Month: October 2016

Engineering Firm Selected for Lake Michigan Diversion

Mayor Keith Hobbs of Thunder Bay
Mayor Keith Hobbs of Thunder Bay, Ontario dons a Chicago Blackhawks jersey at the 2013 Great Lakes St. Lawrence Cities Initiative Annual Meeting in Marquette, Michigan. The Cities Initiative, previously chaired by Hobbs, strongly opposes the Waukasha Diversion.

Greeley and Hansen Engineering has been selected to manage construction for the diversion of Lake Michigan water to the Town of Waukesha, Wisconsin, a Milwaukee bedrooom community. CH2M Engineering will be a key sub-contractor. Lake Michigan is located entirely within the U.S. Waukesha is not actually very far from Lake Michigan, only 27 km. Neither is it outside the Lake Michigan watershed. Rather, it sits astride the watershed, partially inside, partially outside.

In June, the diversion plan approved unanimous support from Governors in all Great Lakes states but strong opposition elsewhere. Rationale for opposition to the project is based on fear that this initial diversion will set a precedent and lead to other “exceptions” and diversions of Great Lakes water. Six years of review by Wisconsin, the other Great Lakes States and Ontario were very contentious.

Some of the most significant opposition comes from the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Cities Initiative, a group which terms itself, “a unique and united political voice active in the protection, restoration and enhancement of the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River.” The group includes mayors from communities around the entire Great Lakes – St. Lawrence system. The front page of the GLSCI website proclaims that the group will formally challenge Waukesha’s actions. Thunder Bay Mayor Keith Hobbs is a former chair of the group, which held its annual meeting in Thunder Bay in 2014.

On a more detailed level, Waukesha will buy water from the Town of Oak Creek, Wisconsin, building new pipe to get the water to Waukesha. The Town of Waukesha will treat the water after use and return it to the Root River, from where it will flow back to Lake Michigan through the Town of Racine, Wisconsin. Under terms of the agreement, Waukesha can withdraw up to 8.2 million gallons of Lake Michigan water per day. Waukesha’s current water supply is contaminated with radium and a layer of shale inhibits groundwater recharge from the town’s aquifer.

An Excellent Waukesha Primer – 9′ Detroit Public TV Video

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Cloud Lake Research Presented to Public

Nathan wilson
At a public session on October 13th, Lakehead University Graduate student Nathan Wilson provided an overview of 2015 research carried out at Cloud Lake, southwest of Thunder Bay.

On the evening of October 13th, Lakehead University Masters student Nathan Wilson, along with Jason Freeburn and Dr. Rob Stewart of the LU’s Department of Geography and Environmental Science, presented an overview of 2015 research carried out to quantify environmental conditions in Cloud Lake. The lake is situated some 30 km. southwest of Thunder Bay and research centered on water quality, algae blooms and fish populations. The presentations are accessible at the bottom of this post. Thirty people attended the session, several joining the session through the Infosuperior event livestream.

The cloud Lake project was a collaborative study coordinated by Lakehead University in association with the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, the Thunder Bay District Stewardship Council, and the Northshore Steelhead Association. The data produced from this study provides Cloud Lake residents with a better picture of the changes occurring on the lake and helps responsible agencies to better understand the potential impacts to Northern Ontario lakes.

Data for the project was collected beginning on April 13, 2015 until November 2, 2015. This is a relatively short time frame for an in-depth study and required very focused objectives. Data collection consisted of shoreline health, submerged vegetation, fish community index netting, an inventory of smallmouth bass nests, and water quality samples for chemical analysis of phosphates, chlorophyll, and several other parameters as well as secchi depth readings, temperature and dissolved oxygen profiles. Cloud lake inflow tributaries and the outflow which drains into Lake Superior also provided discharge profiles temperature, dissolved oxygen, and chemical analysis.

The shoreline health assessment provides best management practices for shoreline development and key recommendations focused on the establishment of vegetation buffer zones to provide protection against erosion and dispersions of surface runoff. The submerged vegetation survey uncovered ‘weed bed’ locations and a baseline for future monitoring of key habitat features in the lake itself. The OMNRF’s Broad Scale Monitoring (BSM) and Near Shore Community Index Netting (NSCIN) results show a shifting aquatic community. Catch per unit effort in 1999 showed Walleye at the highest followed by Rock Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Yellow Perch, and lastly Northern Pike. In 2015, however, index netting shows a shift to Yellow Perch being twice as high as the next species Smallmouth Bass, Rock Bass, White Sucker, Walleye, and Northern Pike. It was noted that Smallmouth bass catch per unit effort was higher, and the fish were larger and heavier than comparable bass lakes in the region. The Smallmouth Bass nest survey observed 266 nests, one every 45m (22.2 nests/km). This further supports the conclusion of a shifting fish community from the previously stocked Walleye populations that most local fisherman were accustomed to. Water quality results indicate that Cloud Lake is in a mesotrophic state. Signs of eutrophication on Cloud Lake were observed through the frequent occurrence of cyanobacteria blooms. Although many of these blooms were not confirmed to be toxin producing, the species of cyanobacteria identified are associated with toxic blooms in other lakes. This is a major concern.

The 2015 Cloud Lake results drive home the notion that residents of the lake must be key actors in reducing the impact of nutrient loading into the lake.

View the presentations:

Overview of Methods

2015 Cloud Lake Research Summary

Shoreline Environmental Health

 

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Cloud Lake Presentation Accessible Online

A presentation at Lakehead University about research into water quality at Cloud Lake, a lake some 30 km. southwest of Thunder Bay, will be made available online.

Everyone is also welcome to attend the presentation in-person. There is no charge and evening parking at the university is free. The presentation takes place at 7 p.m., October 13th in Room RC 2003 at Lakehead University.

To join the meeting via computer, follow the directions provided below.

-Original post about the Cloud Lake presentation including information about meeting location at the university.

Information to join the Cloud Lake presentation online:

1. Join the presentation via computer utilizing the following link on Oct 13, 2016 at 7:00 PM EDT.

https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/658311277

2. Please join several minutes early as you will likely need to download software. Ensure your the volume on your computer is on and up.

Access Code: 658-311-277
Audio PIN: Shown after joining the meeting

Meeting ID: 658-311-277

GoToMeeting®

Not at your computer? Click the link to join this meeting from your iPhone®, iPad®, Android® or Windows Phone® device via the GoToMeeting app.

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Terrace Bay Looks to Superior Waterfront

Casque Isles Trail, Terrace Bay
A quiet cove near Terrace Bay, Ontario on the Casque Isles Hiking Trail, Slate Islands in the background.

Terrace Bay, Ontario is a beautiful community blessed with a stunning location on Lake Superior. Situated high above the lake, a breath-taking view of Superior presents itself from many points in the community. Home to the southernmost population of woodland caribou in the world, the Slate Islands are easily visible some 10 km. offshore.

Terrace Bay’s close relationship with Lake Superior is very evident in the town and even Simcoe Mall, just off the main highway, has been recently refurbished, complete with Lake Superior colour scheme. The mall also includes a full-scale replica Slate Islands lighthouse, a bakery and restaurants, one with a charming outdoor terrace.

The lake itself is easily accessible by foot, bicycle or vehicle and Terrace Bay Beach displays a stunning expanse of sand and an active boat launch. Terrace Bay is also an excellent starting point to hike Superior’s shore. The Casque Isles Trail starts at Terrace Bay’s Aguasobon Falls touching the lake at several isolated Lake Superior coves, some of the them pure sand.

Town officials, under the direction of Mayor Jody Davis and council, have been working very hard to realize the tourism potential the town presents, much of this potential closely linked to Lake Superior. CBC Radio’s Jeff Walters recently visited Terrace Bay and spoke with Community Development Supervisor Dean Main…

 

 

 

colours of the mall

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SoundCloud Clip: Finding the Lake Superior Locomotive

In this 11′ SoundCloud audio clip, Paul Turpin of Rossport, Ontario previews information he’ll be sharing during an October 19th presentation at the Terrace Bay Recreation Centre. The event begins at 7 p.m. with presentations about the environmental health of Blackbird Creek and Jackfish Bay by representatives of the Jackfish Bay Remedial Action Plan, or cleanup plan. Paul’s presentation, complete with photos and video clips, will follow.The event is free of charge and everyone is welcome.

Paul will be recounting his experiences as part of a group involved in locating and diving to the train wreck recently found in the depths of Lake Superior. The wreck was located on the Canadian North Shore near Mink Tunnel. The work of Paul and others led the way to Tom Crossmon of Minnesota finding the steam locomotive which pulled this train, 106 years after it derailed.

Access other Infosuperior audio clips on SoundCloud.

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McVicar Creek: Tree Planting Aids Stormwater Management

McVicar Creek Planting
Lakehead University students and faculty water vegetation planted at McVicar Creek.

A group of thirty people, including many Lakehead University students, demonstrated their enthusiasm for urban stream restoration during a McVicar Creek planting event in Thunder Bay on September 30th. Efforts were centered on McVicar Creek locations near Clayte Street, also Madeline Street. The primary objective was planting various tree species to vegetate a low-impact development project installed by the City of Thunder Bay.

Vegetation was planted in a water filtration and retention area for stormwater runoff. Students and other volunteers also mulched and watered the area. The project was funded by the Great Lakes Guardian Community Fund, to which several Lakehead University Geography and Environmental Studies students had applied, under the direction of department chair Dr Robert Stewart. Other support and funding was provided by EcoSuperior Environmental Programs, North Shore Steelhead Association, North Shore of Lake Superior Remedial Action Plans, Rutter Urban Forestry, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, the Government of Canada, City of Thunder Bay and Lakehead University Geography, Geology, and Natural Resources Management faculties.

More photos of the September 30th McVicar Creek event. Thank you to Frank Edgson for these photos.

Low Impact Development

Stormwater runoff  is one of the largest factors influencing the Great Lakes. Runoff, especially from urban areas with large paved surfaces, results in flash runoff, often with high contaminant levels. Low impact development is a strategy utilized to manage stormwater and reduce pollution and flooding. The process duplicates natural proceses like water retention and infiltration to the ground.  Plants and soil slow and clean water, reducing or eliminating negative impacts of runoff.

 

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Cloud Lake Presentation October 13th

Nathan Wilson
Lakehead University graduate student Nathan Wilson samples water at Cloud Lake, July, 2015.

The Department of Geography and Environmental Science at Lakehead University will be hosting a public session for presentation of environmental monitoring data collected during the summer 2015 field season. Graduate student Nathan Wilson under the direction of Dr. Rob Stewart and Jason Freeburn of the Department of Geography and Environmental Science, will present information on Cloud Lake water quality and algae, shoreline health,  and fish populations.

The event will take place at 7 p.m., October 13th in Regional Centre building room RC 2003 (2nd flr). A map of the Lakehead University campus is accessible via the link below (look for the building labeled “RC” towards the centre of the map). Proceed to the Regional Centre building and take the elevator to the 2nd floor. Room RC 2003 is immediately accessible on your right when you exit the elevator.

The agenda for this event is as follows:

Meeting Facilitator: Dr. Rob Stewart

1. Cloud Lake Water Quality (Nathan Wilson)

2. Cloud Lake Shoreline Health (Jason Freeburn)

3. Questions, Answers/Comments/Discussion.

Cloud Lake campers, area residents and the general public are most welcome to attend this event which is free of charge. Evening parking at Lakehead University is also free of charge. Please spread the word about this event to other Cloud Lake area residents.

Cloud Lake research was supported through the generous support of the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, the Municipality of Neebing, the Thunder Bay Stewardship Council, the North Shore Steelhead Association and Lakehead University. Dr. Rob Stewart and Jason Freeburn of Lakehead University’s Geography and Environmental Science Department provided expertise and supervision of Cloud Lake research.

Lakehead University Campus Map

Can’t attend in-person? – join the meeting livestream

Cloud Lake Project Overview

Previous Cloud Lake Articles on Infosuperior

Photos – Cloud Lake Monitoring – July, 2015

Photos – Cloud Lake Demonstration Event – August, 2015

Photos – Cloud Lake Open House – Blake Hall – May, 2015

Photos – Cloud Lake Water Quality Sampling Through the Ice – April, 2015

Photos – Cloud Lake Algae Sampling Through the Ice – April, 2015

 

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