SHOULD THE FINANCIAL BURDEN of removing all plastic debris from the Great Lakes fall on the shoulders of the 36 million people within the basin, researchers now have an estimate of the cleanup costs: $486-million (US).
Findings from the Ecohydrology Research Group at the University of Waterloo published this month in the Journal of Great Lakes Research has taken a critical step in filling the knowledge gap of how plastic waste interacts in freshwater systems as opposed to saltwater seas and oceans.
“We know more and more about ocean plastics, but, paradoxically, we have little information on the distribution and (Read more…)
NDP MPP Peter Tabuns speaking with reporters at Queen’s Park. (CBC News Image.)
New Democratic MPP Peter Tabuns introduced a private member’s bill Wednesday encouraging the Liberals to adopt a ban on hydraulic fracturing in the province.
Tabuns, a former executive director of Greenpeace Canada and his party’s Environment and Climate Change critic, said the Liberal government of Kathleen Wynne should follow the lead of Ontario’s neighbours, many of whom — Quebec and New York state, in addition to the Maritime provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia — have already outlawed the disputed oil and gas extraction procedure.
“There (Read more…)
Entrance to Eagle Marsh in Fort Wayne, Indiana, part of the Little River Wetlands Project. (Andrew Reeves)
FORT WAYNE, INDIANA — Recently, I travelled to Eagle Marsh to see first hand what construction of a $1.9 million berm will look like at a vital passageway between the Mississippi River basin and Great Lakes watershed. It is here where researchers with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources and engineers with the federal Army Corps believe Asian carp may move from the nearby Wabash River (part of the Mississippi River basin) into the Maumee River which drains into Lake Erie.
In October 2010, (Read more…)
Carp over Barge. (Photo: Dan O’Keefe, Michigan Sea Grant)
THE NEXT LINE OF DEFENCE against keeping invasive Asian carp out of the Great Lakes will come at an 81-year-old lock and dam in Joliet, Illinois, 65 kilometres south of Chicago on the shores of Lake Michigan.
The Brandon Road dam, listed on the National Register of Historic Places in March 2004, is being investigated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as a suitable location to test run new deterrents for halting Asian carp and other aquatic nuisance species. In addition to the electric barriers already in place eight (Read more…)
A control test site for invasive plant phragmites at Wasaga Beach on Lake Huron.
LIBERAL NATURAL RESOURCE MINISTER Bill Mauro reintroduced the Invasive Species Act Wednesday, the first standalone legislation in Canada geared towards stopping the spread of invasives into the province
There is currently a patchwork of more than 20 different federal and provincial pieces of legislation affecting the control of invasive species in the country but none are designed specifically with invasive species in mind. Ontario is keen to change that, Mauro said.
“Our proposed legislation will help to address these legislative gaps,” he told a crowd (Read more…)
On Oct. 1, New Democratic MP Brian Masse from Windsor, Ontario introduced a private member’s bill calling for tougher action and better coordination across Canadian governments in the fight against Asian carp.
The bill would make it illegal to import Asian carp — or “invasive carp,” as Masse calls it in his remarks — into Canada unless the fish is dead. And, to make sure border guards aren’t fooled by fish on ice that later spring to life in water, the fish must be eviscerated. Through a change to the Fisheries Act it would also forbid the inter-provincial transportation of (Read more…)
Hand soaps containing triclosan and triclocarban. (Andrew Reeves/Reeves Report)
OTTAWA KNOWS that a common ingredient in antibacterial soaps is posing acute and chronic problems for human health and freshwater ecosystems but has done nothing to ban triclosan, according to environmental and consumer advocates.
But now there’s even more evidence against the toxin. The Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA) teamed up with Clean Production Action to test the environmental and human health impacts of triclosan and triclocarban. Both chemicals are found in everything from clothing and yoga mats to cutting boards, but are found most commonly in antibacterial hand soaps where (Read more…)
Environment Minister Jim Bradley and Natural Resources Minister David Orazietti speak with reporters at Queen’s Park. June, 2013. (Photo by Andrew Reeves)
SO WE KEEP WAITING.
Ontario’s environmental community had reason for optimism when Kathleen Wynne assumed leadership of the Ontario Liberal Party in January 2013, knowing the new premier was more progressive than her predecessor Dalton McGuinty and perhaps more inclined to want to beef up the Liberals’ green cred.
But with an election called for June 12, hopes for sweeping new green legislation on everything from protecting the Great Lakes to improving recycling rates have been dashed. (Read more…)
Beefing up protections against aquatic invasive species like Asian carp has taken a prominent place in the latest Canada-Ontario Agreement (COA) governing how both governments aim to work together on protecting the Great Lakes.
Asian carp in U.S. water.
“Aquatic invasives have altered Great Lakes ecosystems and caused significant disruptions to many of the benefits those ecosystems provide to Canadians,” the agreement states. “The continued introduction of AIS is one of the most significant threats to biodiversity in the Great Lakes.”
Queen’s Park and Ottawa released a draft copy of the eighth such agreement to be signed since (Read more…)
A recent study led by the University of Notre Dame and the U.S. Forest Service confirmed that hydrologically separating the Great Lakes from the Mississippi River watershed would be 95 to 100 per cent effective at containing Asian carp.
“Our study goes beyond just presenting barrier options by putting numbers to how effective various barriers will be, including hydrologic separation and the currently operating electric barrier system,” said report author Marion Wittmann of the University of Notre Dame.
“Authors have theorized that invasive species prevention is more cost-effective than control in protecting ecosystem services,” the report states.
The human (Read more…)
A bill from Michigan Representative Candice S. Miller tabled Wednesday with Congress would authorize the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to consult, plan and build a barrier to hydrologically separate the Mississippi and Great Lakes watersheds in one year following its passage.
“I believe total separation is the only way to make sure that Asian carp do not enter the Great Lakes,” Miller said in a statement on her website following the introduction of the bill. “This project will require the buy in of stakeholders from across the country and significant resources, but we must have the political will (Read more…)
Canada has an obligation to help the United States pay for physically separating Lake Michigan and the entire Great Lakes basin from the Mississippi River watershed to contain the spread of Asian carp, though the cost may reach $18 billion or more.
The latest report from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released Monday found preventing the aquatic invasive species Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes could cost upwards of $18 billion over 25 years if the most expensive control option is chosen by American lawmakers.
After having spent years studying the growing problem of controlling the aquatic (Read more…)
The Great Lakes have been saved from nuke waste contamination after Swedish company Studsvik canceled its plan to ship radioactive waste across the Lakes, says Emma Lui, the Council of Canadians’ water campaigner.
The post Great Lakes saved from nuke waste contamination appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.
GLEAM, the Great Lakes Environmental Assessment and Mapping Project, has a series of interactive maps of Great Lake Stressors. I’ve included a couple related to Global Warming:
Water Level Change
Water Temperature Warming
Decreased Ice Cover
As you can see, T.O. and surrounding gets off pretty easy in regards to climate-change-related stressors, although it is located in one of the parts of the lakes under greatest stress when all issues are taken into consideration. Our particular problems seem to mostly involve toxins.
Original Production by Irene Kock. Updated by Anna Tilman, April 2013, International Institute of Concern for Public Health
Ontarians may have no idea of the volume of nuclear-related facilities in the Great Lakes basin, but a new map offers a clear picture. The Great Lakes Nuclear Hot Spots Map recently created by Great Lakes United and the International Institute of Concern for Public Health is a comprehensive depiction of all facilities related to nuclear power production in the region. And it is intended to get our attention.
“The objective was to wake people up,” said John Jackson, program director (Read more…)
It could have been worse. When the Department of Fisheries and Oceans announced on May 3 that a Grass carp caught in the Grand River near Lake Erie was sterile, biologists and invasive species experts on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border could breathe a sigh of relief.
But not a big sigh of relief. As it stands, evidence that a 40-lb, 44-inch Grass carp was caught by an angler on April 27 is still cause for concern given that it, along with Silver, Bighead and Black carp are all highly worrisome aquatic invasive species whose possession in Ontario (Read more…)
Flickr photo by phault.
Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli confirmed early last week that anyone anxious for offshore wind development in Ontario’s portion of the Great Lakes to resume will have a long wait ahead of them.
Indefinitely, it would seem.
“All I can say at this point is that offshore is still in a moratorium and it’s likely to stay that way for some time,” he said.
Asked to explain why Ontario’s offshore wind development remains in indefinite limbo, Chiarelli said it has everything to do with how well established offshore wind development is in Ontario. Or, rather, how un (Read more…) it is compared to other forms of renewable power.
“The basic reason is that all the other elements of green energy have been implemented in various jurisdictions,” he said.
“Wind was well established in Ontario, solar was well established, biomass was well established in various . . . → Read More: the reeves report: Great Lakes offshore wind moratorium to remain ‘for some time’
By: Sierra Club Canada | Press Release: Restore Our Water International (ROWI) and Sierra Club Canada criticize the International Joint Commission (IJC) Draft Great Lakes Regional Adaptive Management Plan as being insufficient for solving the current low water crisis on Lakes Michigan and Huron. The IJC recently finished conducting webinars on [...]
The post Sierra Club Canada: Great Lakes ‘do nothing’ plan unacceptable appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.
Building off the idea that few comprehend the environmental challenges occurring in their backyards better than those who witness them daily, the Ontario government has re-launched yet another program to solicit local engagement in improving the province’s natural spaces.
The Land Stewardship and Habitat Restoration Program– operating under the awkward acronym LSHRP – will award small grants of up to $20,000 for communities, municipalities, businesses and First Nations groups to aid in conducting terrestrial remediation efforts across Ontario, provided the group can match the funds donated by the Ministry of Natural Resources.
In its previous incarnation, the $300,000 fund
. . . → Read More: the reeves report: Local Knowledge Key in Land Restoration Program
With Great Lakes at record low levels, Council of Canadians national chairperson Maude Barlow intensifies call for bold new vision to protect them By: Council of Canadians | Press Release: Maude Barlow, National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians and chair of Food and Water Watch’s board, is embarking on an seven-city [...]
The post Maude Barlow’s bold new vision to protect the Great Lakes appeared first on The Canadian Progressive | News & Analysis.
Lake Huron shoreline/Photo by Jimmy Brown
In the face of decades of environmental, pollution and development stresses on the shorelines, wetlands, river basins, flora and fauna of the Great Lakes, the government of Ontario realized making a difference in the health of these critical water bodies would require all hands on deck.
Provincial dollars would be needed to help improve the vitality and strengthen protections of lakes Huron, Erie, Ontario and Superior (in addition to the St. Lawrence and Ottawa rivers and any water basins that drain into the province’s four Great Lakes).
But how to allocate the money?
. . . → Read More: the reeves report: Next Steps in Protecting the Great Lakes
Great Lakes organizations alarmed with the International Joint Commission’s “Adaptive Management” advice instead of dealing with a significant cause of the record-setting low water levels on Lakes Michigan/Huron/Georgian Bay by Sierra Club Canada | Feb. 4, 2013: TORONTO – As water levels in Lakes Michigan, Huron and Georgian Bay set new monthly record lows, the READ MORE
Niagara River © RokaB – Fotolia.com
The Niagara River has come a long way since the 1980s. One would still be advised not to drink the water, swim in some of the public beaches or eat the fish you reel in, but the latest report on the remediation plan reveals a river recovering from decades of abuse.
To mark the 25th anniversary of the Niagara River Remedial Action Plan, first agreed to in 1987, a report from Niagara College engineering professor Anne Michaud outlines the steps taken to improve the river on both sides of the border.
. . . → Read More: the reeves report: Cleaning up the Niagara River
In a demonstration of the usefulness of having an embassy in another country, Canada and the USA have renewed a pact to protect the Great Lakes. This is a good thing as the Great Lakes need more protection and better environmental care from both sides of the border. The pact also implies a reversal of the destructive anti-science policies that the Canadian government has had this past year.
The updated Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement binds both nations to continue a cleanup and restoration initiative begun when the freshwater seas were a symbol of ecological decay. Many of their beaches
. . . → Read More: Things Are Good: Great Lakes get More Protection
Only when humans are again permitted to build authentic urbanism — those cities, towns, and villages that nurture us by their comforts and delights — will we cease the despoiling of Nature by escaping to sprawl.Andrés Duany, ‘Suburban Nation: The Rise of Sprawl and the Decline of the American Dream’
I think of Rob Ford as a powder keg, masquerading as a beer keg. At first glance, he appears populist, pleasing, inexpensive, and easygoing, and then you realize that he is elitist, divisive, and explosive. (To see Rob Ford’s behaviour on City Council, here is the ‘Rob Ford’s Maturity’
. . . → Read More: Railroaded by Metrolinx: One Toronto, Now: An Election is a Terrible Thing to Waste