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Canadian Areas of Concern Current Status

Presentation to:

Bay Area Restoration Council November 16, 2009 by Jon Gee Environment Canada


Outline 

COA Goal 1 AOCs – Outlook for Delisting

COA Goal 2 AOCs – Status of Progress

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History of Cooperation on the Great Lakes Boundary Waters Treaty (1909) International Joint Commission (IJC)

Canada – U.S.

Canada

Canada-Ontario

Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement

Federal Great Lakes Program

Canada-Ontario Agreement

Great Lakes Management between Canada-U.S.

Great Lakes Management in Canada

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The Canada-Ontario Agreement 

COA is a work-sharing Agreement that outlines how Canada and Ontario will cooperate and coordinate their efforts to improve environmental quality of the Great Lakes ecosystem

First signed in 1971 to implement Canada’s obligations under the Canada – U.S. Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement

Signatories: 8 Federal Departments/agencies and 3 Provincial Ministers Key mechanism to collaborate with implementation partners

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The 2007 to 2010 COA COA FRAMEWORK

AREAS OF CONCERN (Annex 1)

HARMFUL POLLUTANTS (Annex 2)

LAKE AND BASIN SUSTAINABILITY (Annex 3)

Complete priority actions for delisting in 4 AOCs, and make significant progress in others

Toward virtually eliminating persistent toxics and other harmful pollutants

Responding to significant challenges facing the long-term prosperity of the Great Lakes Basin ecosystem

• pollutants (area-specific) • habitat • contaminated sediment • partnerships • monitoring, science and research

• pollutants, including air (basin-wide)

• encourage sustainability

• municipal wastewater

• water quality (lake specific)

• sound management of chemicals program

• biodiversity • aquatic invasive species

• human health

• climate change impacts

• enhance knowledge

• drinking water source protection

COORDINATION OF MONITORING, RESEARCH AND INFORMATION (Annex 4) Coordinated scientific monitoring and research, and information management for tracking and reporting on environmental change

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Integrated Federal-Provincial COA Workplan 

Integrates and clearly describes projects/activities and deliverables for each contributing agency

Facilitates project linkages and helps identify where work gaps exist

Provides for efficient tracking and reporting on progress towards COA Goals, Results and Commitments

The COA Workplan contains a total of 850 projects/actions 

301 projects/actions Annex 1 (40+ in H.H. AOC)

126 projects/actions Annex 2

392 projects/actions Annex 3

31 projects/actions Annex 4 6


Overview COA Annex 1 Goals 1.

2.

Stormwater Control

Complete priority actions for delisting in 4 AOCs: Nipigon Bay, Jackfish Bay, Wheatley Harbour, St. Lawrence River (Cornwall) Make significant progress towards Remedial Action Plan (RAP) implementation, environmental recovery and restoration of beneficial uses in the remaining 11 AOCs.

Rural Non-point Pollution

Upgrading of Wastewater Infrastructure

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Goal 1 Areas of Concern Outlook for Delisting COA commitment to complete priority actions for delisting in four AOCs:  Nipigon Bay  Jackfish Bay  St. Lawrence River (Cornwall)  Wheatley Harbour

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Nipigon Bay Status: On track to complete actions  Reasons for AOC Designations  Degradation of benthos  Degradation of aesthetics  Loss of fish habitat  Status of BUIs  Success of fish habitat initiatives are being assessed  Water management plan has been completed and implemented  Degradation of benthos is related to municipal and industrial discharges (Domtar Red Rock Mill closed in 2006) assessment is ongoing 10


Nipigon Bay Next Steps 

Funding available for upgrading the Nipigon ($6.9M) and Red Rock ($9M) STPs from primary to secondary treatment 

Complete BUI Assessment  

 

Complete upgrading of STPs: Nipigon late summer 2010; Red Rock ~2011 2009 Benthic Assessment 2009 Walleye Spawning

2010 – 11 Prepare Stage 3 Report 2011 -12 Delist Nipigon

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Jackfish Bay Status: On track (for re-designating as an Area In Recovery, pending community acceptance of status report) 

Reasons for AOC Designation :    

Impairment of fish communities and habitat Impairment of wildlife communities Degraded aesthetics Sediment quality and benthic community impairment

Natural recovery - ecosystem is allowed to recover on its own, was selected as the preferred strategy 

Decision recognizes:  

The ongoing discharge from the Terrace Bay Pulp Inc. Achievement of higher standards of effluent quality in the AOC between 1987 and 1997 (secondary, non-acutely lethal effluent) Mill discharge complies with federal/provincial regulations for pulp and paper industrial sector (i.e. control on AOx, non-lethal discharge, secondary treatment)

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Jackfish Bay Next Steps 

Continue with RAP recommendation of Natural Recovery  Recognize environmental recovery within Jackfish Bay will be slow 

Full recovery of Blackbird Creek will not be realized as long as it receives mill effluent

Further remedial actions for the RAP are not feasible or recommended.

EC/MOE supporting Lakehead U. to develop Area in Recovery status report for Fall 2009.

EcoSuperior coordinating community engagement

Area in Recovery Monitoring Plan in development.

Area in Recover report to IJC this winter 13


St. Lawrence River (Cornwall) Status: On track for de-listing or AIR by March 2010 

Reasons for AOC Designation:       

Restrictions on fish consumption Degradation of fish and wildlife populations Degradation of benthos Restrictions on dredging activities Eutrophication or undesirable algae Beach closings Loss of fish and wildlife habitat

Status of BUIs 

Unimpaired:       

Uncertain:   

Degradation of wildlife populations Degradation of benthos Restrictions on dredging Loss of fish habitat Tainting of fish/wildlife flavour Drinking water taste/odour Beach closings Fish populations (improving) Fish Tumours (improving) Eutrophication (unimpaired)

Main issues:  

Fish Consumption Restrictions Loss of Wildlife Habitat

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St. Lawrence River (Cornwall) Next Steps 

Funding ($37M) for upgrade of the City’s primary plant to secondary treatment (will not be completed by March 2010)

Local citizen representatives support de-listing

Analysis of “uncertain” BUIs on-going

Status of eutrophication BUI to be confirmed by SLRRC

Stage 3 Report to be drafted over the summer

Final draft Stage 3:  

Late fall/early winter 2009 – SLRRC and Public review Late winter 2009-10 COA Agencies review

Late winter/early spring 2010 to IJC review and comment

De-listing event to be held late spring early summer

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Wheatley Harbour AOC Status: On track for removing from the list of AOCs before March 2010 

Reasons for AOC Designation:     

Restriction on fish consumption Restriction on dredging activities Eutrophication or undesirable algae Loss of fish and wildlife habitat Degradation of fish and wildlife populations

The five BUIs resulted from the following environmental concerns: 

PCB contaminated sediments

Loss of habitat

High phosphorus concentrations 16


Status of BUIs 

Status of BUIs: Science is indicating the five impairments have been restored: 

Fish consumption: restrictions same as L. Erie central basin.

Dredging: Annual dredging unrestricted.

Eutrophication: Local TP sources controlled, concentrations lower/same as areas out side AOC

Habitat: Natural cover targets in AOC surpassed

Fish & Wildlife Populations: Healthy 17


Goal 2 Areas of Concern Status of Progress COA Commitment: Make significant progress toward RAP implementation.

Lake Ontario – Niagara River – Hamilton Harbour – Toronto and Region – Port Hope* – Bay of Quinte

Lake Erie – Detroit River – St. Clair River

Northern – Spanish Harbour (Lake Huron) – St. Marys River – Peninsula Harbour – Thunder Bay 18


Niagara River 

Issues:  Toxic contaminants (US sources & PCBs Lyons Creek)  Habitat degradation  CSO/Sewage/Non-point sources into Welland R.

Accomplishments:  Lyons Creek East Sediment Management Strategy  Habitat strategy/significant habitat projects close to completion  CSO control projects (Niagara Falls)

Outlook:  Stage 2 Update Report with revised delisting criteria and workplan; Spring 2010  Sediment strategy being developed for Lyons Creek West (DoT – FCSAP)  Complete RAP Implementation Actions by 2015  Infrastructure funding needed for Welland CSO/STP  Monitoring & Research to track BUI status a priority 19


Hamilton Harbour 

Issues:   

Accomplishments: 

  

Contaminated sediments (Randle Reef – PAHs and metals) STP/CSO discharges Fish and wildlife habitat

Stormwater and Wastewater Master Plans and several CSO tanks completed Randle Reef EA on-going Wetland restoration and an increase in native fish & wildlife Fisheries Management Plan

Outlook: 

 

Randle Reef – multi-part agreement on remediation project is the main challenge $700M funding needed for Hamilton CSO and WWTP Upgrade Delisting by 2015 - 2020

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Toronto and Region 

Issues:  

Stormwater & CSOs/Beaches Habitat loss

Accomplishments: Wet Weather Flow Master Plan (WWFMP); Several EA’s underway/completed  Beach Management Strategy in place  Toronto Waterfront Aquatic Habitat Restoration Strategy (TWAHRS)  Watershed Plans & Terrestrial Natural Heritage Strategy 

Outlook:  

$1B over 25 yrs required for WWFMP Delisting by 2020 to be proposed 21


Port Hope* 

Issues:  Radioactive sediments

Accomplishments:  Port Hope Area initiative led by Natural Resources Canada to clean up and manage Port Hope Harbour and historic radioactive waste sites  Vision 2010 initiative by Cameco Corp. to remove and store radioactive soil and waste

Outlook:  License from the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission for the possession, management and storage of nuclear substances granted in 2009  Site remediation to be initiated in 2009  Continued maintenance and monitoring * Natural Resources Canada lead 

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Bay of Quinte 

Issues:  Eutrophication - sewage treatment plants and non-point nutrient sources  Bacterial contamination  Fish population and habitat destruction  Sediment contamination – dioxins & furans

Accomplishments:   

Pollution Prevention & Control Plans Fisheries Mgmt Plan, Habitat strategy Sediment Management Strategy

Outlook:   

Develop and implement Phosphorous Management Strategy Complete RAP Implementation Actions by 2011 Monitoring & Research to track BUI status 23


Detroit River 

Issues:  

Accomplishments:     

Habitat degradation Toxic contaminants (point & non-point source, combined sewer overflows) STP/CSO infrastructure upgrades – completed/funding in place PCB-contaminated sediment cleanup (Turkey Creek/Grand Marais Drain ) Priority habitat restoration strategy/projects Web based info management Draft Stage 2 out for public review

Outlook: Stage 2 document with revised delisting criteria – Spring 2010  Complete RAP Implementation of actions by 2015  Monitoring & Research to track BUI status 

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St. Clair River 

Issues:  Habitat degradation; toxic contaminants; Point source & nonpoint source, combined sewer overflow  Sediments (Hg)

Accomplishments:  STP/CSO infrastructure upgrades underway  Significant reduction in chemical spills  Dow Zone 1 contaminated sediment cleanup  Priority habitat restoration strategy/projects  St. Clair R. AOC updated (2007)

Outlook:  Zone 2&3, Contaminated Sediment Assessment underway  Complete RAP Implementation Actions by 2015  Monitoring & Research to track BUI status 25


Spanish Harbour 

Issues:  

Accomplishments:  

Pulp mill and mining Metals (upstream sources) and dioxins (legacy source) in sediment over large area, but no “hot spots”

All actions completed 1999 – AOC has been in recovery Muskie re-introductions are on-going

Outlook:    

Monitoring plan to assess BUIs Refine delisting criteria Determine expected recovery timeframe for contaminated sediment Enhance public engagement, including making monitoring results more accessible

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St. Marys River 

Issues:     

Accomplishments:    

Effluents from Steel mill and Paper mill Sediment contaminated with PAHs, petroleum hydrocarbons, oil, grease, metals Hg and PCBs in fish STPs, CSOs and dispute over transboundary bacteria contamination (Sugar Island) Habitat – wetlands

Steel mill has an EMA and effluents meet regs. Algoma slip sediment clean up STP/CSO upgrades (2006) Wetland protection strategies

Outlook:     

Assess current state of impaired BUIs Determine if sediment management plan is required Progress on stormwater mgmt. and habitat rehabilitation Sugar Island monitoring concludes nothing out of the norm, but stormwater could need attention Make monitoring results more accessible to local stakeholders

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Peninsula Harbour 

Issues:  Pulp mill and water pollution control plant  Contaminated sediment (Hg & PCBs)

Accomplishments:  Upgrades to pulp mill and water pollution control plant improved water quality and aesthetics (however, mill closed in March 2009)  Identified preferred sediment management option – thin layer capping

Outlook:  Re-established Public Advisory Committee  Commence detailed design and EA this summer  Sediment management project implementation anticipated in 2010  Assess benthic community and fish habitat conditions outside sediment remediation area 28


Thunder Bay 

Issues: Pulp & paper, wood preserving Contaminated sediments (Hg & wood fibre)  Loss of fish & wildlife habitat  

Accomplishments: Secondary treatment at mills & STP have improved water quality  NOWPARC sediment project  Habitat rehabilitation complete 

Outlook: Implement sediment management strategy once options have been studied (summer ’09)  Assess current state of remaining impaired BUIs and develop a monitoring plan  Make monitoring results more accessible to local stakeholders 

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