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Niagara River Remedial Action Plan Stage 2 Update Report

Niagara River Remedial Action Plan Stage 2 Update Report

Rationale for the

Rationale for the Recommended Revised New Delisting Criteria for the Niagara River (Ontario) Area of Concern 1) Beneficial Use Impairment (BUI): Restrictions on Fish and Wildlife Consumption STAGE 2 STATUS – Impaired Coordinating Committee’s Review: The wording of the suggested delisting criteria did not specify that the Niagara River RAP is focused on sport fish restrictions due to local sources. Thus, a wording change was recommended to bring the delisting criteria in line with the intention of RAPs, focusing on local issues rather than regional issues. Contaminants contributing to sport fish consumption restrictions inland locations in the RAP may be from regional atmospheric deposition, and in the Niagara River, from upstream sources and/or the Niagara River (New York) AOC. Evaluation of this BUI in the Niagara River (Ontario) RAP may require a qualitative comparison with reference site(s) to evaluate what restrictions are due to local sources, and hence, the redesignation status of this BUI. A delisting criterion was added for the consumption of wildlife and one was added relating to the complexity that is present at sites where they are being managed by the Contaminated Sediment Technical Advisory Group. This delisting criterion should reflect the decision to implement Monitored Natural Recovery, the sediment management strategy for Lyons Creek East recommended by the Niagara River Contaminated Sediment Technical Advisory Group, and agreed to by the Niagara River RAP Committee and the public through the Lyons Creek East Community Liaison Committee. 2) BUI: Tainting of Fish and Wildlife Flavour STAGE 2 STATUS – Not Impaired 3) BUI: Degradation of Fish and Wildlife Populations STAGE 2 STATUS – Impaired Coordinating Committee’s Review: As found in the Stage 1 RAP report, the original scope of this BUI concern was caused by the reduction in fish populations for sturgeon, emerald shiners and northern pike. However, the Delisting Criteria should remain flexible enough to incorporate any sentinel species which may assist in the assessment of this BUI. These criteria should also acknowledge that, whether these impacts are due to body burdens or other locally attributable factors, it is important that the impacts to fish population must be shown at a population level rather than a individual level. Regarding the wildlife population component of this BUI, the Stage 1 listed the concern as being: }} Population differences between Navy Island and the mainland deer; } } Suspected declining levels of colonial nesting birds along the lower Niagara River AOC due to contaminants }} Suspected population impacts from loss of habitat (i.e., wetlands, riparian, etc). The recommended delisting criteria have been expanded to address wildlife population impacts beyond just Navy Island deer population due to the suspected impacts from loss of habitat. It is important that the impacts to wildlife population must be shown at a population level rather then an individual level. 142

Niagara river remedial action plan stage 2 update Finally, the delisting criteria should also reflect the decision to implement Monitored Natural Recovery, the sediment management strategy for Lyons Creek East recommended by the Niagara River Contaminated Sediment Technical Advisory Group, and agreed to by the Niagara River RAP Committee and the public through the Lyons Creek East Community Liaison Committee. 4) BUI: Fish Tumours or other deformities STAGE 2 STATUS – Requires Further Assessment Coordinating Committee’s Review: This BUI has never been listed as Impaired. The original scope of the concern for this Beneficial Use Impairment in the Stage 1 listed evidence of elevated frequency of tumours and gonadal neoplasms in wild carp-goldfish hybrids but the link to the environmental condition has never been determined. The need for delisting criteria/target will be determined if the tumour incident rate from fish collected from the Niagara AOC (e.g., a sentinel species) is found to be higher than that from a Non-AOC reference site. 5) BUI: Bird or Other Animal Deformities or Reproductive Problems STAGE 2 STATUS - Impaired Coordinating Committee’s Review: In the Stage 2 RAP report, this BUI was considered to be impaired in relation to bird and animal deformities. Based on the review completed in the 2007 Technical Review working document and the 2008 results from the Environmental Risk Assessment for Lyons Creek East contaminated site assessment, the Science Committee decided that delisting criteria were needed for this BUI. Through the review of the 2007 Technical Review working document it was found that only 2 of the 4 key factors listed in the decision matrix should be included as delisting criteria. The other two factors that were examined in the report should be assessed through the Degradation of Fish and Wildlife Populations BUI. These two factors are: }} Contaminant body burdens in excess of reference sites/levels } } Individuals with deformities show health effects? Shift in population characteristics? This change will prevent unnecessary duplication of similar delisting criteria in multiple BUIs. 6) BUI: Degradation of Benthos STAGE 2 STATUS – Impaired Coordinating Committee’s Review: In the Stage 1 and Stage 2 RAP reports it was found that this BUI was considered to be impaired in relation to the 14 identified contaminated sites. A current review of the delisting criteria for benthic invertebrate populations in other AOCs has resulted in a standardized wording related to the composition and abundance of benthic invertebrates. Use of this standardized wording is recommended for the Niagara River AOC. The delisting criteria should also reflect the decision to implement Monitored Natural Recovery, the sediment management strategy for Lyons Creek East recommended by the Niagara River Contaminated Sediment Technical Advisory Group, and agreed to by the Niagara River RAP Committee and the public through the Lyons Creek East Community Liaison Committee. 143

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