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Nipigon Bay “Delisting Report” – More Input Received

June 29, 2015
Red Rock Treatment Plant Upgrades

Members of the public at a December 5th, 2012 open house held in Red Rock focusing on plans for upgrades to the towns wastewater treatment plant. Upgrades to the plant figure largely in comments received from several organizations about “delisting” The Nipigon Bay Area of Concern. An announcement was made that the plant would be built in 2009 but construction has not started.

At their June 9th meeting, the Public Advisory Committee (PAC) to the Nipigon Bay Remedial Action Plan discussed the “Report Recommending Delisting and Path Forward.” The group “commends the authors for accurately reporting on work completed to address environmental impairments in Nipigon Bay.” PAC members encourage the federal and provincial governments to provide an ongoing environmental monitoring plan, ask for input into Town of Nipigon plans for stormwater management and also ask for completion of upgrades to the Red Rock municipal wastewater treatment plant. PAC members say they support delisting the Nipigon Bay Area of Concern once the above mentioned items are in place.

Comment has also been received from the Towns of Nipigon and Red Rock. Nipigon supports delisting and Red Rock notes, “the volume of work that has been completed and great strides that have been accomplished in cleaning up Nipigon Bay over the past 20 years.” Deputy Mayor Steve Carruthers, in a letter dated June 24th, says Red Rock councillors do not favour delisting Nipigon Bay at this time. He says council feels that removing the Area of Concern designation might jeopardize federal funding for wastewater treatment plant upgrades.

Comments from the PAC, Town of Nipigon and Town of Red Rock can be seen in their entirety here:

IJC Responds to Draft Nipigon Bay Report Recommending Delisting

June 10, 2015
Mathew Child

Mathew Child of the International Joint Commission has visited Nipigon and Thunder Bay several times, most recently at the May 7th RAP open house in Nipigon.

The International Joint Commission has responded with comments to the Draft “Nipigon Bay Remedial Action Plan Report Recommending Delisting and Path Forward” as presented to the public by the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry and Environent Canada at a Nipigon Bay RAP Open House in Nipigon on May 7th. Read the cover letter and comments from the IJC here.

Lake Superior Conservation Area Reaches Important Milestone

June 3, 2015
Schreiber Point

Schreiber Point viewed from Wilson Island near Rossport, Ontario in the heart of the proposed Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area.

An important milestone has been reached on the road to establishing The Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area in the Canadian waters of Lake Superior. On June 2nd, the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of the Environment and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, announced  introduction of the Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area Act to formally establish the Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area. This  step comes after many years working through requirements for establishment. The conservation area is located in an area bordered by the tip of Thunder Cape (the Sleeping Giant) near Thunder Bay in the west to Terrace Bay in the east. Read more…

Cloud Lake Open House – May 30th from 10am to noon

May 19, 2015

Cloud Lake Open House – Sat., May 30 from 10am to noon
Blake Hall (71 Blake Hall Rd., Neebing, ON)

Google Earth Image showing an algal bloom on Cloud Lake. (July 2006)

Google Earth Image showing an algal bloom on Cloud Lake (July 2006).

Lakehead University will be hosting an open house for residents and campers of the Cloud Lake area on Sat., May 30th from 10 am to noon at Blake Hall (71 Blake Hall Rd., Neebing, ON)(map).

Over the summer months, scientists from the university will be examining the effects of nutrient inputs to the lake in terms of the total phosphorous production. They will also be examining the effects of these nutrients on the local aquatic ecosystem.

In recent years, user groups and resource managers have noted declining ecosystem conditions in Cloud Lake. A decline in water quality has been observed as indicated by algal blooms, increased turbidity, and elevated phosphorus concentrations. In addition, aquatic invasive species—rusty crayfish and smelt—have been introduced, and the quality of the fishery has decreased. There are several potential causes for the decline in ecosystem health, but field studies have been limited to single data points without the benefit of a planned and coordinated effort to gather data over multiple seasons. Lakehead University has agreed to collect baseline data this summer to better define the problem and to understand the environmental factors that may be affecting the watershed.

This open house is an opportunity for residents to meet the researchers, ask questions and provide input/observations on the lake conditions. Free refreshments will be provided.

May 2015 Podcast – Ray Dupuis Sr.

May 7, 2015
Ray Dupuis as a boy with a string of brook trout caught in Clearwater Creek.

Ray Dupuis Sr. as a boy with a string of brook trout caught in Clearwater Creek.

Ray Dupuis Sr. of Nipigon is interviewed in the May, 2015 Infosuperior podcast, or audio interview. Ray speaks about change over time which he has observed in the Nipigon Bay fishery. LISTEN TO THE INTERVIEW on the podcast page.

Update on Flows From Lake Superior at Sault Ste. Marie – May 1, 2015

May 1, 2015

The following information was received from the Lake Superior International Board of Control, a division of the International Joint Commission:

Update regarding the gate setting of the Compensating Works [the structure controlling L. Superior levels at Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario] expected in May.

 Providing ice conditions allow it, the Compensating Works are expected to be set to the equivalent of approximately two gates fully open tomorrow, Friday, May 1st.  This will be achieved by partially opening twelve gates (Gates #3 to #14) a total of 31 cm (12 in.) each.  Anglers should remain cautious of changing flows and water levels and the potential for hazardous ice conditions in the St. Marys Rapids.  Note that conditions will be reassessed and the gate setting may be increased again later in the month, once ice conditions improve.  We will advise of any changes at that time.

 As usual, there will be no change to Gate #1, which supplies water to the channel north of the Fishery Remedial Dike.  Furthermore, Gate #2 will remain closed for the time being in order to provide lower velocities and potential angling opportunities along the northern portion of the main rapids.  This is something that’s been suggested in the past and we’d welcome feedback on this approach. 

 

Nipigon Bay Open House & Presentation – May 7th

April 21, 2015

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Mayor Gary Nelson of Red Rock (standing, right) addresses participants at the May 7th Nipigon Bay RAP Open House event. About 50 people from Nipigon, Red Rock, Lake Helen, Rocky Bay and Beardmore attended the event. Click here for more photos. Scroll down in this post for audio clips reflecting public input.

Associated Documents and Information:

Audio “Clips” Reflecting Public Input from the Nipigon Bay RAP Open House:

(ensure computer volume is on/up)

  • Government representative Michelle McChristie of the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change recommends “delisting” Nipigon Bay Area of Concern (44″ – .m4a audio)
  • Public Advisory Committee member Wayne Young supports delisting with two caveats (1′ 57″ – .m4a)
  • Red Rock CAO Kal Pristanski comments on Red Rock secondary treatment status (1′ 18″ – .m4a)
    • NOTE: Much of what Kal said is inaudible; however, facilitator Jim Bailey recapped Kal’s points, stating $4.5 million has been committed by the provincial and federal governments for a total of $9 million and that the project is expected to be completed by the end of 2017.
  • An open house participant by the name of Jim (last name unknown) suggests completion of items like secondary municipal wasterwater treatment for Red Rock before delisting (1′ 02″ – .m4a)
  • Red Rock Indian Band Councillor Ed Wawia would like to see a written and comprehensive ongoing monitoring plan (.m4a)
    • NOTE: The response of Environment Canada’s Greg Grabas is somewhat inaudible so the transcript is below:
      • Greg Grabas: The report is available online (see link to completion report above in this post). I can sit here and tell you what’s in it but it is much better written in the actual report in terms of ongoing monitoring. To build on that, if there is interest in additional monitoring then again there are other application-based funding tools that can be used to increase the monitoring. I mean it depends on what the actual program is and what the actual project is. I encourage you to take a look at the document. It is at the back of the document under ongoing progress (p. 53).
      • [Jim Bailey] So Greg, what your saying is that it’s there – the ongoing monitoring?
      • Greg Grabas: Not in Nipigon Bay specially, a post-delisting monitoring plan. But there has always been monitoring in Lake Superior and if there is a need to augment that funding can be searched out.

The Nipigon Bay Remedial Action Plan (RAP) hosted an open house on May 7th at the Nipigon Recreation Centre in Nipigon, Ontario. A presentation, along with question, answer and public comment period took place at 7 p.m. Approximately 50 people attended the event. View the full agenda. The event was an opportunity for residents of Nipigon, Red Rock, Lake Helen, Dorion and area to find out about completed RAP actions to restore environmental quality in Nipigon Bay. Ongoing monitoring and environmental programs for Nipigon Bay will also be outlined. Completed actions incude:

  • a Nipigon River Water Management Plan limiting water level fluctuations impacting fish populations
  • a new secondary municipal wastewater treatment plant for the Town of Nipigon
  • substantial work to remove garbage/debris and rehabilitate Clearwater Creek
  • a marina in Red Rock incorporating fish habitat features

Ongoing work includes:

  • environmental monitoring
  • a stormwater management plan for Clearwater Creek and the Town of Nipigon
  • construction of a secondary wastewater treatment plant for the Town of Red Rock.

Displays and information about completed RAP actions, ongoing environmental programs and monitoring were included at the event. Representatives from the RAP Public Advisory Committee, Environment Canada, the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry were on hand to answer questions/comments and discuss concerns.

Nipigon Bay was originally listed as a Great Lakes “Area of Concern” because water quality and environmental health were severely degraded. This situation was due to industrial and municipal effluent discharges, accumulation of wood fibre and bark from log driving and fluctuating river flows due to hydro-electric generation. These factors caused several environmental problems, including heavily impacted fish populations. Work to implement remedial actions in Nipigon Bay has been ongoing since this location was identified as an Area of Concern in 1986 by the International Joint Commission in conjunction with the governments of Canada and USA.

Thunder Bay PAC Meeting – Wed., May 6

April 20, 2015

The Public Advisory Committee (PAC) to the Thunder Bay Remedial Action Plan, or harbour cleanup plan, will meet at  7 p.m. on May 6th at the Balmoral Street Centre on the Lakehead University campus (Room: HS 1029). Everyone is welcome and there is no charge.

Greg Grabas of Environment Canada will speak about wildlife populations and habitat in Thunder Bay on Lake Superior. This Environment Canada presentation will focus on how an ongoing process is being developed to determine impacts of urbanization, industrialization, shoreline development and heavy shipping on wildlife in the Thunder Bay area of environmental concern.

Links to Related Documents and Information:

RAP Newsletter Outlines 2015 Activities

April 15, 2015

Click here to access a Remedial Action Plan newsletter outlining 2015 activities to date. The newsletter covers January, February and March, outlining activities aimed at cleanup of Lake Superior environmental issues in Nipigon Bay and Thunder Bay. Don’t forget our Nipigon Bay RAP open house event on May 7th in Nipigon.

Great Lakes Water Levels Surge

March 25, 2015


An article in Earth and Space Science News notes the largest surge in Great Lakes Water Levels in recorded history has recently taken place. The article has a focus on the upper lakes, including Superior. View this very interesting and well researched article here.