Kayakers View Thunder Bay Harbour Up Close
Posted on: August 30, 2016
William Vanderwees, a participant in the RAP Tour of the Lower Kaministquia River moves out onto the glass calm waters of Lake Superior near Mission Island Marsh. The Welcome Islands and Sleeping Giant (partially obscured by fog) are in the background.
William Vanderwees, a participant in the August 28th RAP kayak tour of the Lower Kaministquia River, moves out onto the glass calm waters of Lake Superior near Mission Island Marsh. The Welcome Islands and Sleeping Giant (partially obscured by fog) are in the background. More photos…

Fourteen paddlers headed out on the waters of the lower Kaministiquia River and adjacent Lake Superior on August 28th for a tour of environmental actions and progress associated with the Thunder Bay Remedial Action Plan, or harbour cleanup plan. Paddlers also viewed many waterfront industries.

Participants learned that when Thunder Bay was designated as an area of environmental concern in the late eighties (along with 43 other locations around the Great Lakes), large-scale fish kills took place in the lower Kaministiquia River due to poor water quality. They also learned that this issue had been resolved through substantial investments to improve effluent quality by industries like Resolute Forest Products, resulting in vastly improved Kam River water quality.

Starting at the Mission Island Boat Launch kayakers headed downstream to the McKellar Embayments, a habitat rehabiliatation project near the McKellar mouth of the Kam at Lake Superior. From here, in stunning glass calm, kayakers headed onto the open waters of Lake Superior along the shoreline near Mission Island Marsh. After a stop to discuss the many valuable functions of wetlands, kayakers then headed into the Mission mouth of the Kam, viewing the Confined Disposal Facility for harbour dredged material in the distance (a potential site for contaminated sediment from the northern portion of Thunder Bay Harbour near the Current River). Paddlers also passed Cargill Grain elevator, Resolute Forest Products sawmill, MobilEx dry bulk handling facility and Suncor liquid bulk handling facility.

An overview of  habitat protection features built into the Kam River Heritage Park walking promenade was also provided. Kayakers then completed their circumnavigation of Mission Island, arriving back again at the Mission Island Boat Launch.

RAP Mapping Tool

Information about the Thunder Bay Remedial Action Plan is available in a mapping tool, complete with photos and information about key environmental restoration activities addressing water quality, sediment quality, habitat, and fish and wildlife health.

 

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