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Niagara River Remedial Action Plan Stage 2 Update Report

Niagara River Remedial Action Plan Stage 2 Update Report

2.2.8 General 1995

2.2.8 General 1995 Recommendations: #28: Provincial and federal governments develop an integrated ecosystem approach to management for its agencies. #29: Provincial and federal governments establish specific government funding programs for RAP Implementation. #30: The Niagara River RAP endorse and encourage the process of multi-sectoral liaison committees as the vehicle to facilitate the satisfactory remediation of water quality in the Niagara River AOC. #31: Establish a Geographic Information Systems repository for the Niagara River AOC. #32: Establish an International RAP. #33: Secure recognition of the remedial action plan as having fulfilled some of the requirements of the environmental assessment process. #34: Develop model “terms of reference” for remediation projects by community liaison committees. #35: The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources develop an ‘Introduction of Exotics’ supplement to the Project Wild, Fishways and Focus on Forests programs. #36: Initiate the Niagara River RAP Implementation Structure. #37: Boat owners retain and dispose of grey water at marinas. Status of progress: The NPCA assumed the role of RAP Coordinator in 1999 and is funded through agreements with the MOE and EC. RAP deliverables and tasks are specified in these agreements between the NPCA, EC and MOE. Project initiatives and deliverables include: RAP coordination (including stakeholder liaison & public consultation and supervision of contractors); Tributary Water Quality Monitoring Plan and Niagara River AOC Monitoring Plan; coordination of the Contaminated Sediment Management Strategy for Lyons Creek; preparation of the Stage 2 Update Report; development and implementation of the RAP Communications Plan; and, coordination and implementation of the new RAP monitoring and work plans. A new RAP implementation framework is in place. For a further status of progress on these recommendations – see Appendix 10 K) Implementation activity: Produce an annual progress report summarizing progress toward meeting the Action specified in the Welland River Watershed Strategy. In 1998, the Welland River Watershed Strategy 78 was initiated and guided by a Restoration Committee comprised of the NPCA and its watershed partners, along with governmental and nongovernmental partners. These groups recognized the need to co-ordinate and monitor remediation efforts throughout the Welland River basin. The action plan for the strategy was incorporated into the Niagara River RAP Implementation Annex. 79 The goal of the Strategy is: “To restore the ecological health of the Welland River and its watershed”. 78 Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority. November 1999. Welland River Watershed Strategy. 38

Niagara river remedial action plan stage 2 update NPCA resources and assistance in guiding, directing and prioritizing Welland River rehabilitation activities is facilitated through a GIS repository for the Niagara River. The NPCA has developed a comprehensive database to map and document “in the ground” restoration projects. The ‘Restoration Database’ is a practical product developed by GIS staff who worked closely with restoration staff to ensure that the design and functionality would meet their needs. The database thoroughly documents critical restoration project information such as location, project type, inventory of what was planted, material types and quantities, under what funding program, expenses incurred, and grant portion etc. Additionally, the data model includes design considerations that enable it to continuously monitor and track watershed improvements. This tracking of habitat statistics is possible by including restoration types for integration with existing habitat data. The Restoration Database is the RAP flagship GIS product as it is a tool that can quantify and report on the remediation effort and success of NPCA stewardship based restoration programs (see Appendix 9 for the current habitat statistics). 80 This tracking database is used to report on projects in the NPCA’s Water Quality Improvement Program (WQIP). In the past 5 years, approximately 70% of the projects under the WQIP have benefited wildlife habitat in addition to water quality. This tool allows the NPCA to summarize the improvement efforts and relate them to a watershed goal or benchmark to determine the degree of health for subwatersheds. 81 For this determination, comparisons of habitat parameters are made with Environment Canada’s Framework for Guiding Habitat Rehabilitation in the Great Lakes Areas of Concern. 82 L) Implementation activity: Liaison with the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority Welland River Watershed Strategy activities. The Welland River Watershed Strategy for addressing man-made physical barriers and the water level fluctuations in the Welland River are: }} The Niagara River AOC Fish Barriers Project. (See Biota/Habitat/Land Use section 2.2.4) } } The Welland River Water Level Fluctuation Study. Since 2001, the NPCA has held discussions with Ontario Power Generation (OPG) regarding possible solutions to eliminate or reduce the historical flow fluctuations that occur on the Welland River. In June 2007, after thorough consideration of alternative options to mitigate the impacts of Beck 3 (a new tunnel to the power plant), an agreement was reached. OPG agreed to contribute three million dollars to the NPCA to implement “soft engineering” restoration activities within the Welland River watershed. 83 These activities would include improving fish habitat and spawning areas, improving public access to the river, riparian projects and creating additional wetlands. The agreement conditions include that the NPCA provide an annual progress report. M) Implementation activity: Liaison and partnership with community groups. Building on existing strengths and formulating partnerships between government and non-profit organizations is the key objective 79 Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority. November 2000. Niagara River Remedial Action Plan Implementation Annex. 80 NPCA 2004 GIS Program Status and Direction Report. 81 NPCA. December 2004. Natural Heritage Characterization of the Niagara River AOC & Associated Subwatersheds. A discussion on implementing a habitat restoration framework. 82 Environment Canada. 2004. How Much Habitat is Enough? Second edition of A Framework for Guiding Habitat Rehabilitiation in Great Lakes Areas of Concern. 83 Reported by Jocelyn Baker, NPCA, at the RAP Team meeting on June 14, 2007. 39

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