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Niagara River Remedial Action Plan Stage 2 Update Report

Niagara River Remedial Action Plan Stage 2 Update Report

Results show that

Results show that statistically significant reductions in the concentrations and loads for most of the eighteen priority toxics have occurred. In many cases the reductions have been greater than 50%. Also, it is estimated that actions by the NYSDEC and USEPA to remediate hazardous waste sites have resulted in a reduction of potential inputs to the River from hazardous waste sites by about 90 percent since 1989. 125 However, despite the successes to date, some chemicals are still at levels that exceed the most stringent agency water quality criteria in the River. Advisories to limit consumption of sport fish caught in the Niagara River continue because of contamination by toxic substances. 126 Staff at the Ministry of Natural Resources and Ministry of the Environment (MOE) collect the fish and send them to the MOE’s laboratory in Toronto where they are analysed for a variety of substances, including mercury, PCBs, mirex, DDT and dioxins. The advisories continue to be based on health protection guidelines provided by Health Canada. 127 The four parties hold periodic consultation with the public in the Niagara area to present progress reports and to outline new initiatives. 128 A progress report based on data collected over the fifteen-year period 1986/87 to 2000/01 was released in early September 2005. More recently, the Canadian and U.S. environmental agencies hosted a public meeting in October 2007 on Grand Island, New York. Progress made over the last twenty years through the NRTMP and the Lake Ontario Lakewide Management Plan was reported, including a hazardous waste site update (Niagara River), and the binational habitat conservation strategy for Lake Ontario. 129 The 2007 NRTMP Progress Report includes results from the Niagara River Upstream/Downstream Program and related biomonitoring programs. 130 The reporting schedule has been aligned with the public meeting schedule of once every three years. In the latest report, the Four Parties commit to the following challenges: }} reviewing the list of NRTMP 18 “Priority Toxics” and consider a broader list of chemicals for measuring progress; }} considering mechanism(s) for addressing upstream sources of chemicals which already exceed their strictest agency criteria in the water entering the river from Lake Erie; }} exploring the future relationships between the NRTMP and the Lake Ontario and Lake Erie Lakewide Management Plans (LaMPs) and the Niagara River Remedial Action Plans (RAPs) in order to maximize efficient use of agency resources; and, }} continuing and, where necessary, enhancing track down efforts to identify potential new sources of toxic chemicals. The NRTMP and the Niagara River RAP have developed concurrently, although the scope of the RAP is broader as it addresses the entire Niagara River ecosystem. The NRTMP is a source of technical data to the RAP. 125 International Joint Commission. June 2002. Niagara River Area of Concern Status Assessment 126 The New York Water Environmental Association, Inc. Fall 2000. CLEARWATERS. Vol.30, No.3. 127 Ontario Ministry of the Environment. Guide to Eating Ontario Sport Fish. 2005-2006 edition. 128 The Niagara River Remedial Action Plan. September 1993. Stage 1: Environmental Conditions and Problem Definitions. 129 Lake Ontario Lakewide Management Plan Update ’07. 130 Niagara River Toxics Management Plan. October 2007. Progress Report and Work Plan. 92

Niagara river remedial action plan stage 2 update Niagara River Mussel Biomonitoring Program: Part of Ontario’s commitment to the NRTMP is through routine and specialized biomonitoring of contaminants in the Niagara River using caged mussels (Elliptio complanata). The Niagara River mussel biomonitoring survey, conducted by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, has been ongoing since 1980. Information provided by this study is part of an overall program to assess long-term trends in contaminant loadings from selected U.S. and Canadian sources along the Niagara River. The data from 2003 were consistent with previous mussel monitoring surveys. 131 Evidence of significant reductions of toxics in the river and tributaries is supported by this program. 131 Ontario Ministry of the Environment. August 2006. Niagara River Mussel Biomonitoring Program 2003. 93

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