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Niagara River Remedial Action Plan Stage 2 Update Report

Niagara River Remedial Action Plan Stage 2 Update Report

3) Degradation of fish &

3) Degradation of fish & wildlife populations Typically broken into four sections when assessed: }} Degradation of fish populations }} Body burdens of fish }} Degradation of wildlife populations }} Body burdens of wildlife Impaired Impaired }} Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) scores of fair to good (using a suitable IBI developed for Great Lakes tributaries and littoral zones) and/ or individual IBI metric values are similar to suitable non-AOC Great Lakes reference sites, for fish communities in each section of the Ontario portion of the AOC. }} Regular fisheries assessments show, over a period of five years: }} For top predators, a population structure with a range of size and age categories, demonstrating continued recruitment, over 5 years of annual sampling. • For top predators, a condition index not significantly different from Great Lakes non- AOC reference sites. • For forage species, species richness is comparable to suitable non-AOC Great Lakes reference sites with a predominance of native species }} Whole body burden concentrations of PCBs and dioxin-like PCBs in benthic fish species should notexceed suitable thresholds for the protection of aquatic life, or should not be significantly different from suitable non-AOC reference sites. }} Maintenance of marsh bird and amphibian populations and diversity at or above Great Lakes non-AOC averages as determined by the Marsh Monitoring Program of Bird Studies Canada in wetlands within the Ontario portion of the AOC. }} Maintain no net loss of populations of Blackcrowned Night-Herons and Herring and Ring-billed Gulls at colonies on the Canadian side of the Niagara River }} Temporal trends in contaminant levels in Herring Gull, night-heron, and snapping turtle eggs, as well as in the livers of mink are stable or declining. Spatial comparisons show that contaminant concentrations in eggs of the above species in areas under the influence of the Niagara River (Ontario) AOC are equal to or less than those from sites removed from any influence of the AOC. 3. Maintenance of fish community populations, on the Canadian side of the Niagara River, at or above suitable non-AOC reference sites OR meets fish community objective(s) identified through a fisheries management plan by Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. 4. Maintenance of wetland-dwelling wildlife populations and diversity at or above suitable non-AOC reference sites (as determined by indicators such as Indices of Biotic Integrity and/or community status assessments derived from Bird Studies Canada’s Marsh Monitoring Program). 5. Maintenance of colonial nesting birds populations on the Canadian side of the Niagara River at or above suitable non-AOC reference sites, examined through the use of sentinel species (i.e., Black-crowned Night-Herons, Herring and/or Ring-billed Gulls). 6. Temporal trends in contaminant levels (PCBs and dioxin-like PCBs), examined through the use of sentinel species, (i.e., Herring Gull, night-heron, snapping turtle eggs, and/or livers of mink), are stable or declining. Spatial comparisons show that contaminant concentrations in the eggs of the above species in areas under the influence of the Niagara River (Ontario) AOC are equal to or less than those from sites removed from any influence of the AOC. If the whole body burden concentrations do exceed this level then they must not result in a population level affect to the bird and/or wildlife populations. 7. OR if a contaminated site (as designated by the Niagara River Contaminated Sediment Technical Advisory Group*) fails to meet the criteria described above in regard to fish and wildlife body burdens, then a risk based Contaminated Sediment Management Strategy must be in place with appropriate monitoring and mitigation measures and/or administrative controls. 138

Niagara river remedial action plan stage 2 update 4) Fish Tumours and Other Deformities 5) Bird or Animal Deformities or Reproductive Problems 6) Degradation of Benthos Typically broken into two sections when assessed: }} Dynamics of benthic populations }} Body burdens of benthic populations RFA RFA None (Note: A delisting criteria will be developed if this BUI is shown to be Impaired) RFA Impaired None 8. When the types and frequency of deformities and/or reproduction impairments associated with contaminant exposure (PCBs and dioxin-like PCBs) is similar to in a suitable non-AOC reference site or sites, examined through the use of sentinel species (i.e., snapping turtles, herring gulls). If the types and frequency of deformities and/or reproductive impairments do exceed this target then they must not result in a population level affect to the bird and/or animal populations. Impaired Impaired }} Benthic community structure, diversity, and abundance are comparable for sites with similar habitat (sediment, grain size, water velocity) in the AOC in comparison to suitable reference sites. }} For sites with contaminants above the Provincial Sediment Quality Guidelines Severe Effect Level (SEL) only - when acute and/or chronic effects on benthos attributable to trace metals or organics are no greater than at suitable reference sites. }} When benthic invertebrate tissue contaminant concentrations are comparable in the AOC to those at suitable reference sites, for the contaminants of concern (contaminants that biomagnify in the aquatic food chain), or in cases where benthic invertebrate tissue contaminant concentrations are greater than reference sites but are below concentrations considered to impair the beneficial uses associated with the consumption of fish and wildlife. }} When Sediment Management Strategies for required sites, as designated by the Niagara River Contaminated Sediment Technical Advisory Group*, have been developed and implemented, and meet the standards described above. 9. When acute and chronic toxicity, community composition and abundance in the benthic community are similar to non-AOC reference sites. 10. When benthic invertebrate tissue contaminant (PCBs and dioxin-like PCBs) concentrations are comparable in the AOC to those at a suitable non-AOC reference sites for contaminants that biomagnifies in the aquatic food chain and/or in cases where benthic invertebrate tissue contaminant concentrations are greater than reference sites but are below concentrations considered to impair the beneficial uses associated with the consumption of fish and wildlife. 11. OR if a contaminated site (as designated by the Niagara River Contaminated Sediment Technical Advisory Group*) fails to meet the criteria described above in regard to degradation of benthos, then a Contaminated Sediment Management Strategy must be in place including a risk management approach with appropriate monitoring and mitigation measures and/or administrative controls. 139

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