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Niagara River Remedial Action Plan Stage 2 Update Report

Niagara River Remedial Action Plan Stage 2 Update Report

Mink organ indices Other

Mink organ indices Other potential physiological effects of contaminant exposure in wildlife include changes in organ size and while mink from the Niagara River AOC had a significantly larger spleen index relative to mink from inland Ontario, this effect was not linked to contaminant exposure and may have been related to an infection. It is unclear to what extent the introduction of domesticated animals might influence the overall fitness and reproductive success of the breeding mink population in the Niagara River area since there is a known mink farm in the Municipality of Niagara from which domestic mink have escaped and mated with wild mink. 96 Currently, the genetic status of mink from the Niagara region, and elsewhere, are being assessed through genotypic fingerprinting. 97 Health of Herring Gulls While health effects associated with contaminant exposure have been documented in recent studies of herring gulls foraging in other AOCs in the lower Great Lakes 98 , such effects in herring gulls from the Niagara River (Ontario) AOC could not be assessed due to inherent difficulties with accessing the colony for research purposes. Similarly, contaminant levels were generally low for gulls foraging within the AOC compared to other AOCs. As the embryonic development of snapping turtles from the Niagara River (Ontario) AOC was similar or better than reference sites, and spleen size in mink was not associated with contaminant burdens. It was found that, the deformities and/or reproductive impairments do not exceed the target for populations from suitable non-AOC reference sites. Consequently, the RAP Coordinating Committee has concluded that the Bird or Animal Deformities or Reproduction Problems 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and Disease in the Water Science and Technology Directorate at Environment Canada). 96 Kidd et al. 2009 97 P. Martin, unpublished data, 2009 98 Environment Canada 2003; Hughes 2009 56

Niagara river remedial action plan stage 2 update 3.6 BUI Assessment: Restrictions on Dredging Activities 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. However, 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 4th 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 99 . 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 (See Appendix 15 - Canada-Ontario Agreement (COA) RAP Steering Committee. Unpublished meeting record regarding the BUI “Restrictions on Dredging Activities”. May, 1998. Environment Canada and Ontario Ministry of the Environment.) Consequently, the Niagara River RAP Coordinating Committee has updated the BUI status table to reflect this decision that the Restrictions on Dredging Activities beneficial use was never impaired. Not Impaired 3.7 BUI Assessment: Beach Closings Delisting Criterion: Public beaches meet the following conditions: i) Prominent sources of fecal pollution that could contaminate beach or recreational waters are known; As mentioned in section 3.0, a review of this impairment was conducted as part of a technical review working document (Technical Review 2007) - to see the complete review please see Appendix 16. This review concluded that only 4 beaches were within the Niagara River AOC (the other four historic public beaches having been closed in recent years). These 4 beaches and the suspected prominent sources of fecal pollution are listed in the following Tables. 99 COA RAP Steering Committee, 1998 57

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