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Niagara River Remedial Action Plan Stage 2 Update Report

Niagara River Remedial Action Plan Stage 2 Update Report

In addition to the NPCA,

In addition to the NPCA, many other implementation partners have also completed habitat gains in the Niagara River AOC. A total value for the habitat accomplishments in the AOC are summarized in the table below. Table 7: Habitat accomplishments in the Niagara River AOC Wetland habitat created (ha) Riparian habitat created (km) Forest habitat created (ha) 2009 Totals 153.0 73.0 343.3 In addition to these projects, stewardship initiatives have been carried out by Land Care Niagara 40 (LCN), through its Niagara Natural Heritage Ecological Wildlife Corridor Framework (NNHEF). The NNHEF is an annual wildlife habitat creation/water quality improvement/positive climate change activity of LCN’s that includes restoration projects that benefit the Niagara AOC by increasing forest interior, connecting fragmented natural areas and increasing wildlife habitat. 41 To date this program has accomplished the planting of 720,000 trees covering at least 320 hectares within the AOC. Note: These LCN values were not included in Table 7 due to the potential of double counting sites that were jointly planted by the NPCA and LCN. E) Implementation activity: Produce an annual progress report summarizing progress toward meeting the Action specified in the Welland River Watershed Strategy. Progress reporting is ongoing through data and reports prepared by the NPCA. Phase two of a project has been completed by the NPCA under the Great Lakes Sustainability Fund on the use of an Agricultural Non-Point Source (AGNPS) model in the Niagara River AOC as an aid to watershed management decision-making. 42 Due to the success of the pilot project in Oswego Creek, the NPCA will be using the AGNPS model and interface in watershed plans and strategies in the future. From the AGNPS model, critical areas that require water quality improvements in the Niagara River AOC are Buckhorn Creek, Elsie Creek, Little Forks Creek, Welland River West and Big Forks Creek, Sucker Creek and Oswego Creek. 43 As a component to the Niagara Water Strategy, the NPCA completes watershed plans which report on the state of environmental health for watersheds prior to implementing a restoration program. The AGNPS model will be useful in developing the targets and priority areas for water quality improvements in the plans. The result will be a well-defined, comprehensive plan that has measurable objectives for improving water quality and habitat. Currently within the Niagara River AOC, the One-Mile Creek Watershed Plan, the Fort Erie Creeks Watershed Plan, the South Niagara Falls Watershed Plan, the Niagara-on-the-Lake Watershed Plan and the Central Welland River Watershed Plan are complete. The Upper Welland River Watershed Plan is in progress. 44 40 www.landcareniagara.com 41 Communication from Joad Durst, Area Supervisor - Niagara Area, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. 42 Great Lakes Sustainability Fund. Year End Report Project #: 04-088. Use of an Agricultural Non-Point Source model in the Niagara River AOC as an aid to watershed management decision-making. Submitted March 15, 2005. 43 Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority. December 2004. Natural Heritage of the Niagara River AOC & Associated Subwatersheds. Prepared by Andrew Mack & Geoff Verkade. 44 Personal conversation with Tara Metzger, NPCA 22

Niagara river remedial action plan stage 2 update 2.2.3 Sediment Quality 1995 Recommendations: #9: The lower Welland River (downstream of the Welland airport) be the priority focus of any sediment assessment. #10: Potentially contaminated locations be prioritized for review, assessment and remediation. #11: Test potentially contaminated sediment sites to confirm the absence / presence of contamination. Due to the fast flowing nature of the Niagara River, there are very few deposits of sediment and much of the sediment load is deposited in Lake Ontario. However, several areas in the tributaries feeding the Niagara River have had sediments contaminated with organic compounds or heavy metals. The RAP Stage 1 Update report (1995) identified the degradation of benthos as directly related to contaminated sediments. In addition, contaminated sediments can also contribute to other BUIs such as: restrictions on fish and wildlife consumption, degraded fish populations and bird or animal deformities or reproductive problems. The Stage 1 update provided a description of the fourteen contaminated sites that had been identified and prioritized as Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3 sites based on the sediment conditions (see Table 8 – next page). For status of progress on these recommendations – see Appendix 10 Status of progress: F) Implementation activity: Liaison with the Niagara District MOE to Review Contaminated Sediment data and to Develop Appropriate Action Plans. In 1995, a full-scale cleanup of the Welland River reef site was successfully completed. 45 The site was located just downstream of the Atlas discharge to the Welland River where deposits of mill scale, comprised mainly of the heavy metals chromium and nickel, had formed two reefs within the river. What are PCBs? Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) continue to be pollutants of great concern in the Great Lakes Basin. First manufactured for commercial use in 1929 46 , they were used as insulating fluid in electrical transformers and in production of hydraulic fluids, lubricants and inks. Generated and released into the environment as waste byproducts of chemical manufacturing and incineration, they include 209 related chemicals of varying toxicity. Although never manufactured in Canada, they were widely used in this country. 47 Manufacture and new uses of PCBs have been prohibited in the United States and Canada since 1977. 48 Those PCBs which are considered to be the most toxic, based on combined health effects considerations, are referred to as “dioxin-like” 49 and their chemical structure is very similar to the more toxic forms of dioxins. See Appendix 7 for further information on “priority toxics” in the Great Lakes Basin. Biota = the plant and animal life of a region. 46 www.theweathernetwork.com 47 http://www.ec.gc.ca/ 48 Royal Commission on the Future of the Toronto Waterfront. 1992. REGENERATION. Toronto’s Waterfront and The Sustainable City: Final Report. 49 www.greenfacts.org These two reefs were identified as a significant source of contaminants to the Welland River. 45 Acres international Ltd. December 1997. The Full-Scale Welland River Reef Cleanup Project. Project Assessment Report & Technical Reference Document. 23

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