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Niagara River Remedial Action Plan Stage 2 Update Report

Niagara River Remedial Action Plan Stage 2 Update Report

7) Beneficial Use

7) Beneficial Use Impairment: Restrictions on dredging activities STAGE 2 STATUS - Impaired Coordinating Committee’s Review: This impairment is socioeconomic in nature, relating to the additional cost which would have been transferred to proponents of navigational dredging projects in cases where open water disposal of dredged sediments would have been denied based on contaminant concentrations. Open water disposal of dredgeate is no longer allowed in Ontario. Furthermore, in the Ontario watershed of the Niagara River (not including the Welland Canal, which is not considered part of the AOC), there are no sites where navigational dredging is required. On May 4, 1998, the COA RAP Steering Committee agreed that several AOCs, including the Niagara River AOC, should have the BUI redesignated as “not impaired” since navigational dredging was not an issue (COA RAP Steering Committee, 1998). This decision was supported by a team of technical experts from MOE and Environment Canada, and by RAP participants in the affected AOCs. They concluded that environmental effects associated with contaminated sediments would be considered through the impairments: }} Degradation of benthos } } } Restrictions on fish and wildlife consumption } Fish tumours and other deformities References Canada-Ontario Agreement (COA) RAP Steering Committee. 1998. Unpublished meeting record regarding the BUI “Restrictions on Dredging”. May, 1998. Environment Canada and Ontario Ministry of the Environment. 8) Beneficial Use Impairment: Eutrophication or Undesirable Algae STAGE 2 STATUS - Impaired Coordinating Committee’s Review: As found in the Stage 1 RAP report, the original concern for this BUI was identified as high nutrient levels in the slower moving portions of the Welland River watershed. These high nutrient levels have created areas of abundant macrophyte and algal growth. No delisting criteria were proposed for this BUI by the Technical Team as they felt it required additional analysis. This analysis is currently underway through the Welland River Eutrophication Study and this study will propose a set of delisting criteria in 2010 – this review only examines the Welland River as eutrophication is not a concern in the Niagara River. 9) Beneficial Use Impairment: Restrictions on Drinking Water Consumption or Taste and Odour Problems STAGE 2 STATUS – Not Impaired 10) Beneficial Use Impairment: Beach Closings STAGE 2 STATUS - Impaired 144

Niagara river remedial action plan stage 2 update Coordinating Committee’s Review: The recommended delisting criteria follow the methodology as outlined in the Beach Blue Flag monitoring program. It was felt that the suggested delisting criteria relating to wet-weather flows should be removed as it related to an implementation action rather than a BUI. The recommended criterion may be achieved through a variety of actions of which the reduction of wet-weather flows is only one of. The recommended delisting criteria both in this BUI and in the Eutrophication and/or Undesirable Algae BUI will assess the success of such an action. 11) Beneficial Use Impairment: Degradation of Aesthetics STAGE 2 STATUS – Not Impaired 12) Beneficial Use Impairment: Added Costs to Agriculture or Industry STAGE 2 STATUS – Not Impaired 13) Beneficial Use Impairment: Degradation of Phytoplankton and Zooplankton Populations STAGE 2 STATUS – Requires Further Assessment Coordinating Committee’s Review: This BUI has never been listed as Impaired. A delisting criteria/target will only be developed when an assessment of the health of phytoplankton and zooplankton populations in the AOC demonstrates that it is different than an unimpacted (non-AOC) reference site and requires further action. 14) Beneficial Use Impairment: Loss of Fish and Wildlife Habitat STAGE 2 STATUS – Impaired Coordinating Committee’s Review: As found in the Stage 1 RAP report, the original scope of the concern for this BUI was evidence of loss of fish habitat, (specifically for emerald shiner, yellow perch and spawning northern pike). The scope also included the loss of wildlife habitat in general, as the result of destruction of and encroachment on vast areas of natural terrain reducing usable habitat for fish, birds and wildlife. The Stage 1 report also specifically refers to the loss of shoreline habitat and wetlands through shoreline reconstruction and development. In general the suggested delisting criteria were accepted. However, minor edits were made to simplify the criteria and to make the format for these Delisting Criteria consistent with previous criteria and other AOC delisting criteria. Proposed criterion relating specifically to water quality were removed as they will be addressed in the Eutrophication or Undesirable Algae criteria. The exception to this was the criterion relating to total suspended solids and turbidity as they may directly affect fish habitat by covering spawning beds. 145

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