areas have Level 2 protection (Figure 11). Several large provincially significant wetland complexes are situated in the central and northwestern parts of the County and part of Luther Marsh, an extensive wetland of high environmental significance, extends into the extreme western portion. These wetlands have Level 1 protection. Greenlands that lack any policy protection in Dufferin are Earth Science ANSIs, woodlands less than 30 ha in size, and unevaluated wetlands (Figure 11), which accounts for the fact that almost half of the Greenland areas within Dufferin have no (Level 4) policy protection.
Table 10: Levels of Greenlands Protection for the County of Dufferin
Figure 11: County of Dufferin