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Niagara River Remedial Action Plan Stage 2 Update Report

Niagara River Remedial Action Plan Stage 2 Update Report

Appendix 6: Influences

Appendix 6: Influences on the Niagara River RAP Since the Niagara River RAP Stage 2 report was produced in 1995, a number of events have taken place and legislation has been introduced that have an influence on the RAP and the Area of Concern. Below is the date of introduction along with a brief description of these developments in chronological order. 1996: Important Bird Area designation The Niagara River corridor was the first globally significant Important Bird Area (IBA) to be jointly identified by cooperating organizations in Canada and the United States. It was formally dedicated in December 1996. The Niagara River annually supports one of the largest and most diverse concentrations of gulls in the world. Nature Canada and Bird Studies Canada are, together, the BirdLife partners for Canada. A conservation plan for the Niagara River Corridor IBA was prepared by the IBA Working Group in Fall 2002 132. The plan outlines the conservation goals and objectives under the main areas of research, infrastructure, conservation and education/outreach. The responsible agency or group for actions needed to attain the goals is also listed, along with a summary of progress to date. The report is available at For IBA site summary, see 1997: The Great Lakes Binational Toxics Strategy Signed in 1997, the Great Lakes Binational Toxics Strategy (GLBTS) is an agreement between Canada and the United States to virtually eliminate persistent toxic substances from the Great Lakes environment 133 . The Strategy establishes reduction challenges for an initial list of persistent toxic substances targeted for virtual elimination: aldrin/dieldrin, benzo(a)pyrene, chlordane, DDT, hexachlorobenzene, alkyl-lead, mercury and compounds, mirex, octachlorostyrene, PCBs, dioxins and furans, and toxaphene. These substances have been associated with widespread, long-term adverse effects on wildlife in the Great Lakes, and, through their bioaccumulation, are of concern for human health 134 . The 2005 Annual Progress report presents a comprehensive summary of activities and accomplishments from 1997 through to 2005. 135 For further information, see 1999: The Welland River Watershed Strategy The goal of the Welland River Watershed Strategy is “To restore the ecological health of the Welland River and its watershed”. 136 A 10-year Watershed Action Plan was developed to provide strategic direction and ensure that the solutions would be implemented. The Welland River watershed 132 Niagara River Corridor IBA Working Group. Fall 2002. IBA Conservation Plan for the Niagara River Corridor IBA. 133 Great Lakes Binational Toxics Strategy 2004. 134 135 Great Lakes Binational Toxics Strategy 2005 Annual Progress Report. 136 Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority. November 1999. Welland River Watershed Strategy. 94

Niagara river remedial action plan stage 2 update encompasses 81% of the Niagara River AOC. The watershed is plagued by many separate, yet interrelated problems so, in order to solve the problems in the Niagara River, it is imperative to address the issues facing the health of the Welland River watershed. These physical and cultural constraints on the system and the related issues are in the following areas: }} Man-made Physical Barriers on the System }} Water Level Fluctuations in the Welland River }} Rural Land Management and Drainage Practices }} Urban Land Management and Drainage Practices }} Recreational Land Management and Drainage Practices In November 2000, after assuming the role of RAP Coordinator, the NPCA produced Niagara River RAP Implementation Annex (see below). Due to the similarities between the goal of the Welland River Watershed Strategy and the Mission Statement for the Niagara River RAP, the implementation activities were integrated into the Action Plan laid out in the Annex. 1999: Welland River Water Level Fluctuation Study The operating practices of Ontario Power Generation (OPG) within regulated limits at Grassy Island Pool in the Niagara River cause a water level fluctuation problem in the Welland River, the impact of which extends 60 km upstream to the Port Davidson Weir. The twice-daily vertical fluctuation of 30cm to 45cm has impacted on the river’s ability to transport its sediment to an appropriate outlet or to maintain floodplain wetlands for fish habitat and erosion control purposes. The current situation creates a dilemma in that the river cannot drain effectively 137 . Sediment that is deposited at a delta in other river systems is continually suspended within the Welland River. A Technical Liaison Committee (comprised of MNR, MOE, City of Welland, DFO, Environment Canada, OPG and NPCA) was formed in 1999 to oversee an assessment of methods to alleviate the water level fluctuation situation in the Welland River while at the same time not adversely impacting the daily operations of OPG. Currently, OPG’s Beck 3 project will involve construction of one tunnel (instead of two). An assessment of the impacts from the tunnel on water level fluctuations is underway and the outcome of that assessment will determine how the project relates to meeting the EA conditions of the hydroelectric power project. It is estimated that construction of the tunnel will not be completed before 2009. 138 137 Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority. November 1999. Welland River Watershed Strategy. 138 Review of Delisting Criteria and Possible Impairments – Public Advisory Committee Meeting Minutes. November 22, 2004. 95

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