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Welcome to the Hamilton Harbour Remedial Action Plan

the

original

Photo: Spirit of Nature

uring the production of 1992

Remedial Action Plan, some members of the community

believed

that efforts to restore the Harbour would be futile. Scientific and technical research now provides evidence that contradicts that belief, and achieving delisting as an Area of Concern is considered possible and targeted for 2015.

“In less than 30 years, Hamilton Harbour has changed from an embarrassing eyesore into a place where people want to be. The ongoing restoration of the bay is a story of which all ... can be proud.” (The Hamilton Spectator, Nov. 30, 2002) 2

There is still so much to be done, but the end is within sight. Actions will include: • Upgrades to the wastewater treatment systems • Inclusion of the RAP into local planning and development • Addressing historical contaminated sediment deposits • New fish and wildlife habitat restoration projects • Increases to public shoreline access • Expansions to public education and involvement • Coordinating and evaluating the long term monitoring of actions and progress

The overall economic benefit of the RAP to the citizens of the Harbour watershed is expected to be substantial because of the many spin-off benefits to the economy and an improved image of the community.

2015 is not that far away. It is important that the Hamilton Harbour RAP stay in the foreground of activities around the watershed, so remedial measures paid for today are not to be undone in the future. The delisting of Hamilton Harbour as an Area of Concern is not the end. The care for Hamilton Harbour and its watershed is the continuing responsibility of this and future generations.

Our Stakeholders

Our Vision

Primary Principles

The strength and future of the Hamilton Harbour RAP is our stakeholder approach. Our stakeholders represent a diverse crosssection of interests and provide balance in reaching consensus-based decisions. Since 1986, representatives of the community have worked together to report on the condition of the Harbour and prepare an action plan for its recovery. The stakeholders today implement this recovery through our Bay Area Implementation Team and our Bay Area Restoration Council.

People living in the Harbour’s watershed have a vision of Hamilton Harbour as a vibrant centrepiece in their community’s life. They look towards a time when the environment will be balanced, friendly, accessible, clean and humming with diversity. They see the pleasure of recreation mixed with prosperity from use of the Harbour as an essential marine transportation link. They hope that what is a vision for them will be reality for generations to come.

• Ecosystem Approach • Zero Discharge of Persistent Toxic Substances • Sustainable Communities

Purpose of the Plan Photo: RAP Office

D

Hamilton Waterfront Trail

To bring about sustainable natural ecosystems in Hamilton Harbour and its entire watershed, and to improve the potential for more extensive recreational uses while maintaining the Harbour’s and the watershed’s essential economic function.

Harbour Waterfront showing: Industry, Residential, Commercial, Marina, and Parkland 3


Stage 2 Update

Area of Concern (AOC)

Stage 2 Update

The International Joint Commission (IJC) identified 43 Areas of Concern around the Great Lakes in 1987. These were geographic sites that failed to meet the objectives of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement of 1978, as amended in 1987. Hamilton Harbour was one of the 17 Canadian AOC sites identified.

In 1989, the Hamilton Harbour RAP Stakeholders submitted its Stage 1 Report to the IJC. A second edition of the Stage 1 Report was submitted to the IJC in 1992 along with the Remedial Action Plan Stage 2 Report. It is anticipated that the submission of a Stage 3 Report will not be forthcoming prior to 2015. With these timelines in mind, it was considered prudent to examine work completed on the RAP to date and endorse, modify or add to recommendations contained in the 1992 RAP Stage 2 Report. This updating process was begun in 1998 by recalling the RAP Stakeholder Group under the new name "RAP Forum". The RAP Forum completed the review and update using Task Groups comprised of scientists and Forum Stakeholders. The RAP Forum completed its work in 2002 and endorsed the Stage 2 Update 2002 Report. This is only meant to be a summary of that report, for the complete story and information please refer to the main report.

Each AOC was to develop and implement a Remedial Action Plan (RAP), divided into three stages: Stage 1: Environmental Conditions and Problem Definition This stage outlines the starting point for the Area of Concern. Stage 2: Goals, Options and Recommendations This stage defines the remedial actions to clean up the Area of Concern. Stage 3: Evaluation of Remedial Measures and Confirmation of Restoration of Uses This is the stage where the designation of an Area of Concern is removed when a set of environmental conditions are shown to be met. For Hamilton Harbour, this final “delisting” step is targeted to occur by 2015.

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Up to the Year 2000, $800 million was spent, mainly by local sources to begin the clean up of the Harbour. It is estimated that by 2015 that an additional $650 million will be needed, bringing the total to $1.4 billion. For more information on future costs, please refer to page 21 or the main Stage 2 Update report, Chapter VI. Relative progress is shown in the thermometers below. Significant enhancements have been made, particularly in the area of fish and wildlife restoration and public access. Water quality has improved with swimming returning to the Harbour. Actions by industries have resulted in substantial reductions in contaminant loadings into the Harbour. Notwithstanding progress, substantial work remains to reach the Harbour’s delisting objectives, please refer to page 22 or to the main Stage 2 Update Report, Chapter V.

Read on to discover the actions recommended for Hamilton Harbour and its watershed.

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Water Quality and Bacterial Contamination

The Hamilton Harbour RAP uses the term "water quality" to refer to clarity, oxygen, nutrient and bacteria levels. Toxic substances are addressed under another component. Initial problems (pre 1990) with water quality in Hamilton Harbour included: too much algae, no oxygen in bottom waters, turbidity, as well as high phosphorous and ammonia levels. While bacterial contamination is to be expected to some degree in an urban watershed, combined sewer overflows during wet weather events intensify the problem in Hamilton Harbour. A combined sewer system, as is found in the older parts of Hamilton, mixes sewage with storm water. 6

The wastewater treatment plants and combined sewer overflows account for 50% of the flow into the Harbour, with watershed runoff to the Harbour accounting for the other 50%. These flows mix with Lake Ontario water that is exchanged through the Burlington Ship Canal. Upgrades in the early 1990s to Hamilton's combined sewer system have already led to the opening of two beaches in the west end of the Harbour. After a series of improvements, Halton's Skyway Wastewater Treatment Plant now regularly meets initial RAP water quality goals. The continuing program to upgrade the wastewater system in both Hamilton and Halton is a major initiative of the RAP. It is also the most expensive, and will take the longest to complete. Woodward Wastewater Treatment Plant Photo: RAP Office

Photo: John Hall

Algae in Desjardins Canal, Dundas, 2002

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Urbanization and Land Management

Photo: Conservation Halton

Grindstone Creek Watershed

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Photo: Spirit of Nature

Niagara Escarpment, Dundas When the RAP process began in Hamilton, the focus was on the water in the Harbour. Based on the over-riding "ecosystem approach" of the RAP, the Stakeholders recognized the importance of the relationship of the Harbour to its watershed. Recommendations have been included to deal with the problems of: urban sprawl, filling of wetlands, clearing of woodlands, sediment loads, and non-point source pollution.

On private lands, the Hamilton-Halton Watershed Stewardship Program leads the way in reaching agreements to manage and rehabilitate properties adjacent to streams. Urbanization and land management issues on public lands and for local development are dealt with through official plans. Three of the local governments are undergoing reviews of their official plan, either due to amalgamation (Hamilton) or an ongoing 5-year review process (Burlington and Halton). 9


Photo: Environment Canada

Toxic Substances and Sediment Remediation

Photo: John Shaw

South Shore Industry - 1967

Clam Shell Dredger

Through steady actions to improve processes and detailed monitoring of outputs into the Harbour, industries now meet the provincially established Municipal-Industrial Strategy for Abatement (MISA) targets for effluent discharges. Industry representatives regularly participate in the RAP through the Bay Area Implementation Team (BAIT) and the Bay Area Restoration Council (BARC). Spills from any source are still a general concern as there is always the potential for them to contaminate the Harbour. 10

Efforts to clean up Randle Reef and other hot spots of sediment contamination continue as a priority. Sediment remediation is the second most costly initiative for this RAP.

Eastport Confined Disposal Cell Photo: John O’Connor

Toxic substances and sediment remediation are high profile components of the RAP. Looking at the photo above from the 1960s, the magnitude of the legacy buried in the Harbour sediments is unmistakeable.

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Fish and Wildlife

Trumpeter Swan, LaSalle Park

The RAP includes a plan to re-establish 372 ha of fish and wildlife habitat at nine sites around the Harbour. The goals: to create a self-sustaining warmwater fish community, rehabilitate the coldwater fish community, and create a self-sustaining resident and migratory wildlife population. Facing the permanent loss of 65% of historical habitat through shoreline changes and very unhealthy animal communities, this is an ambitious plan. If we build it will they come? By 2001 about 337 ha of habitat had been enhanced at six sites. Aquatic plants have begun to return providing food and shelter. The fish community as a whole is slowly responding, and in restored areas there are dramatic 12

Photo: Beverly Kingdon

Photo: Susan Hall

Cootes Paradise Restored Habitat

enhancements. With the construction of the Cootes Paradise Fishway, operated by the Royal Botanical Gardens, a greater number and diversity of plants, fish and waterfowl have been recorded in the Marsh. At the east end of the Harbour, some of the colonial nesting birds are doing so well, that management strategies will have to be explored. People have also come to visit the sites, sometimes in numbers that could potentially undo some of the progress that has been made. For the RAP to be successful, a balance will need to be struck between what nature needs to thrive and what people want to experience. 13


Public Access and Aesthetics

Pier 4 Park 14

West Harbour

Northeastern Shoreline Windsurf Launch

RAP Office

RAP Office

RAP Office

Photo: John O’Connor

The quality of the access opportunities are just as important to the RAP as the quantity. If the water is cloudy or smells, or if the shoreline looks littered or dirty, these too are areas in need of remediation. Volunteer plantings and cleanup days help to create a sense of ownership and pride.

Photo: Spirit of Nature

In 1990 less than 5% of the Harbour shoreline was accessible to the public. The 1992 RAP target was to increase that to 25%. By 2001, 21% of the shoreline was accessible. During the creation of the

Hamilton Port Authority in 2001, land was transferred to the City of Hamilton. As a result, the RAP Stakeholders were inspired by this progress and raised the target in the Update to 35%.

Photo: Spirit of Nature

If you clean up the Harbour, but no one is there to see it, will anybody notice? Public access and aesthetics are important if people are to get down to the Harbour to enjoy the restoration efforts and see that changes are possible. This inspires support for the work of the RAP.

West Harbour Waterfront Trail 15


Education and Public Information

Commitment to education and public information has been a strength of the Hamilton Harbour RAP since the beginning. Public support and involvement in the remediation of Hamilton Harbour are essential for its eventual delisting as an Area of Concern. Attitudes towards the Harbour and its restoration have gone from doubting and resignation to enthusiasm, planning, and action. Improvements in public access and aesthetics have attracted people to the Harbour exposing them to remediation efforts. This exposure creates educational opportunities helping empower people to make a difference by encouraging them to get involved. 16

The Bay Area Restoration Council (BARC) is a way for individuals to participate in the RAP. BARC offers tours of the Harbour in conjunction with the Hamilton Conservation Authority. They provide educational opportunities to schools through the Classroom Mini Marsh Program, in partnership with the Royal Botanical Gardens. The website launched by BARC and the RAP Office (www.hamiltonharbour.ca) is full of information about the Harbour and the Remedial Action Plan, including the "Bringing Back the Bay" newsletter. Private landowners can make a personal difference to Harbour restoration by agreeing to be stewards of their land through participation in the Hamilton-Halton Watershed Stewardship Program. Stewardship sign proudly displayed Photo: HHWSP

Photo: Royal Botanical Gardens

Visitors learning about the marsh

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Research and Monitoring

A strength of the Hamilton Harbour RAP is the significant research capability of the local community; this has meant that implementation actions stand on a firm scientific basis. The organizations involved include: the Federal Government (Environment Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada) housed at the Canada Centre for Inland Waters, the Provincial Government (Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources), university research (principally through McMaster University), as well as ongoing monitoring by the Royal Botanical Gardens, local Conservation Authorities, and Municipalities. Scientific research into emerging issues will continually help to direct future implementation actions. 18

A monitoring plan has been developed for the RAP, to document conditions and trends over time. The Bay Area Restoration Council also monitors RAP progress towards delisting in a "watchdog" capacity and produces the Toward Safe Harbours report.

Photo: Spirit of Nature

Photo: Environment Canada

Using a secchi disk to measure water clarity

Water sampling in Chedoke Creek

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Partnerships in Action for Success REMEDIAL ACTION PLAN (RAP) FORUM of STAKEHOLDERS Established 1986 - 1992 for Stage 1 and Stage 2 Reports Established 1998 - 2002 for Stage 2 Update 2002 Report (To be reconvened when deemed appropriate)

BAY AREA IMPLEMENTATION TEAM (BAIT)

BAY AREA RESTORATION COUNCIL (BARC)

The members of the BAIT develop local arrangements for implementation of the Hamilton Harbour RAP and coordinate the implementation of remedial actions for which commitments exist.

The Bay Area Restoration Council is a confederation of community stakeholders devoted to revitalizing Hamilton Harbour and its watershed.

Bay Area Restoration Council (BARC) City of Burlington City of Hamilton Conservation Halton (Cons. Halton) Dofasco Inc. Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) Environment Canada (EC) Hamilton Conservation Authority (Ham CA) Hamilton Harbour RAP Office Hamilton Port Authority (HPA) Hamilton Waterfront Trust (HWT) McMaster University Ontario Ministry of the Environment (OMOE) Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (OMNR) Regional Municipality of Halton (Halton) Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG) Stelco Hamilton

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As a not-for-profit community organization established in 1991, BARC strives to promote, monitor and assess the implementation of the Hamilton Harbour RAP. All the people living and working within the Hamilton Harbour watershed have a role to play in “Bringing Back the Bay”. Individuals and organizations can participate in Harbour restoration activities and issues by becoming members of BARC.

While the BAIT and the BARC are separate groups and maintain their independence between implementing remedial actions (BAIT) and promoting and monitoring RAP progress (BARC), they share the common goal of restoring Hamilton Harbour in order to achieve delisting as an Area of Concern. The Remedial Action Plan Forum of Stakeholders is established as required to prepare and/or update the Stage 1, 2, and 3 reports.

“Top 10” Implementation Action Expenses (2000 - 2015) Hamilton’s 3 Wastewater Treatment Plant upgrades . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$267 M Hamilton’s Combined Sewer Overflow containment/treatment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$211 M Halton’s Skyway Wastewater Treatment Plant upgrades . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$ 65 M Randle Reef sediment remediation project . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$ 31 M Hamilton’s Brampton and Rennie Street landfill remediations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$ 24 M Increase public access to 35% of shoreline . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$ 20 M Sediment remediation projects in the southeast Harbour . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$ 15 M Industrial stormwater management controls . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$ 11 M Water conservation actions (e.g. Hamilton’s water metering program) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$ 9 M Fish and Wildlife Projects (5 areas around the Harbour) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$ 9 M TOTAL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$662 M The upgrades required to the municipal wastewater treatment systems and associated projects represent over 80% of the total cost of the action plan. These represent improvements to existing infrastructure and the introduction of the very latest/most advanced treatment technologies. This is a significant undertaking for the local community and will require the involvement of the provincial and federal governments.

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Delisting Objectives

Hamilton Harbour Watershed Facts

The Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement sets out 14 beneficial use impairments used to identify all Areas of Concern. The Hamilton Harbour RAP Stakeholders developed delisting objectives specific to our AOC to deal with the beneficial use impairments applicable to the Harbour. Impairment ix has never been an issue as water intakes are located in Lake Ontario. Impairment ii is not known to be a problem, but will still be subject to further evaluation. Below is an abbreviated listing of our delisting objectives; please refer to the Stage 2 Update 2002 for greater detail.

Hamilton Harbour Watershed – 49,400 ha (500 km2) Shoreline around Hamilton Harbour – 42 km Hamilton Harbour – 2,150 ha Cootes Paradise Marsh – 250 ha Royal Botanical Gardens property – 1,100 ha

Population of Hamilton (2001) ~ 490,000 Population of Burlington (2001) ~ 160,000 Wastewater Treatment Plants - 4 Combined Sewer Overflows - 23 Conservation Areas within the Watershed (3,600 ha) - 21

i)

Restriction on fish and wildlife consumption No restrictions on eating fish attributable to local sources. ii) Tainting of fish and wildlife flavour Confirm no spoiling of fish flavour by survey results. iii) Degraded fish and wildlife populations Develop a healthy and self-sustaining warmwater fish community, rehabilitate the coldwater fish community, and create a selfsustaining resident and migratory wildlife population. iv) Fish tumours or other deformities No greater rate of tumours or deformities in fish when compared to control (i.e. clean) sites. v) Bird or animal deformities or reproductive problems No greater rate of problems in birds or animals when compared to control (i.e. clean) populations. vi) Degradation of benthos No significant difference in Harbour benthic (bottom) animals when compared to control sites. vii) Restrictions on dredging activities No restrictions on disposal activities associated with navigational dredging. viii) Eutrophication or undesirable algae Sustain improved water quality conditions in Hamilton Harbour, Cootes Paradise Marsh, and the Grindstone Creek Estuary through reduction in loadings by meeting the RAP goals of phosphorus, ammonia and suspended solids.

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ix)

Restrictions on drinking water consumption or taste and odour problems Harbour outflow to Lake Ontario does not impact water quality at the Hamilton or Halton water intakes. (This objective has been met) x) Beach closings (Water contact sports) No restrictions on beach openings and water contact sports in western and northern parts of Hamilton Harbour due to water quality conditions. xi) Degradation of aesthetics No persistent occurrences of substances that affect the appearance or smell of the water. xii) Added cost to agriculture or industry No significant additional costs to treat water prior to use for industrial purposes. xiii) Degradation of phytoplankton and zooplankton populations No significant change in the Harbour’s microscopic plants and animals when compared to control sites. xiv) Loss of fish and wildlife habitat Develop and maintain habitat set out in the RAP goals to achieve desired fish and wildlife populations.

Map: Conservation Halton

Beneficial Use Impairments and Hamilton Harbour Delisting Objectives

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Spirit of Nature

Website: www.hamiltonharbour.ca or www.burlingtonbay.ca

Hamilton Harbour RAP Coordinator

Please refer to the following documents: • Hamilton Harbour RAP Stakeholders. 2003. Remedial Action Plan for Hamilton Harbour. Stage 2 Update 2002. • Hamilton Harbour RAP. September 1998. Remedial Action Plan for Hamilton Harbour. 1998 Status Report. Third Printing, March 1999 • Hamilton Harbour RAP. November 1992. Remedial Action Plan for Hamilton Harbour. Goals, Options and Recommendations. RAP Stage 2, Volume 2 – Main Report • Hamilton Harbour RAP. October 1992. Remedial Action Plan for Hamilton Harbour. Environmental Conditions and Problem Definition. Second Edition of the Stage 1 Report This publication was prepared by the Hamilton Harbour RAP Office.

June 2003

ISBN 0-9733779-1-7

Canada Centre for Inland Waters 867 Lakeshore Road Box 5050 Burlington, Ontario L7R 4A6 Tel: (905) 336-6279 Fax: (905) 336-4906 Email: RAPOffice@ec.gc.ca

Bay Area Restoration Council Life Sciences Building, Room B130F C/O McMaster University 1280 Main Street, West Hamilton, Ontario L8S 4K1 Tel: (905) 527-7111 Fax: (905) 522-6066 (address to "BARC") E-mail: barc@hamiltonharbour.ca

Hamiltonharbourrapstagetwoupdatesummary,2002  

http://www.hamiltonharbour.ca//resources/documents/HamiltonHarbourRAPStageTwoUpdateSummary,2002.pdf

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