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Niagara River Remedial Action Plan Stage 2 Update Report

Niagara River Remedial Action Plan Stage 2 Update Report

Thus, a survey was

Thus, a survey was completed for aquatic wildlife consumption. This survey found that only a very small proportion of the population consumes aquatic wildlife in the AOC (3% of respondents in a sample of 618 people). From this small group of consumers, based on studies in other AOCs and in Quebec, it can be assumed that very few meals are consumed per year. Also it can be assumed that most of what is being consumed is likely meat from Mallards and Canada Geese. However, there was a small amount of anecdotal information mentioning the consumption of snapping turtle. Although there is little evidence that there is currently much consumption of turtles, a few residents had described past consumption of turtles some time in the past. However, although no year was given the consumption was not within recent years; also the frequency of consumption at the time is unknown. Thus, there was no evidence found that the eggs of either turtle or waterfowl are regularly being consumed. Although there was no evidence of the regular consumption of aquatic wildlife, the technical review looked at the contaminant levels in edible portions of migratory waterfowl, snapping turtles and their eggs. A screening-level human health risk assessment was also completed specifically in Lyons Creek. Current evidence suggests that there is not widespread risk of adverse contaminant exposure to human consumers of aquatic wildlife in the AOC. However, in response to the anecdotal information regarding the consumption of snapping turtles, the MOE sport fish consumption guidebook now includes guidance on snapping turtle consumption. “Snapping turtles may contain high levels of contaminants in their fat, liver, eggs and, to a lesser extent, muscle. If you plan to consume snapping turtles, trim away the fat prior to cooking the meat or preparing soup. Also, avoid eating the liver and eggs of the turtle. Women of childbearing age and children under 15 should avoid eating any part of snapping turtles, including soups made with their meat.” 89 Consequently, the RAP Coordinating Committee has concluded that this wildlife portion of the Fish and Wildlife Consumption Beneficial Use can be redesignated to “Not Impaired”. Not Impaired This Beneficial Use Impairment was reviewed by: Dr. Shane de Solla, Wildlife Conservation Biologist (Shane works on Wildlife Toxicology and Disease in the Water Science and Technology Directorate at Environment Canada) 89 Ontario Ministry of the Environment, 2009. Guide to Eating Ontario Sport Fish 2009-2010 Edition. Queen’s Printer for Ontario. Pg. 11 52

Niagara river remedial action plan stage 2 update 3.5 BUI Assessment: Bird or Animal Deformities or Reproduction Problems Delisting Criteria: When the types and frequency of deformities and/or reproduction impairments associated with contaminant exposure (PCBs and dioxin-like PCBs) is similar to 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 exceed this target then they must not result in a population level affect to the bird and/or animal populations. Deformities and reproductive problems can be indicators for the effects of certain types of contaminants on the health of fish and wildlife. They are important because they can negatively affect an individual animal’s ability to survive and reproduce. If prevalent in an area, these problems may have the potential to negatively affect the entire local population of a given species. As mentioned in section 3.0, a review of this impairment was conducted as part of the working document (Technical Review 2007) - to see the complete review please see Appendix 14. This review raised the concerns regarding the contaminant body burdens in excess of reference sites/ levels and the lack of data to detect shifts in populations due to contaminant levels. However, both of these concerns are now addressed in the delisting criteria for the BUI Degradation of fish and wildlife populations and do not directly speak to this BUI. However, this review did conclude that: }} there are no identified concerns with deformities/reproduction problems associated with contaminant exposure }} there are no identified concerns with the frequency of deformities/reproduction problems exceeds frequency for reference sites/background levels. In 2009, an unpublished document (A review of the current status, trends and distributions of Aquatic Wildlife in the Niagara River (Ontario) Watershed by Kim Hughes, 2009) reviewed data that had recently been collect by Environment Canada’s Canadian Wildlife Service. This included data on snapping turtles hatching success and deformity rates, mink organ indices and the health of herring gulls. 53

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