PERIOR          NORTH SHORE OF LAKE SUPERIORLANS            REMEDIAL ACTION PLANS         thunder bay         r e m e d i ...
I > THUNDER BAY REMEDIAL ACTION PLAN UPDATE
Photo by Zack KruzinsM E S S A G E F R O M T H E CO O R D I N ATO ROn behalf of those involved with the Thunder Bay Remedi...
REMEDIAL AC TION PLAN PROGRAM MEMBERS                                                  T H U N D E R B AY P U B L I C A D ...
Photo by Zack KruzinsEXECUTIVE SUMMARYIn July of 2009, government agencies involved with the Thunder Bay Remedial Action P...
ta b l e o f co n t e n t s	    MESSAGE FROM THE COORDINATOR..................................II	    R AP PROGR AM MEMBERS...
LIST OF TABLES1.0	    Summary of Environmental Issues....................................................................2...
figure              1.0      1 .0 I N T R O D U C T I O N      In July of 2009, government agencies involved with the Thun...
1 .2 S TAT U S O F E N V I R O N M E N TA L I M PA I R M E N T SStage 1 (Definition of Problem) and Stage 2 (Remedial Stra...
1.3 completed remedial projects                                              1               total costs: approx.         ...
N 910                              11                                                        12                           ...
Photo by Lakehead University      1 .4 CO M M U N I T Y I N V O LV E M E N T      Following a six-year hiatus after the co...
2 .0 S C I E N C E  M O N I TO R I N GResearch and monitoring is an important component of the RAP process for understandi...
Action (SM-FWP-1): Fish Community Index Netting Program	             Status: Ongoing Monitoring Initiative (Completed – 20...
Action (SM-FWP-3): Kaministiquia River Lake Sturgeon StudyStatus: Ongoing Monitoring Initiative (2004 - 2011)Proponent: Mi...
Lake sturgeon are listed as “threatened” under Ontario’s Endangered Species Act 2007. As a result of this listing, lake st...
table1.4                         Delisting Criteria - Loss of Fish Habitat        This beneficial use will no longer be im...
In comparison to other contemporary sites within the Thunder Bay Harbour, the NWP area had moderate to high values of fish...
Photo by Ministry of the Environment Action (SM-BBF-1): Assessment of Body Burdens of Fish within Thunder Bay AOC Status: ...
2 .2 S E D I M E N T CO N TA M I N AT I O N      Sediment contamination within the Thunder Bay AOC has been one of the maj...
Subsequently, the Steering Committee contracted AnchorQEA to complete a peer review of the technical feasibilitystudy; the...
Additional studies to characterize the site and existing Mission Bay CDF will be undertaken to assess sediment management ...
Toxicity to invertebrates was observed in the laboratory for some of the more heavily contaminated sites; however it is hy...
2              .2.2 Restrictions on Dredging             Restrictions on Dredging was originally listed as impaired within...
Thunder bay rap update report 2012
Thunder bay rap update report 2012
Thunder bay rap update report 2012
Thunder bay rap update report 2012
Thunder bay rap update report 2012
Thunder bay rap update report 2012
Thunder bay rap update report 2012
Thunder bay rap update report 2012
Thunder bay rap update report 2012
Thunder bay rap update report 2012
Thunder bay rap update report 2012
Thunder bay rap update report 2012
Thunder bay rap update report 2012
Thunder bay rap update report 2012
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Thunder bay rap update report 2012

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This report outlines progress by the Thunder Bay Remedial Action Plan to address environmental impairments in the Thunder Bay Area of Concern.

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Thunder bay rap update report 2012

  1. 1. PERIOR NORTH SHORE OF LAKE SUPERIORLANS REMEDIAL ACTION PLANS thunder bay r e m e d i a l a c t i o n p l a n U P D AT E 2 0 0 9 - 2 0 1 2 UPDATE THUNDER BAY REMEDIAL ACTION PLAN < I
  2. 2. I > THUNDER BAY REMEDIAL ACTION PLAN UPDATE
  3. 3. Photo by Zack KruzinsM E S S A G E F R O M T H E CO O R D I N ATO ROn behalf of those involved with the Thunder Bay Remedial Action Plan, I am pleased to provide you with a copy of the 2009 to2012 program update. We have made great progress over the last four years and I am happy to report that science and monitoringinformation is beginning to reveal signs of ecosystem recovery. Our progress-to-date and the major environmental improvements tothe Thunder Bay harbour can be attributed to all the hard work from our community volunteers and public service representatives. It istruly an achievement to implement such a large-scale collaborative program.I would like to personally thank all of the people who have dedicated their lives and careers to helping improve the environmentalhealth of this area. I would also like to acknowledge the financial support of the Canada Ontario Agreement Respecting the GreatLakes Basin Ecosystem and the Great Lakes Sustainability Fund. We are grateful for the continued commitment from both our federaland provincial governments.The intent of this report is to provide a summary of our progress to a wider community audience. My hope is that the documentreflects the integrated and collaborative nature of the RAP.Sincerely,Aaron A. NicholsonRemedial Action Plan CoordinatorThunder Bay Area of Concern UPDATE THUNDER BAY REMEDIAL ACTION PLAN < I I
  4. 4. REMEDIAL AC TION PLAN PROGRAM MEMBERS T H U N D E R B AY P U B L I C A D V I S O R Y CO M M I T T E E Ashleigh Nicholson Gordon Van Fleet Resolute Forest Products Confederation College Bruce Pritchard Guy Jarvis Lake Superior Discovery Place Thunder Bay Port Authority Carl Taylor Heidi Strobl ERCO Worldwide General Public Chris Walton Ian Dew General Public General Public David Spackman Jane Todd General Public Ontario Power Generation Duncan Hutchison Jean Hall-Armstrong (Co-Chair) General Public Thunder Bay Field Naturalists Frank Edgson (Co-Chair) Matt Roy Northshore Steelhead Association General Public Gerry Heinrichs Samuel Pegg Richardson International General Public T H U N D E R B AY R A P I M P L E M E N TAT I O N CO M M I T T E E Aaron Nicholson Michelle McChristie RAP Coordinator Ministry of the Environment Abby Mackie Neville Ward Thunder Bay District Health Unit Department of Fisheries and Oceans Davis Viehbeck Paul Fayrick Ministry of Natural Resources City of Thunder Bay Ellen Mortfield Robert Stewart EcoSuperior Environmental Programs Lakehead University Jim Vukmanich Tammy Cook City of Thunder Bay Lakehead Region Conservation Authority Kate Taillon Troy Sampson Environment Canada Thunder Bay District Health Unit Kerri Marshall Werner Schwar City of Thunder Bay City of Thunder Bay Marilee Chase Ministry of Natural Resources I I I > THUNDER BAY REMEDIAL ACTION PLAN UPDATE
  5. 5. Photo by Zack KruzinsEXECUTIVE SUMMARYIn July of 2009, government agencies involved with the Thunder Bay Remedial Action Plan (RAP) approached faculty members atLakehead University to assist with implementation of the program. This new relationship resulted in the creation of a full-time RAPCoordinator position housed out of Lakehead University. The primary focus of the RAP Coordinator was to facilitate public involve-ment and coordinate of the RAP Implementation Committee. The purpose of this report is to summarize the progress made since thebeginning of this position and to illustrate the future direction of the Thunder Bay RAP.The Thunder Bay Area of Concern is one of 43 Great Lakes Areas of Concern (AOCs) identified by the governments of Canada andthe United States under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (GLWQA, 1978). These areas are locations where environmentalquality is significantly degraded and Remedial Action Plans (RAPs) have been implemented to guide restoration efforts and ecosys-tem recovery. The Thunder Bay AOC has experienced ecosystem impairments as a result of waterfront development, industrial andmunicipal wastewater discharge, and the hydroelectric development of urban tributaries. The Thunder Bay RAP has completed bothStage 1 (Definition of Problem) and Stage 2 (Remedial Strategies) as outlined by the 1987 amendments to the Great Lakes WaterQuality Agreement.Since the early 1990’s, the Thunder Bay RAP has contributed significantly to improving the environmental health of Thunder Bay and its sur-rounding watershed. Nearly $100M has been spent on wastewater infrastructure upgrades, over $22M on aquatic habitat enhancement, and$68M on wastewater treatment technology. Science and monitoring information is showing that the Thunder Bay Area of Concern is begin-ning to recover from its industrial legacy. Although there has been much progress towards restoring beneficial uses, many issues still remain.Agencies and public representatives involved with the RAP program have been working over the last four years (2009-2012) to successfullycomplete remedial actions and identify any remaining issues that require resolution before delisting could occur. Major remaining remedialactions include the development of a management plan for contaminated sediments at the North Harbour site, implementation of manage-ment plans to remediate non-point sources of pollution, management of bacterial sources at recreational swimming areas, and improvementof access to historical spawning grounds for native fish populations. In collaboration with partner agencies and community members thoseinvoved with the RAP program will work towards implementing the identified remaining remedial actions and finalizing an updated status ofecosystem health. UPDATE THUNDER BAY REMEDIAL ACTION PLAN < I V
  6. 6. ta b l e o f co n t e n t s MESSAGE FROM THE COORDINATOR..................................II R AP PROGR AM MEMBERS..................................................III EXECUTIVE SUMMARY.......................................................IV 1.0 INTRODUC TION.. ......................................................................................... ........... 11.1 Thunder Bay Area of Concern................................................................................................. ..11.2 Status of Environmental Impairments................................................................................. ..21.3 Completed Remedial Projects......................................................................31.4 Community Involvement...............................................................................51.5 Delisting Criteria...........................................................................................5 2.0 SCIENCE & MONITORING...................................................................................... 62.1 Fish Health........................................................................................................................................ 6 2.1.1 Dynamics of Fish Populations.................................................................................. 6 2.1.2 Loss of Fish Habitat.........................................................................9 2.1.3 Fish Consumption Restrictions..............................................................................11 2.1.4 Body Burdens of Fish.................................................................................................11 2.1.5 Fish Tumours and Other Deformities..................................................................122.2 Sediment Contamination.........................................................................................................13 2.2.1 Degradation of Benthos...........................................................................................13 2.2.2 Restrictions on Dredging...............................................................172.3 Water Quality.................................................................................................................................17 2.3.1 Beach Advisories.........................................................................................................17 2.3.2 Degradation of Phytoplankton & Zooplankton..............................................19 2.3.3 Degradation of Aesthetics......................................................................................192.4 Wildlife. 20 2.4.1 Dynamics of Wildlife Populations.........................................................................20 2.4.2 Loss of Wildlife Habitat.............................................................................................21 2.4.3 Contaminant Levels in Wildlife..............................................................................222.5 Science & Monitoring Summary.............................................................................................233.0 REMAINING REMEDIAL AC TIONS....................................................................... 253.1 Contaminated Sediment at North Harbour Site........................................253.2 Remaining Non-Point Sources of Contaminants........................................253.3 Beach Advisories - Chippewa Beach & Boulevard Lake............................253.4 Recovery of Native Fish Species................................................................264.0 CONCLUSIONS.. . . .................................................................................................. 264.1 Future Direction.........................................................................................265.0 REFERENCES...................................................................276.0 LIST OF ACRONYMS.........................................................29
  7. 7. LIST OF TABLES1.0 Summary of Environmental Issues....................................................................21.1 Delisting Criteria - Fish Populations.................................................................61.2 Number of MNR FCIN net sets in Thunder Bay (2009-2011)...........................71.3 Current River walleye spawning population estimates....................................91.4 Delisting Criteria - Fish Habitat.......................................................................101.5 Delisting Criteria - Fish Consumption.............................................................111.6 Delisting Criteria - Fish Body Burdens............................................................111.7 Delisting Criteria - FishTumours......................................................................121.8 Delisting Criteria - Benthos.............................................................................131.9 Common Sediment Management Options.....................................................142.0 Delisting Criteria - Beach Advisories...............................................................182.1 Delisting Criteria - Aesthetics..........................................................................202.2 Delisting Criteria - Wildlife Population............................................................202.3 Delisting Criteria - Wildlife Habitat..................................................................212.4 Delisting Criteria - Contaminant Levels in Wildlife..........................................222.5 Science & Monitoring Actions.........................................................................23 LIST OF FIGURES1.0 Thunder Bay Area of Concern..........................................................................11.1 Delisting Criteria Review Process.....................................................................51.2 Day larvae were captured drifting downstream (2004-2011)...........................8 UPDATE THUNDER BAY REMEDIAL ACTION PLAN < V I
  8. 8. figure 1.0 1 .0 I N T R O D U C T I O N In July of 2009, government agencies involved with the Thunder Bay Remedial Action Plan (RAP) approached faculty members at Lakehead University to assist with implementation of the program. This new relationship resulted in the creation of a full-time RAP Coordinator position housed out of Lakehead University. The primary focus of the RAP Coordinator was to facilitate public involvement and coordination of the RAP Implementation Committee. The purpose of this report is to summarize the progress made since the beginning of this position, and to illustrate the future direction of the Thunder Bay RAP. 1 .1 T H U N D E R B AY A R E A O F CO N C E R N The Thunder Bay Area of Concern is one of 43 Great Lakes Areas of Concern (AOCs) identified by the governments of Canada and the United States under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (GLWQA, 1978). These areas are locations where environmental quality is significantly degraded, so as to affect the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the waters of the Great Lakes Basin, requiring Remedial Action Plans (RAPs) to guide restoration efforts and ecosystem recovery. These RAPs guide restoration and protection through three stages: STAGE 1 Identify environmental problems and sources of pollution. STAGE 2 Evaluate and carry out actions to restore the area. STAGE 3 Confirm that these actions have been effective and that the environment has been restored. The Thunder Bay Area of Concern has experienced ecosystem impairments as a result of urbanization along the waterfront, industrial and mu- nicipal wastewater discharge, and the hydroelectric development of its urban tributaries. Thunder Bay is a heavely industrialized city, including significant developments from the pulp and paper industry. Thunder Bay is located in Northwestern Lake Superior and is one of four contami- nated sites identified along the Canadian North Shore. The boundaries of the AOC extend 28 km along the shoreline and 9 km off shore, includ- ing the Welcome Islands. There are five major tributaries that drain into Lake Superior within these boundaries, including the Kaministiquia, Neebing, McIntyre, and Current Rivers and McVicar Creek.1 THUNDER BAY REMEDIAL ACTION PLAN UPDATE
  9. 9. 1 .2 S TAT U S O F E N V I R O N M E N TA L I M PA I R M E N T SStage 1 (Definition of Problem) and Stage 2 (Remedial Strategies) of the Thunder Bay Remedial Action Plan (RAP) have been com-pleted as outlined by the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement of 1978 and its 1987 amendments. Since the early 1990’s, the ThunderBay RAP has contributed significantly to improving the environmental health of Thunder Bay and the surrounding watersheds. Nearly$100M has been spent on wastewater infrastructure upgrades, over $22M on aquatic habitat enhancement, and $68M on wastewatertreatment technology. Since completetion of the Stage 2 report, agencies and public representatives involved with the RAP have beenworking to review remedial success and identify any remaining issues that require resolution before delisting could occur. The follow-ing table (1.0) provides a summary of past and current environmental issues for the Thunder Bay AOC. table 1.0 Summary of Environmental Issues Environmental Issue 1991 Status 2004 Status 2011 Status (Stage 1) (Stage 2) (Update) Impairments to Fish Health Dynamics of Fish Populations I I I Loss of Fish Habitat I I I Fish Consumption Restrictions I I RFA Fish Tumours Other Deformities I I RFA Impairments to Sediment Quality Degradation of Benthos I I I Restrictions on Navigational Dredging I I *NI Impairments to Water Quality Restrictions on Drinking Water Consumption NI NI NI or taste and odour problems Excess nutrients and/or undesirable algae NI NI NI Added cost to agriculture and industry NI NI NI Beach Advisories I I I Degradation of Zooplankton Phytoplank- I I RFA ton Degradation of Aesthetics I I I Impairments to Wildlife Wildlife Consumption Restrictions NI NI NI Bird and Animal Deformities or Reproductive RFA NI RFA problems Loss of Wildlife Habitat I I I Dynamics of Wildife Populations I I I I = Impaired, NI = Not Impaired/No Longer Impaired, RFA = Requires Further Assessment, Asterisk* = Proposed Designiation UPDATE THUNDER BAY REMEDIAL ACTION PLAN 2
  10. 10. 1.3 completed remedial projects 1 total costs: approx. $165.6 million *refer to Stage 2 RAP report for detail 2 3 4 6 7 8 5 Lak e Su pe r io r Remedial Project (*Stage 2 Ref.#) Project Costs Secondary Treatment at the Resolute Pulp and Paper Mill (*PS-1) Approximately 1 Proponent: Resolute Forest Products Inc. (formerly Bowater) $68 million. Secondary Treatment at Abitibi - Consolidated (*PS-4) Not Available 2 Proponent: Abitibi - Consolidated Redesign Waterfront Park to Protect and Enhance Shoreline of the Kaministiquia River (*FWH-4) Estimated $1.5 3 Proponent: Lake Superior Programs Office, Environment Canada (EC) million. Redirect Stormwater Outlet and Oil Separator Discharge at CPR (*PS-5) Not Available 4 Proponent: Canadian Pacific Railway Improvements at Chippewa Park (*PS-3) Approx. $750,000 5 Proponent: City of Thunder Bay Developments at Ontario Power Generation - Thunder Bay Generating Station (*PS-3) Not Available 6 Proponent: Ontario Power Generation (OPG) Creation of Embayments in the McKellar River to Restore Productive Littoral Habitat (*FWH-5) Construction: 7 Proponent: EC, Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR), Ministry of the Environment (MOE), Department of Fisheries $607,800. and Oceans (DFO) Upgrades at Thunder Bay Terminals (*PS-2) Not Available 8 Proponent: Thunder Bay Terminals3 THUNDER BAY REMEDIAL ACTION PLAN UPDATE
  11. 11. N 910 11 12 14 13 15 Remedial Project (*Stage 2 Ref. #) Project Costs Alteration of Shoreline to Restore Habitat Diversity at the Neebing-McIntyre Floodway (*FWH-2) $109,889 for 9 Proponent: EC, MNR, MOE, and DFO construction. Secondary Treatment at Water Pollution Control Plant (*PS-6) $73.6M for 10 Proponent: City of Thunder Bay, EC, MOE, and Infrastucture Canada (IC) upgrade to secondary Northern Wood Preservers Alternative Remediation Concept (NOWPARC) Project (*NPS-1) Approximately 11 Proponent: Abitibi-Consolidated Inc., Canadian National Railway Co., Northern Sawmills Inc., MOE, and EC $20 million. Island Creation and Habitat Rehabilitation at the Mouth of McVicar Creek (*FWH-3) Phase I: $215,000. 12 Proponent: EC, MNR, MOE, and DFO Phase II: $380,000. Rehabilitation of Degraded Walleye Spawning Habitat at the Current River Estuary (*FWH-1) $37,500 for 13 Proponent: EC, MNR, MOE, and DFO construction. Improving Salmonid Access to the Upper Reaches of the Current River (*FWH-6) Fish ladder 14 Proponent: DFO, LRCA, MNR, North Shore Steelhead Association (NSSA) $344,000. Pools: $62,500. Process Improvements at Smurfit-Stone Container Canada Inc. (*PS-8) Not Available 15 Proponent: Smurfit-Stone Container Canada Inc. UPDATE THUNDER BAY REMEDIAL ACTION PLAN 4
  12. 12. Photo by Lakehead University 1 .4 CO M M U N I T Y I N V O LV E M E N T Following a six-year hiatus after the completion of the Thunder Bay Stage 2 Report, the Thunder Bay Public Advisory Committee (PAC) was re-established in September of 2009. Over the next four years, the PAC focused their attention on implementing remedial actions, science and monitoring information, and providing recommendations on future direction of the program. The PAC is made up of individuals from various community and environmental organizations, industry stakeholders, public and com- munity members. Since the PAC was re-established, the committee has organized into five subcommittees to more systematically address the remaining BUIs. Each of these subcommittees has focused on reviewing the remedial actions and monitoring needs outlined in the Stage 2 RAP report. Updates on the status and success of these remedial actions were presented to the PAC during monthly meetings held between 2009 and 2012. The resulting recommendations made by the PAC have outlined a community-sup- ported direction for the Thunder Bay RAP program. These recommendations have been integrated into the remedial action planning process and are reflected in the monitoring and science decisions outlined in this document. 1 .5 D E L I S T I N G C R I T E R I A Delisting criteria are a collection of environmental targets that allow scientists to evaluate remedial success as it relates to individual beneficial use impairments (BUIs). Many of these criteria use the principle of comparison, such as a regulation or guideline, a locally derived risk-based target, or an appropriate reference site outside the AOC. It is the RAP Implementation Committee’s responsibility to ensure the adopted delisting criteria are representative of the original reason for impairment, reflect impact from local sources, and allow for a measurable and achievable endpoint. An important principle identified for delisting an AOC is that it is no longer more degraded than the surrounding or a comparable area (e.g. lakewide conditions) in the Great Lakes basin. When developing restoration targets for the Thunder Bay AOC a delisting criteria review process was used to ensure that adopted criteria were not only scientifically defensible but were also supported and endorsed by local community members. Members of the RAP Implementation Committee prepared draft delisting criteria for review and comment by the RAPIC and PAC. (figure 1.1). If agree- able, the criteria were adopted as restoration targets for the program. Criteria that are not yet endorsed by all parties are identified in the document as “proposed”. figure 1.1 BUI Lead Agency Produces draft delisting criteria RAP Implementation Committee Reviews draft criteria (endorse/revise) Public Advisory Committee Reviews draft criteria (endorse/revise) RAP Implementation Committee Finalize criteria for distribution5 THUNDER BAY REMEDIAL ACTION PLAN UPDATE
  13. 13. 2 .0 S C I E N C E M O N I TO R I N GResearch and monitoring is an important component of the RAP process for understanding and measuring the success of restorationefforts. Government agencies and partner organizations involved with the RAP program are working towards filling information gaps tobetter understand the status and recovery of ecosystem impairments within the Thunder Bay Area of Concern. Relevant research and a briefsynopsis of research results are provided in the following section. Sections are organized according to RAP working groups including; fishhealth, sediment quality, water quality, and wildlife. Each science and monitoring action has been given a RAP identification number. Thesenumbers are used to organize and track the recovery of each BUI. Identification numbers have three components; action type, applicableBUI, and reference number. The action type for each project listed is either SM (Science Monitoring)or RA (Remedial Action). ApplicableBUIs include, FWP (Dynamics of Fish Wildlife Populations), FWH (Loss of Fish Wildlife Habitat), FCR (Fish Consumption Restrictions),FBB (Fish Body Burdens), FTD (Fish Tumours and other Deformities), DB (Degradation of Benthos), BA (Beach Advisories), PZP (Degrada-tion of Phytoplankton and Zooplankton Populations), DA (Degradation of Aesthetics), and CLW (Contaminant Levels in Wildlife). Due tothe overwhelming need for general monitoring actions, which are not focused specifically on measuring the success of any single remedialaction, identification codes for ecosystem monitoring have been altered from those used in the stage 2 report to reflect target BUIs.2 .1 F I S H H E A LT HThe degradation of fish habitat in the Thunder Bay AOC is a result of urbanization, industrial growth, waterfront development, dredging,channelization and pollution from municipal and industrial effluent. These impacts on the quality and quantity of fish habitat have in turnnegatively affected fish populations resulting in the reduction of species diversity and abundance. The projects described below representongoing efforts to monitor and remediate these ecosystem impairments. 2 .1.1 Dynamics of Fish Populations Dynamics of fish populations was initially listed as impaired due to organic enrichment, decreased dissolved oxygen levels, increased water temperatures resulting in periodic fish kills on the Kaministiquia River, and a change in fish community structure above and be- low the Bowater outfall (Vander Wal et al. 2004). The lower Kaministiquia River has undergone significant changes in the past 20 years as a result of a combination of strict environmental regulations limiting effluent discharges, ceasing river log drives, and reducing shipping traffic, which has reduced the need for dredging. Since dynamics of fish populations was originally designated as impaired, the strategy for assessing and managing this BUI has changed. Current focus has expanded beyond specific impairments relating to Kaministiquia River fish migration, to understanding AOC-wide fish community structure. table 1.1 Delisting Criteria - Degradation of Fish Populations Fish populations will no longer be impaired when the fish community within the AOC has the following characteristics, as observed by the MNR Fish Community Index Netting (FCIN) program. The fish community within the Thunder Bay AOC should be similar to nearshore (0–80 m deep) fish communities adjacent to the AOC for a minimum of three consecutive years, as measured by the relative abundance (Catch Per Unit Effort) and species composition of the fish community. Also, the nearshore fish community should be dominated by self-sustaining populations of native species showing the following characteristics: *Lake Trout • The mean age of lake trout is greater than eight years. • The length at age of seven-year old lake trout caught in the FCIN or harvested by the commercial fishery is stable and greater than 430 mm. • The FCIN and/or commercial catch is dominated by mature fish and many age classes. *Lake Whitefish • Population capable of supporting a commercial fishery with sustainable yields that do not exceed 0.51 kg/ha/yr (Busiahn 1990) • Maximum total annual mortality does not exceed 60-65%. • Average age in the catch should be two years older than the age at which 50% of the population matures. *Lake Sturgeon, Walleye and Brook Trout The overall understanding of the population dynamics of these native species within Thunder Bay is limited, therefore it is difficult to establish population criteria. Efforts are currently underway to better understand these species and their habitat use within Thunder Bay and its tributaries. As a result, criteria that reflect lake sturgeon, walleye, and brook trout populations are covered under the loss of habitat delisting criteria. UPDATE THUNDER BAY REMEDIAL ACTION PLAN 6
  14. 14. Action (SM-FWP-1): Fish Community Index Netting Program Status: Ongoing Monitoring Initiative (Completed – 2009 to 2012) Proponent: Ministry of Natural Resources (Upper Great Lakes Management Unit) with support from Environment Canada Cost: $16,000/year In 2009, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) Upper Great Lakes Management Unit (UGLMU) established the Fish Com- munity Index Netting (FCIN) program on Lake Superior. This program provides independent fisheries trend-through-time information on the fish community, with particular emphasis on lake trout and lake whitefish, both of which are commercially important species. The FCIN program reflects the shift from a single species approach to an ecosystem-based fish community approach. The FCIN program also serves as a monitoring tool to track the dynamics of fish populations and their recovery within the Thunder Bay Area of Concern. Since 2009, 80 sites have been sampled within Thunder Bay, 31 of which have been within the AOC (Table 1.2). table 1.2 YEAR Inside AOC Outside AOC TOTAL 2009 8 16 24 2010 14 18 32 2011 9 15 24 Number of MNR FCIN Net sets in Thunder Bay (2009 - 2011). The FCIN uses a stratified random sampling design that ensures sampling coverage based on the surface area across four prede- termined depth strata: 0-30 m, 30-60 m, 60-90 m and 90 m. The FCIN consists of overnight sets using graded-mesh monofilament gillnets 1000 ft in length, set perpendicular to the depth contour to maximize catch and reduce the variability between catches. These nets catch a wide variety of sizes, ages, and species of fish. All fish caught were counted and recorded. Biological information was col- lected from the catch and included length (mm), round weight (g), age, sex, and maturity. Action (SM-FWP-2): Kaministiquia River Walleye Radio Telemetry Project Status: Ongoing Monitoring Initiative (Com- pleted – 2009 to 2012) Proponent: Ministry of Natural Resources (Upper Great Lakes Management Unit) with support from Environment Canada Cost: $120,000 over three years Photo by Ministry of Natural Resources T his is a multi-year project initiated in 2009 to document the seasonal distribution and movement patterns of adult walleye within the Kaministiquia River using radio telemetry. This will help identify critical habitats and migration routes within the river and also help demonstrate whether water quality barriers to fish migration exist. Milestones for this project include: • 2010-11: Implanted radio transmitters into 23 adult walleye; transmitters have a life of at least 543 days. • 2011-12: Installed five shoreline-based data loggers in order to scan tag frequencies via two antennas at each station; monitored individual walleye movements and spawning migration patterns by downloading data loggers weekly and tracking by boat and on land via hand held antenna and receiver daily during the walleye staging and spawning period. • 2012-13: Continue tracking walleye throughout the 2012 field season and maintain data collection until the tags expire (spring to summer) and prepare final report (winter).7 THUNDER BAY REMEDIAL ACTION PLAN UPDATE
  15. 15. Action (SM-FWP-3): Kaministiquia River Lake Sturgeon StudyStatus: Ongoing Monitoring Initiative (2004 - 2011)Proponent: Ministry of Natural Resources (Upper Great Lakes ManagementUnit Northwest Science and Information)Cost: $33,000/year During the Kaministiquia River Water Management Planning process, theMinistry of Natural Resources (MNR) identified two issues concerning watermanagement practices at Kakabeka Falls. The first was access of adultsturgeon to their historical spawning site at the base of Kakabeka Falls; thesecond was stranding of adults between the falls and the generating station.In 2003, the Water Management Plan Steering Committee established aResearch and Data Gathering Agreement to study sturgeon movements (ac- Photo by Ministry of Natural Resourcescess) and spawning success under different spill flows in order to determinesuitable flow conditions for reproduction (access, egg deposition, incuba-tion, hatch, and larval drift). Studies have been conducted annually from2004 to 2011.From 2004 to 2006, flow over Kakabeka Falls was provided to allow sturgeonaccess to the spawning site at the base of Kakabeka Falls. Studies conducted ineach of these years indicated that adult sturgeon reached the spawning site andspawned successfully during flows of 23 m3∙s-1 and 17 m3∙s-1. In 2007 lake stur-geon movements and reproduction during scenic flows were examined and itwas found that sturgeon spawned upstream and downstream of the generatingstation. In 2008 and 2009, an attempt was made to examine another flow condi-tion (14 m3∙s-1) to determine if migration to the base of the falls and successfulspawning would occur. Due to high water conditions, however, spill flow couldnot be controlled at 14 m3∙s-1 during these years. In 2010, lake sturgeon spawningmigrations and reproductive success were examined during controlled flows of 14 m3∙s-1, and it was found that sturgeon spawned upstreamand downstream of the generating station. Adult sturgeon reached the spawning site below the falls and spawned successfully during meandaily spill flows of 14.6 m3∙s-1 and 16.6 m3∙s-1.The period when larvae drift downstream from the spawning site is variable, depending on spawning times and water temperatureduring incubation. Larvae was documented drifting downstream from the spawning site from May 31 to July 20 (figure 1.2) duringflows that ranged from 14.7 to 177 m3∙s-1.In 2011, another attempt was made to examine lake sturgeon spawning migrations and reproductive success during controlled spillflows of 14 m3∙s-1. Spill was provided from May 15 to June 26, with a 4 day taper to scenic flows. Only two of the 25 sturgeon ra-dio tagged in 2011 migrated to Kakabeka Falls. These fish arrived at Kakabeka on May 15 (14.7°C) and May 18 (14.8°C) during totalriver flows that ranged from 32 to 58 m3∙s-1. One sturgeon accessed the base of the falls during controlled spill of 14.7 m3∙s-1 andmigrated back downstream during controlled spill of 16.3 m3∙s-1. The other sturgeon accessed the base of the falls during controlledspill of 14.8 m3∙s-1 and migrated back downstream during controlled spill of 14.5 m3∙s-1. figure 1.2 Days during which larvae were captured drifting downstream from Kakabeka Falls, 2004 to 2011. UPDATE THUNDER BAY REMEDIAL ACTION PLAN 8
  16. 16. Lake sturgeon are listed as “threatened” under Ontario’s Endangered Species Act 2007. As a result of this listing, lake sturgeon and their habitats receive special protection. It is unlawful to kill, harm, or harass the species or damage or destroy habitat, which the sp- cies depends on to carry out its life processes (i.e. spawning habitat). MNR and Ontario Power Generation (OPG) will be reviewing the results of this eight-year study, and will use the information to improve spawning conditions for lake sturgeon at Kakabeka Falls. Action (SM-FWP-4): Current River Walleye Assessment Status: Ongoing Monitoring Initiative (Completed – 1991 to 1993, 2010 to 2012) Proponent: Ministry of Natural Resources (Upper Great Lakes Management Unit) Cost: $10,000/year The mouth of Current River is a known historical spawning site for walleye within the Thunder Bay harbour. In 1984, however, the construction of the federal docks contributed to a loss of spawning habitat due to navigational dredging. Further degradation has occurred due to railway and shipping-related development. As compensation for habitat loss, artificial spawning habitat was installed at a nearby location at the mouth of the Current River in 1991 (Geiling 1995). The Thunder Bay Remedial Action Plan (RAP) includes prescribed monitoring actions to “fill baseline information gaps wherever possible and track progress on re- storing the fish and wildlife beneficial uses” (Vander Wal et al. 2004, pg.51). For this reason the spawning population of walleye at the mouth of the Current River has been periodically assessed, using a mark-recapture protocol, initially in 1991-1993 by the MNR Lake Superior Programs Office (LSPO) (Geiling et al. 1996), with a follow-up study in 1999-2000 by the MNR Upper Great Lakes Management Unit (Schmidt and Friday 2000). The current study (2010-2012) is the third in this series of spawning assessments (Bobrowicz 2011) (table 1.3). Pre-spawning and spawning walleye were captured alive using a 1.8 m (6 ft) trapnet with a 60 m (200 ft) lead situated on the south shore of the main island at the estuary of the Current River. The trapnet was lifted every 24 hours. All walleye were sampled (length, weight, sex, gonad development) and tagged with a T-bar anchor tag (“Floy tag”) embedded in the dorsal musculature. Aging structures were collected (scales, dorsal spines), and aging of individual fish was completed at the MNR aging laboratory in Dryden. The removal of the first three dorsal spines also served as a redundant marking for fish captured in 2010. In addition to the dorsal spines, fish captured in 2011 were given a left pectoral clip as a distinguishing mark. All walleye were released alive. The spawning population for 2010 was estimated at 364 ±80 (R. Bobrowski, MNR, personal communication). Population estimates for 1972, 1999, and 2000 are not available due to low sample sizes and inconsistency in sampling years. Population estimate for 2011 will be calculated based on the number of recaptures in the 2012 netting project. table YEAR 1.3 Population Estimate Estimation Method 1991* 1167 (938-1544) Schumacher 1992* 1188 (923-1668) Schumacher 1993* 1485 (1098-2293) Schumacher 2010** 364 (284-444) Chapman-Peterson Current River walleye spawning population estimates based on mark recapture data (range in parentheses). *From Geiling et al. (1996). ** Population estimate based on limited sample size. A more accurate representation of population size should be available in 2013. The concluding round of mark-recapture trapnetting in this phase of the Current River walleye assessment was conducted in the spring of 2012. 2 .1.2 Loss of Fish Habitat Dynamic fish and wildlife habitat degradation within the Thunder Bay AOC has resulted in a loss of species abundance and diversity, reduced recreational opportunities, and a decline in the aesthetic value of the harbour and its tributaries. To date, habitat enhancement projects have restored and created nearshore aquatic habitat, stabilized wetlands, restored riverine diversity, and increased abundance of fish and wildlife populations. Although a large portion of fish and wildlife habitat has now been restored, issues still exist that require further resolution. 9 THUNDER BAY REMEDIAL ACTION PLAN UPDATE
  17. 17. table1.4 Delisting Criteria - Loss of Fish Habitat This beneficial use will no longer be impaired when the following habitat-related projects from the Thunder Bay Stage 2 RAP Report (2004) have been completed, evaluated for effectiveness, and areas support diverse self-sustaining biological communities: • Alleviation of water quality barriers to fish migration in the Kaministiquia River • Re-vegetation projects in McVicar Creek and McKellar River • Habitat improvements associated with the creation of Sanctuary Island at the mouth of McVicar Creek • Habitat remediation on McKellar River • Rehabilitation of walleye spawning habitat at Current River Estuary • Improving salmonid access to the upper reaches of the Current River • Implement the Slate River Watershed Management Plan • Monitoring to support lake sturgeon rehabilitation strategy • Implement plan for shoreline naturalization within the Thunder Bay AOC In addition to the Stage 2 RAP projects, the following should also be completed: • Remaining and created wetlands are protected from further degradation through existing environmental legislation, with provincial standards used to inventory and classify wetlands within the Thunder Bay AOC • Provide unrestricted access to critical spawning habitat by providing adequate flow in the Kaministiquia River • Ensure that native fish populations are not negatively affected by industrial water-use practices, including water intake and discharge Action (SM-FWH-1): Fish Habitat Classification and Assessment Status: Planned for 2012 Proponent: Environment Canada with support from Ministry of Natural Resources (Upper Great Lakes Management Unit) Cost: $30,000 Important information on fish habitat quality and quantity can be determined by identifying and mapping the lakebed characteristics. Assess- ment of the availability of fish habitat in the AOC will indicate the success of previous habitat restoration projects in restoring this beneficial use. This project will provide information about the extent and quality of fish habitat in the form of a ground truthed dataset developed by EC and a summary report reviewed by the MNR. Milestones for this project include: • Completion of monitoring field work for the assessment of the substrate, which will include examining components of cobble and gravel areas for sediment and/or organic material • Classification and assessment of lake bottom (submerged) substrates to determine the amount of fish habitat for each life stage • Creation of substrate and bathymetry maps that show fish habitat classification and availability Action (SM-FWH-2): Northern Wood Preservers Alternative Remediation Concept (NOWPARC) Fish Community Comparison Status: Completed Monitoring Initiative (2005-2006) Proponent: Ministry of Natural Resources (Upper Great Lakes Management Unit) and Department of Fisheries and Oceans Cost: Not Available In 2004 and 2006, the MNR conducted a study to assess and compare the fish community around the Northern Wood Preservers (NWP) Inc. property with contemporary fish communities at four other sites within the Thunder Bay Harbour, as well as with pre-reme- diation (1986) data from around the NWP property (Parker et al. 2008). Sampling sites included two additional remediation locations: the mouth of McVicar Creek, and the McKellar River embayment. Fish communities were sampled using a combination of boat and backpack electrofishing, seine netting, and minnow trapping. Sampling techniques varied drastically in their effectiveness with boat electrofishing and seine netting capturing the greatest number of fish and species. UPDATE THUNDER BAY REMEDIAL ACTION PLAN 1 0
  18. 18. In comparison to other contemporary sites within the Thunder Bay Harbour, the NWP area had moderate to high values of fish diver- sity and low to moderate fish abundance. The contemporary relative abundance of fish at NWP was well within the range reported for 18 sites that were sampled prior to remedial actions (1986). The McKellar River embayment remediation project in particular shows no- tably high relative abundance values when compared to both contemporary and historical data. These results suggest that suitability of fish habitat around the restored areas of NWP is similar to that of other sites within the Thunder Bay Harbour. Given that remedial actions were not concluded until 2003, any responses by the fish community around the NWP property are likely ongoing and will require future sampling. 2 .1.3 Fish Consumption Restrictions In the outer harbour, consumption is restricted for lake trout 35 cm (toxaphene), walleye 55 cm (mercury), northern pike 65 cm (mercury), whitefish 45 cm (toxaphene), carp 65 cm (PCBs), and longnose suckers 45 cm (mercury) (MOE 1999). In the inner har- bour of Thunder Bay, fish consumption is restricted for walleye 45 cm (mercury), northern pike 75 cm (mercury), round whitefish 45 cm (mercury), carp 65 cm (PCBs), and white suckers 45 cm (mercury). table 1.5 Delisting Criteria - Fish Consumption Restrictions This beneficial use will no longer be impaired when the fish consumption advisories in the AOC (inner and outer Har- bour) are no more restrictive than the advisories for the same contaminants in an open water reference site (Schreiber Point to Sewell Point – Block 7), based on samples collected in the same time frame ( 5 years) for a minimum of two consecutive studies. Action (SM-FCR-1): Statistical Analysis of Fish Consumption Advisory Data Status: Planned for 2012 Proponent: Ministry of the Environment Cost: $15,000 A statistical analysis was conducted to compare fish contaminant levels in the Thunder Bay AOC with that from reference sites and de- termine trends over time. Data was insufficient to make an accurate assessment of long-term trends, and therefore a follow up study is planned to expand the fish consumption data set for both the Thunder Bay AOC and its Lake Superior reference site. The MOE will continue to monitor and compare consumption advisories and contaminants in sport fish collected during the same time period from the inner and outer harbour and appropriate reference sites, such as the open water area from Schreiber Point to Sewell Point (Block 7 in the Guide to Eating Ontario Sport Fish) (MOE Sport Fish Contaminant Monitoring Program). 2 .1.4 Body Burdens of Fish Lake trout and white sucker populations have exhibited reductions in body burdens of dioxins (Vander Wal et al. 2004). PCB levels in lake trout and whitefish still exceed guidelines for the protection of organisms that consume fish (Vander Wal et al. 2004). table 1.6 Delisting Criteria - Body Burdens of Fish young-of-the-year fish(7 cm) can be used as a line of evidence in determining fish consumption advisories. restrictions on fish consumption will no longer be listed as an impairment when contaminant levels in young-of-year fish (7 cm) collected within the AOC exhibit declining or stable concentrations, and have lower or equivalent contaminant levels to young-of-year fish collected at a suitable reference site for a minimum of two consecutive studies. Note: An appropriate reference site is in the process of being established through a criteria-based approach. Site selection will take into consid- eration both environmental characteristics of the AOC as well as existing land-use practices. The main focus of the ‘body burdens of fish’ BUI is to assess local conditions. Young-of-the-Year (YOY) fish are the best surrogates for this BUI as they dwell in the nearshore and do not travel great distances. Measuring contaminants in YOY tissue generally provides an indication of the local conditions and/or point sources. However, the caveat to assessing YOY is that often the contaminant levels observed in tissue are not at a level of concern, as the young fish do not ac- cumulate enough contaminant in the first year. As such, adequate reference sites, as well as multiple lines of evidence (e.g., sport fish tissue), are required for comparisons and assessments.1 1 THUNDER BAY REMEDIAL ACTION PLAN UPDATE
  19. 19. Photo by Ministry of the Environment Action (SM-BBF-1): Assessment of Body Burdens of Fish within Thunder Bay AOC Status: Data collected in 2011 Analysis Planned for 2012 Proponent: Ministry of the Environment Cost: Not Available During the 2011 sampling season a study was conducted to monitor and compare contaminants in young-of-the-year (YOY) and for- age fish, such as white sucker, collected from the Thunder Bay AOC and an appropriate reference site. As small fish are unlikely to be found in the open water reference sites used for the sport fish analysis, an alternative reference site will be selected. 2 .1.5 Fish Tumours and Other Deformities In the 1980s, tumours in wild fish populations were found in multiple Great Lakes Areas of Concern (AOCs), including elevated occur- rences in the Thunder Bay AOC. Studies by Environment Canada over 20 years ago showed that white suckers (Catostomus commer- soni) around Thunder Bay had a liver tumour (neoplasm) prevalence rate of 7.1%. When compared with a reference site at Mountain Bay, which had a prevalence rate of only 2.6%, these values were consider unusually high and prompted fish tumours to be designated as impaired under the Remedial Action Plan (RAP) program in the early 1990s. In 2006-07, Environment Canada reassessed white suckers from the AOC and found the tumour prevalence rate to be 2%, a 5.1% decrease from some twenty years prior. In addition, the Thunder Bay fish were not significantly different from white suckers sampled at the Mountain Bay reference location. However, although the results are encouraging, the age of the specimens collected in 2006 were relatively young (median age was five years younger than the reference location) and therefore relatively low tumour rates are to be expected. Although this study limitation was partially offset by having more numerous liver sections examined, the RAP team rec- ommended a follow-up survey to verify this low tumour rate. table1.7 Delisting Criteria - Fish Tumours Other Deformities This BUI will no longer be impaired when a survey of 100 white suckers (Catostomus commersoni) - and more if avail able - encompassing a diverse age range indicates a liver tumour prevalence rate of less than 5%. Action (SM-FTD-1): Thunder Bay AOC Fish Tumour Assessment Status: Planned for 2013 Proponent: Environment Canada with support from Fisheries Oceans Canada (Winnipeg lab) Cost: $70,000 Tumours in fish were an impaired beneficial use at many AOCs. Environment Canada scientists have assessed liver tumours and external and internal DELTs (deformities, erosions, lesions, and tumours) at most Canadian AOCs (Baumann 2010a). This assessment found that follow-up work was required at the Thunder Bay AOC. Completion of the tumour assessments will enable us to assess the tumour BUI at individual AOCs and will also permit comparisons of tumour rates across Canadian AOCs. It will also facilitate the creation of a Great Lakes tumor database for comparison of background tumour rates and as a reference aid for reliable diagnostics which will be critical as the move is made into recovery monitoring at the Canadian AOC sites. In the Thunder Bay AOC, Environment Canada will conduct the field sampling in 2013, while the Depart- ment of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) will perform the tumour assessment and diagnoses. Environment Canada will then develop the summary report. The main products of this project will be the publication of tumour assessment data for Canadian AOCs, the creation of a fish tumour database for the Great Lakes Basin, and either the completion of the tumour assessment for Thunder Bay AOC or identifcation of areas requir- ing follow-up studies or actions. The reference tumour database will play a key role in the monitoring of tumour rates in areas in recovery. UPDATE THUNDER BAY REMEDIAL ACTION PLAN 1 2
  20. 20. 2 .2 S E D I M E N T CO N TA M I N AT I O N Sediment contamination within the Thunder Bay AOC has been one of the major causes of environmental impairments within the area. Historical degradation of sediment quality and benthic community structure have been observed below the AbitibiBowater outfall in the Kaministiquia River, near the former Northern Wood Preservers site in the intercity harbour, and around the North Harbour Industrial Site (RAP Stage 1 1991). Since these original findings, significant improvements have been made through both remedial actions and effluent treatment technology, including the successful completion of the Northern Wood Preservers Alternative Remediation Concept (NOWPARC) Project. For our purposes, the following beneficial use impairments (BUIs) will be addressed through this section: Degrada- tion of Benthos and Restrictions on Dredging Activities. 2.2.1 Degradation of Benthos table 1.8 Delisting Criteria - Degradation of Benthos Benthic community impairments were originally identified in three locations within the Thunder Bay Area of Concern: the Kaministiquia River, the area adjacent to the Northern Wood Preservers (NWP) property, and the area adjacent to the former Cascades Fine Paper property (“North Harbour”). Each of the identified sites has its own unique character- istics, contaminants of concern, and prescribed management action, and therefore requires distinct delisting criteria. Lower Kaministiquia River (including Mission McKeller Rivers): This BUI will no longer be impaired when monitoring data indicates that the benthic invertebrate communities and contaminant concentrations in sediment from the lower Kaministiquia River, Mission River, and the McKellar River remain stable (similar to 2005 data), or are improving. Northern Wood Preservers Site: The Northern Wood Preservers Alternative Remediation Project for contaminated sediment (NOWPARC) was completed in 2003. Benthos will no longer be impaired when monitoring data indicates that the benthic community from the NOWPARC area is similar to the benthic community in other parts of the harbour. North Harbour Industrial Site: This BUI will no longer be impaired when: 1) monitoring data indicates that contaminant concentrations in sediment and/or benthos from the North Harbour are showing a declining trend in concentrations and benthic communities are improving; and 2) site specific criteria have been met (or objectives accomplished) as per the sediment management plan (to be added when available). Action (SM-DB-1): North Harbour Sediment Management Strategy Status: Ongoing Assessment Initiative Proponent: Environment Canada, Ministry of the Environment, and Cascades Fine Paper Group Cost: To be determined Sediments in the northern portion of Thunder Bay harbour (North Habour) have total mercury levels that exceed the Provincial Sediment Photo by Ministry of the Environment Quality Guidelines (PSQG) Severe Effect Level over an area covering approximately three hectares adjacent to the Superior Fine Papers Inc. effluent outfall. The Stage 2 RAP report (2004) recommended the completion of additional sediment assessments in this area to fill any data gaps that might impede the proper development and implemen- tation of effective remediation measures. A number of studies have been conducted since this time to better delineate the extent of contamination in the North Harbour (North/ South Consultants Inc. 2006, Fletcher 2006, Milani and Grapentine 2006, Stantec 2003). In 2009 representatives from Abitibi Consolidated Inc, Cascades Fine Paper Group, Environment Canada, and the Ministry of the Environment formed a steering committee and contracted AMEC to assess the technical feasibility of sediment management op- tions (AMEC, 2010 2011). Although their study identified information gaps, AMEC suggested that an isolation cap would be the most technically feasible option, however, a pilot test would be required prior to making a final decision with respect to sediment management.1 3 THUNDER BAY REMEDIAL ACTION PLAN UPDATE
  21. 21. Subsequently, the Steering Committee contracted AnchorQEA to complete a peer review of the technical feasibilitystudy; their report recommended further characterizationin the form of additional geotechnical work, sampling andmodelling before selecting a preferred sediment manage-ment option (Anchor QEA, 2011).A Detailed Quantitative Ecological Risk Assessment and Photo by Ministry of the EnvironmentPreliminary Quantitative Human Health Risk Assessmentare currently underway. All exposure pathways will beidentified and depicted in Conceptual Site Models (CSMs)to estimate the risks to wildlife and humans.A Preliminary Quantitative Human Health Risk Assessmentis currently underway. A CSM will be developed and therisk and all potential exposure pathways to human recep-tors will be identified.table1.9 Sediment Management Options Advantages Disadvantages Monitored Natural • Low cost • Does not reduce exposures Attenuation • Can be easily • Does not reduce toxicity or mobility implemented • Timeframe for natural reduction of contaminant concentrations uncertain • Long-term monitoring • Land use controls necessary Construction of an • Reduces exposures to • Land use controls necessary Engineered (Sand or contaminants of concern • Long-term monitoring/maintenance Reactive) Isolation (COCs) • Implementation pilot study needed prior Cap • Relatively low cost to construction to reduce uncertainties • Quick results • Short-term risks with resuspension of • Low impact particulates during construction implementation • Mitigation for loss of shoreline access and open water Dredging with • Reduces exposure to • Uncertainties with implementation of the Disposal at an Onsite contaminants CDF Confined Disposal Facility • Land use controls necessary (CDF) • Long-term monitoring/maintenance • Short-term risks with resuspension of particulates during construction • Mitigation for loss of shoreline access and open water Dredging with • Eliminates exposure to • Land use controls necessary Disposal at an Offsite contaminants • Long-term monitoring CDF • CDF already exists • Short-term risks with resuspension of (managed by the Thunder particulates during construction Bay Port Authority) • Material must be transported through active shipping channels • Permitting issues may prohibit disposal in offsite CDF • Long-term and short-term adverse impacts to nearby receptors Dredging with • Eliminates exposure to • Short-term risks with resuspension of Disposal in an Upland contaminants particulates during construction Disposal Facility • Ex situ water treatment and disposal • Long-term risk for disposal in local landfill Common Sediment Management Options as Screened for Technical Feasibility (AMEC, 2011). UPDATE THUNDER BAY REMEDIAL ACTION PLAN 1 4
  22. 22. Additional studies to characterize the site and existing Mission Bay CDF will be undertaken to assess sediment management options and may include: • Debris Survey - to assess potential hazards involved in the implementation of the selected sediment option. Potential logging debris within the enriched organic sediment (EOS) could impact the selection of a preferred dredging method and/or slow down dredging operations. • Dredging Study – based on information on the EOS, identify and evaluate approaches for the containment of solids and dis- solved phase that is reasonably conservative. There is a need to better define the dredging accuracy based on the contaminated and native material characteristics. One way to achieve this would be speak to dredging contractors and survey other projects for actual overdredge achieved, success and problems and lessons learned. • Geotechnical/Fate and Transport Study - evaluate fate and transport of contaminants within the off-site CDFs through modeling and research. Conduct geotech and other studies to assess the existing CDF • Dewatering tests and effluent treatment – determine the best method for dewatering the EOS, and estimate the volume of water requiring treatment that is generated during dredging and treatment requirements to meet the Provincial Water Quality Guide- lines (PWQG). • Dewatering tests and effluent treatment – determine the best method for dewatering the EOS, and estimate the volume of water requiring treatment that is generated during dredging and treatment requirements to meet the PWQG. After these studies are completed, preferred sediment management option(s) can be selected with public input. Once preferred management option(s) is/are selected, engineering design and environmental assessment need to be completed. Action (SM-DB-2): Northern Wood Preservers Site Status: Ongoing Monitoring Initiative (Completed – 1999, 2003, 2004, 2007 and 2009) Proponent: Ministry of Environment Cost: Not Available Sediment adjacent to the Northern Wood Preservers site was heav- ily contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs from creosote), chlorophenols, and dioxins and furans (impurities from PCP); all contaminants that were used or produced for over 60 years during the wood treatment process (Clerk et al., 2011). Remediation of the contaminated sediment (termed the Northern Wood Preserv- ers Alternative Remediation Concept – NOWPARC) commenced in 1997 with the goal to isolate the contaminant sources, clean-up the Photo by Ministry of the Environment contaminated sediment, and enhance fish habitat. The project was completed in 2005 with most contaminated sediment removed, the area capped and bermed, and the installation of both a clay and Waterloo barrier around the initial footprint of the site. On the Northern Wood Preservers site, groundwater and storm wa- ter is collected and pre-treated at the site. Groundwater is partially treated and discharged to the Thunder Bay sanitary sewer under a Sewer Use Bylaw Agreement. Storm water is managed by a storm water treatment pond that discharges to Lake Superior via perme- able pond berms and an overflow spillway. Sediment outside of the berm was considered to be a low hazard to aquatic life (Jaagumagi et al. 2001), and as such, it was determined that a long-term monitoring plan would be implemented to monitor natural recovery of the sediment. Monitoring of the sediment, water, and biota was conducted in 1999, 2003, 2004, 2007, and 2009. The 2009 report (Clerk et al. 2011) is in draft form and will be available in early 2012. Results of the 2009 monitoring survey (Clerk et al. 2011) showed that at most sampling sites in the area left for natural recovery, there has been a marked improvement in the sediment; total PAH concentrations in the sediment have decreased since 2004. However, to- tal PAH continues to be elevated above the Provincial Sediment Quality Guidelines (PSQG), with sediment at one site in the northeast corner exceeding the PSQG severe effect level (SEL). While sediment PAH concentrations have decreased in the northeast corner of the site, concentrations of PAHs at some of neighbouring sampling sites have increased. This occurrence is likely due to weathering of PAHs at the more contaminated sites, and the mobilization of the lower-ringed compounds generally associated with creosote (phenanthrene, pyrene, and fluoranthene) from the more contaminated sites to the previously less-contaminated neighbouring sites. As creosote in the contaminated sediment continues to break down, similar changes in contamination patterns may be observed. Despite the elevated levels of PAHs, there does not seem to be a measurable impact to the resident benthic invertebrates (when compared to harbour reference sites).1 5 THUNDER BAY REMEDIAL ACTION PLAN UPDATE
  23. 23. Toxicity to invertebrates was observed in the laboratory for some of the more heavily contaminated sites; however it is hypothesizedthat in situ, the invertebrates can avoid the distinct lenses of contaminated sediment, and thus avoid adverse effects. Exposed cagedmussels had elevated concentrations of PAHs, especially in the northeast corner of the natural recovery area. The observed elevatedconcentrations were likely a reflection of elevated sediment levels, as PAHs detected in all water samples were at low levels.Next Steps: The next monitoring event is scheduled for 2014, at which time a review of the long-term monitoring data will be lead bythe MOE and EC. Action (SM-DB-3): 2011 Thunder Bay AOC Sediment Survey Status: Completed Monitoring Initiative Proponent: Ministry of the Environment Cost: Not Available There are several distinct areas within the Thunder Bay Area of Concern (AOC) that have significant sediment contamination issues. While some areas are well characterized, others areas (such as in the vicinity of Smurfit-Stone Container Canada Inc., and east of the Mission and McKellar deltic islands) have not been re-examined in some time. The main objective of the 2011 Thunder Bay Harbour Sediment Survey was to monitor the residual impacts of historical discharges in the sediment of selected locations in the Thunder Bay Harbour. Specifically, the area east of the delta associated with the Kaminis- tiquia River, and the area at the outfall of the former Photo by Ministry of the Environment Smurfit-Stone plant was investigated. Smurfit-Stone Container Canada Inc., formerly Thunder Bay Packaging, is located 2 km outside of the breakwall north of the Thunder Bay Harbour. The company began operation in 1996 and produced 100% recycled corrugating medium from mixed office wastes and recovered cardboard containers, until their closure in 2003 (Thunder Bay RAP, 2004). The plant ran for a year and a half with only primary treatment (effluent released to the Harbour via a clarifier and a settling lagoon), resulting in exceedences of monthly discharge limits for TSS, BOD, tolu- ene, phenol, and effluent toxicity. The implementation of secondary treatment improved the effluent quality; however some problems still remained (Thunder Bay RAP, 2004).The Stage 2 Thunder Bay Remedial Action Plan (2004) outlined remedial strategies for ecosystem restoration. The remedial strategy for SmurfitStone was listed under recommendation 1-3, under the impaired beneficial uses related to fish and wildlife. Recommendation 1-3 was to“rehabilitate ecosystem function and structure in order to support a diverse, healthy, self-sustaining biological community”. This will ultimatelyrequire the virtual elimination of persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic substances (bearing in mind social and economic factors) to ensurethat the water quality and sediment conditions in both the lower Kaministiquia River and in the Thunder Bay Harbour provide a healthy andhospitable environment.” Specifically the monitoring action (NPSM-4) for Smurfit-Stone was to ‘determine the extent and severity of anysediment contamination that may exist as a result of historic discharges at Smurfit-Stone Container Canada Inc.’ It was further outlined that ifsediment contamination was identified then additional monitoring actions should be initiated to determine identity, toxicity, bioavailability,distribution, and degree to which the contaminants are contributing to the impairment within the AOC (Thunder Bay RAP, 2004). The surveyconducted in 2011 only addressed the severity of sediment contamination in the vicinity of the former Smurfit-Stone process effluent outfall(via the collection of sediment samples for chemistry). If a comparison of the chemistry results to the Provincial Sediment Quality Guidelines(PSQG) indicates an issue, then the extent of sediment contamination, and any potential impacts to biota, will be studied further. There is noreason to expect significant sediment contamination adjacent to the former Smurfit-Stone site.It has been documented in the past, and most recently in a 2005 study, that organics, metals, and nutrients are present in the sedi-ment of the Kaministiquia River, and its associated deltic rivers (Mission and McKellar). Of interest in the 2011 study was the currentquality of the sediment east of the delta, towards the Welcome Islands. There have been a number of provincial studies that havefocused on the area east of the delta (Anderson 1986, Simpson 1987, Boyd 1990, and Richman 2004). Anderson (1986) found that thezone of influence, with regard to water quality, was from the Kaministiquia River delta east to the Welcome Islands (7.5 km) and southto Pie Island (13 km). In 1999, Richman found that similar to previous studies, the most degraded areas were the lower KaministiquiaRiver and outward from the delta. Several industries that would have contributed to the contaminant loading in these earlier studieshave either ceased operations, or implemented greater pollution controls. UPDATE THUNDER BAY REMEDIAL ACTION PLAN 1 6
  24. 24. 2 .2.2 Restrictions on Dredging Restrictions on Dredging was originally listed as impaired within the Thunder Bay AOC due to elevated levels of PCBs, heavy metals, and nutrients which exceeded the Open Water Disposal Guidelines (RAP Stage 1). At the time, dredged material which exceeded the OWDG were disposed of in a confined disposal facility in Mission Bay. In 1993 the province of Ontario adopted the Provincial Sediment Quality Guidelines (PSQGs), and an implementation procedure to assess sediment suitability for open water disposal and Lakefill Guidelines. Today, sediments from occasional navigational dredging in Thunder Bay harbour that are not suitable for open water disposal are still disposed of at the Mission Bay CDF (RAP Stage 2). Most new dredging projects are required to test dredged sediments prior to removal, and suitability for open water disposal is assessed against the procedure included in the PSQG guidance. This procedure has meant that sediments from most new dredging projects rarely qualify for open water disposal and are disposed of either in confined disposal facilities (CDFs), or at upland (landfill) sites (Golder 2012). The nearshore CDF was designed with a two million cubic meter sediment capacity (RAP Stage 2), including four enclosed contami- nant cells and a holding reservoir/receiving cell (Jarvis 2010). It was estimated in 2004 that only half of the sediment capacity of the CDF had been utilized (RAP Stage 2). Since this time, the Thunder Bay Port Authority conducted a small dredging program in 2007; dredged material was placed within the receiving cell (Jarvis 2010). The RAP Stage 2 report (2004) “Strategy to Address Dredging Restrictions” had three substantive recommendations (see below). With guidelines and permit requirements in place for navigational dredging when it is required, regular monitoring of the Mission Bay CDF and progress on all of the point source actions listed below it appears that all required actions to address the restrictions on dredging BUI have been completed in the Thunder Bay Area of Concern. 1. Ensure dredging and sediment disposal does not contribute to the degradation of the aquatic ecosystem. 2. Maintain a multiple use approach to waterfront areas by ensuring that the harbour continues to function as a shipping port. 3. Controlling point sources of pollution - Actions PS-1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 Levels of locally produced contaminants are expected to decline now that many of the following pollution prevention measures at industrial sites along the waterfront have already been implemented. • Secondary Treatment at the Resolute Pulp and Paper Mill • Upgrades at Thunder Bay Terminals • Developments at Ontario Power Generation - Thunder Bay Generating Station • Secondary Treatment at Abitibi-Consolidated • Redirect Stormwater Outlet and Oil Separator Discharge at CPR • Secondary Treatment at Water Pollution Control Plant The Restrictions on Dredging BUI was previously used as an indicator of contaminated sediments, though it may have been intended as an indicator of additional cost associated with contaminated sediments. With the development of the PSQG in 1993 and the Cana- da Ontario Sediment Decision Making Framework in 2007, focus on contaminated sediment was properly shifted to an effects-based assessment approach. Now that more regulatory tools and appropriate methods are in place to assess the effects of contaminants in sediments this BUI no longer makes sense for most Canadian Areas of Concern. No additional management action is necessary to restore restrictions on dredging as a beneficial use within the Thunder Bay AOC. 2 .3 WAT E R Q UA L I T Y Water quality was originally identified as a concern within the Thunder Bay AOC due to elevated biological oxygen demand (BOD), Total Phosphorus (TP), and E.coli exceeding of Provincial Water Quality Objectives (PWQOs) (Boyd 1990, RAP Stage 1 1991). These impairments were primarily associated with the discharge of industrial and municipal effluent, as well as urban and stormwater runoff. Since this time, contaminant loading has been significantly reduced as a result of upgrades to industrial treatment facilities, and the construction and subse- quent upgrades to the Thunder Bay Water Pollution Control Plant. The RAP program uses a series of beneficial uses to represent water quality impairments within the AOC; these include Beach Advisories, Degradation of Phytoplankton Zooplankton, and Degradation of Aesthetics. 2 .3.1 Beach Advisories The Thunder Bay District Health Unit periodically posts swimming advisories at the Chippewa Park and Boulevard Lake beaches. The postings are due to elevated levels of fecal coliform bacteria and are triggered when water quality samples exceed the Ontario Ministry of the Environment Guideline for Recreational Water Quality (Ontario Public Health 2008). The guideline is exceeded when E. coli levels are in excess of 100 counts per 100 millilitres of water, based on the geometric mean of at least five samples (Ministry of the Environment, 1994, RAP Stage 1 1991).1 7 THUNDER BAY REMEDIAL ACTION PLAN UPDATE

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