Environment Canada

Environment Canada

April 16, 2010 12:05 ET

Government of Canada Celebrates Restoration of Healthy Ecosystem at Wheatley Harbour

WHEATLEY, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - April 16, 2010) - Wheatley Harbour is once again a clean and healthy aquatic ecosystem, announced Dave Van Kesteren, Member of Parliament for Chatham-Kent-Essex. Mr. Van Kesteren made the announcement today, on behalf of Canada's Environment Minister, the Honourable Jim Prentice, while celebrating the achievement of Lake Erie's Wheatley Harbour removal from the list of environmental hotspots on the Great Lakes.

"Thanks to the hard work of all partners involved, Wheatley Harbour is now a great example of industry and environment in balance." said Mr. Van Kesteren. "It shows what can be accomplished when partners work together toward a common goal."

The restoration of water quality in Wheatley Harbour is an outcome of Canada's Great Lakes Action Plan. Through the Plan, the Government of Canada is working to restore and protect water quality and the health of the aquatic ecosystem in the Canadian Areas of Concern on the Great Lakes.

"We are very proud of what has been accomplished at Wheatley Harbour. Restoration of water quality and ecosystem health in Wheatley Harbour is incredibly important to its continued sustainability as a centre for the Lake Erie fishery and regional food processing." said Minister Prentice.

Wheatley Harbour was designated a Great Lakes Area of Concern in 1985 pursuant to the Canada-United States Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. The major environmental concerns were historical sources of PCBs, contaminated sediments, high phosphorus concentrations, poor water clarity, bacterial contamination, and habitat loss. Through federal and provincial action completed in 2008, conditions in Wheatley Harbour have improved considerably.

"This is a major milestone for the Great Lakes. Wheatley Harbour is the fourth Area of Concern to be removed from the list of Great Lakes environmental hotspots. Three of those are in Canada. It means our work is paying off. As we celebrate our success we must remember that Great Lakes environmental protection is not a one time effort, it's a lifetime effort. And we all need to continue to do our part to protect our Great Lakes" said John Gerretsen, Ontario Minister of the Environment.

As part of Environment Canada's ongoing commitment to water quality in the Great Lakes, the Government of Canada is proud to have committed $16 million in its latest budget to protect and restore the Great Lakes and ensure clean water for Canadians.

Last month, the Canada-Ontario Agreement Respecting the Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem was extended until March 31, 2011. This agreement establishes an action plan between federal and provincial ministries, and helps Canada to meet its commitments under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. The governments of Canada and the U.S. are currently negotiating amendments to this agreement to address current and emerging issues that are impacting the Great Lakes.

For more information and to view a backgrounder on this announcement, please visit www.ec.gc.ca.

(Également offert en français)

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