Month: January 2018

Thunder Bay PAC Meeting – February 7

Mapping Tool
Thunder Bay waterfront at the mouth of the Neebing – McIntyre Floodway, as depicted in a draft mapping tool meant to assist in decision-making related to increased habitat quality and quantity. Habitat is the central agenda item for the February 7th meeting of the Thunder Bay Remedial Action Public Advisory Committee.

The Public Advisory Committee (PAC) to the Thunder Bay Remedial Action Plan will meet at 7 p.m. on February 7th in ATAC Room 5035 at Lakehead University. Evening parking at Lakehead University is free of charge and available right beside the ATAC building.

A presentation will be provided by Joe Fiorino of the Canadian Wildlife Service exploring the relationship between wildlife habitat and populations. Lakehead University doctoral student Nathan Wilson will also present a draft mapping tool meant to incorporate parameters which aid in decision-making for habitat restoration and protection projects. Such parameters include land ownership, presence/absence of wetlands, hydrology, surrounding land use, zoning, etc.

Meeting Objectives:

  • Solicit PAC perspective regarding the Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS) presentation laying out the relationship between habitat and populations
  • Utilize CWS information to inform and determine next steps to increase the quality and quantity of fish and wildlife habitat
  • Seek PAC representation on a sub-committee tasked with implementing measures to improve habitat quality
  • Review steps taken to increase PAC member attendance, continuity and sector representation; establish next steps

Meeting Package:

Remedial Action Plans work to address environmental chemical, physical, and biological degradation resulting in pollution and impacts to habitat in Areas of Concern on the Great Lakes.  They are supported by Environment and Climate Change Canada, the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry and Lakehead University.

The meeting is open to the public and all are welcome to attend. There is no charge. Observers do not participate in committee decisions but may be allowed to address the meeting at the discretion of the chair.

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Stormwater Management Financing Options Presentation – Jan 23

The City and its project team invite involvement from the community throughout the duration of the Study, which is anticipated to be completed within the 2018 calendar year. Please accept this an invitation to our first Public Information Centre on January 23rd, from 4pm to 8pm, and the Italian Cultural Centre at 123 Algoma Street North, and visit the project website at: www.thunderbay.ca/stormwaterplan.

In 2016, Council adopted the “Stormwater Management Plan for Sustainable Surface Water Management”, now referred to as the SWM Plan. The SWM Plan provides goals and objectives for the next 20-years relating to ecosystem health and water quality, water quantity control and flooding, operations and maintenance, monitoring and data assessment, regulation and enforcement, education and outreach, funding and organizational structure, and climate change adaptation. The SWM Plan also includes recommendations for increased spending on stormwater management to achieve these goals and objectives.

When Council adopted the SWM Plan, the City committed to further consult with the public, businesses, and community stakeholders on how to best finance the implementation of the SWM Plan.

In October 2017, the City awarded the Stormwater Financing Study to AECOM. The purpose of the Study is to identify, assess, and evaluate alternative funding approaches to support the implementation of the SWM Plan, and to provide a recommended funding approach with framework and steps to implementation. The Study will also assess how the City can fund stormwater for the future, either through the status quo, increased or dedicated taxes, the creation of a new utility (similar to our water and sanitary utilities), development charges, or other means.

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Wisconsin’s Sturgeon Success Story

“Lake sturgeon, an ancient fish native to the Great Lakes region, can grow to be more than six feet long, 200 pounds and live more than 100 years.”

University of Wisconsin – Madison Aquatic Sciences Centre has put together a fascinating site about a fascinating fish – sturgeon. The way the website puts it, the site outlines “Wisconsin’s love affair with an ancient fish.” In addition to some captivating photos, the site provides an array of information with an emphasis on saving Wisconsin’s sturgeon population.

Interesting Sturgeon Facts from the University of Wisconsin – Madison Aquatic Sciences Centre sturgeon site:

  • There are 27 species of sturgeon worldwide
  • Lake sturgeon are native to the Mississippi, Great Lakes and Hudson Bay watersheds.
  • Lake sturgeon are native to the Mississippi, Great Lakes and Hudson Bay watersheds.
  • The Menominee Indians have been People of the Sturgeon for thousands of years and are among the oldest inhabitants of Wisconsin.
  • At one point fifteen train cars of Atlantic sturgeon caviar were sent to New York City every day
  • Dams blocking sturgeon runs proved to be a great threat to sturgeon populations
  • A statewide moratorium on sturgeon fishing went into effect in Wisconsin in 1915 in an an attempt to save the species.
  • Wisconsin Sturgeon populations have rebounded, especially in Lake Winnebego.

Find out more at the U of W – Madison Aquatic Sciences Centre sturgeon website!

Sturgeon rehabilitation efforts on Lake Superior are also making substantial progress, as noted in the following links:

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Wisconsin “Great Waters” Photo Contest

Check out this fun 5 minute video of winning photos from the 2017 “Great Waters” contest.

Photos

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) is seeking Lake Superior, Lake Michigan and Mississippi River photos for submission in their “Great Waters” photo contest.

WDNR is looking for:

  • beautiful shorelines;
  • kids and adults enjoying the lakes and river;
  • cultural and historical features; and
  • lake/river stewardship activities.

Photos in all seasons are needed. Winning photos will be used in the annual “Wisconsin’s Great Waters” calendar and in other DNR publications, presentations, websites and displays.

Photo submission deadline is February 1. Limit three photos per photographer.

Links:

Writing

Help WDNR get the word out about how great Wisconsin’s Great Waters are. Share your favorite writings. You may find your words in our calendar, publications, presentations and displays. (Note: Calendar space limit is about 180 words.) Email your writing submissions by February 1 to:

Please include your name, address, phone number and email address.

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Public Information Sessions on Proposed Thunder Bay Smelter

Two public sessions will provide opportunity for anyone interested in learning about the potential construction and operation of a ferrochrome production facility, or smelter, in the Thunder Bay area. Public information session details follow below:

  • 6 to 8 p.m., Mon., Jan. 15, Fort William First Nation Community Centre, 400 Anemki Drive, Fort William First Nation
  • 7 to 9 p.m., Wed., Jan. 17, Ballroom 1, Valhalla Inn, 1 Valhalla Inn Rd., Thunder Bay.

The sessions are hosted by Fort William First Nation and the Thunder Bay Economic Development Commission and will address the potential to process ore mined by Noront Resources in the “Ring of Fire” area, a  mining district in the James Bay Lowlands, located some 500 km./311 mi. northeast of Thunder Bay. Noront acquires, explores and develops mineral properties with a focus on the Ring of Fire.

Ferrochrome is an alloy of iron and aluminum produced through a high temperature process called carbothermic reaction. The Ring of Fire is considered one of the largest mining reserves in Ontario and proponents cite massive economic potential for up to a hundred years, if mining goes ahead. The Ring of Fire project has seen extensive media coverage over many years, including a focus on potential economic benefits, environmental and social concerns, impacts on First Nations and transportation to and from the remote Ring of Fire area.

Related:

 

 

 

 

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Ice: Complex Change Over Time

Lake Superior Historical Ice Cover.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) provides a graphic animation of Lake Superior ice cover, every year since 1973. Click anywhere on the above graphic to proceed to NOAA’s animation.

Animating Ice Cover

Ice cover is a common topic of conversation for those living near Lake Superior in winter, just as water levels are a common topic in summer. Blanket statements about reduced or increased ice cover may over-simplify the situation on Superior because the long-term trend is actually quite complex.

The Infosuperior site includes a wealth of raw Lake Superior environmental data (water levels, water temperature, historical water temperature, real-time river flow to the lake, bathymetry, etc), including a graphic representation of ice cover. The graphic illustrates changing conditions over time with an image depicting ice coverage for each winter since 1973. The animated data is provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Links:

Change Over Time

Ice cover for the winter of 2017 stood at about 25%. How does this compare with previous years? According to NOAA’s animation, the number of years with very low ice cover, is the same as the number of years with very high ice cover. Take a look at the following chart, utilizing data from NOAA’s animation. Years in bold were either extremely low, or high, depending on the column.

LOW ICE COVER
(near 25%)
HIGH ICE COVER
(near 100%)
1983 1977
1987 1978
1998 1979
1999 1994
2002 1996
2006 2014
2012 2015

If you would like to see historic ice cover conditions for yourself, a link to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s animated graphic is provided above.

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Wetlands Science Conference – February 21/22

Pickerel Weed
Pickerel Weed grows in wetlands across eastern North America.

Wetlands are a rare Lake Superior commodity, especially on the Canadian side. Wetlands are important because of their rich diversity of species and productivity. A wide array of-plants, animals, fish and other aquatic organisms, thrive in wetlands, which also provide valuable nursery habitat for all of the preceding.

The Wisconsin Wetlands Association will be hosting their 2018 Wetland Science Conference, entitled “Wetland Resilience” on February 21st and 22nd in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin.

Conference organizers recently announced their conference program which includes the following elements:

Conference Keynote: Resiliency for Wetlands and Communities: Notes from the Field
Gillian Davies, Senior Ecological Scientist, BSC Group, Inc., and Past President, Society for Wetland Scientists

Plenary Address: Climate Change and Waters of Wisconsin: An Update
John Magnuson, Emeritus Professor and Emeritus Director, UW-Madison Center for Limnology

  • Hydrology & Geomorphology
  • Long Term Restoration and Management
  • Wetland Wildlife
  • Wetland Flora and Plant Life
  • Aquatic Plant Identification Workshop.

Field Trips Include:

  • Connecting People to Nature: Wildlife and Habitat Recovery at UW-Waukesha Field Station
  • Wetlands in Winter: Scuppernong River Habitat Area.

According to the conference website, the annual Wetland Science Conference is, “a 2-day conference where scientists, practitioners, government officials, enthusiasts and others gather to share the latest wetland science and solutions. ”

The site points out that the conference is, “a program of Wisconsin Wetlands Association. WWA is dedicated to the protection, restoration, and enjoyment of wetlands and associated ecosystems through science-based programs, education, and advocacy”.

 

 

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