Environment Canada

Environment Canada

October 24, 2009 09:30 ET

Government of Canada Announces Funding for Niagara River Area of Concern Clean-Up Projects

NIAGARA FALLS, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Oct. 24, 2009) - On behalf of Canada's Environment Minister Jim Prentice, the Honourable Rob Nicholson, P.C., Q.C., Member of Parliament for Niagara Falls, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, announced today $326,500 in funding from the Great Lakes Sustainability Fund for 7 projects to clean up the Niagara River Area of Concern. Thirty-eight projects throughout the Great Lakes are receiving $2.2 million in funding this year.

"The Great Lakes Sustainability Fund is a concrete example of how we can work together to ensure clean water for Canadians, and to restore the health of the Great Lakes. The funding we are announcing today will help to address challenges and bring us closer to our goal of restoring water quality in the Niagara River and in all of Canada's Great Lakes Areas of Concern," said Minister Nicholson.

"The Great Lakes Sustainability Fund has proven to be very effective in facilitating the many partnered projects working to restore water quality in the fifteen Canadian Areas of Concern. Here in Niagara Falls, the Great Lakes Sustainability Fund is being used to fund projects like the Water Quality and Habitat Improvement Program," said Dean Allison, Member of Parliament for Niagara West-Glanbrook.

The Water Quality and Habitat Improvement Program includes professional teams of biologists, technicians and expertly trained volunteers who have undertaken a Natural Areas Inventory. The inventory is creating a database of up to date biological data and detailed mapping information that will act as a resource for the community. The information is being incorporated into the Provincial Wetland Classification system and will also serve as a baseline for use in future environmental planning and policy development.

"The Government of Canada is taking action to preserve our environment. Together with our partners and with all Canadians, we are helping ensure that Canada's communities and families can thrive in a healthy environment," added Minister Prentice.

Tony D'Amario, CAO/Secretary Treasurer of the Conservation Authority stated, "The Natural Areas Inventory project is of great significance as it has allowed us to fill in information gaps which will assist in prioritizing future restoration opportunities to protect and enhance the natural heritage system within the Area of Concern. The project has been a great success due mainly to the overwhelming positive public response for voluntary participation in this initiative."

Using the Great Lakes Sustainability Fund, the Government of Canada is partnering with provincial and local governments and community organizations to help clean up the 15 Canadian Areas of Concern in the Great Lakes Basin. The fund supports environmental restoration activities in three priority areas: fish and wildlife habitat rehabilitation and stewardship, contaminated sediment assessment and remediation, and innovative approaches to improve municipal wastewater effluent quality.

More information about the Great Lakes Sustainability Fund is available at sustainabilityfund.gc.ca.

BACKGROUNDER

Niagara River: Great Lakes Area of Concern

As the largest system of fresh surface water in the world, the Great Lakes are fundamental to the health and well-being of those who live within their watersheds and beyond. They provide trade and shipping routes, a source of livelihood, clean water, ecological diversity and natural beauty.

These important ecosystems are facing some challenges. In the mid-1980s, Canada and the U.S. identified 43 locations around the Great Lakes where the environmental quality was more degraded than in other areas. These "hot spots," or Areas of Concern, are the focus of federal, provincial and local efforts to restore the aquatic ecosystem. Ten Areas of Concern are in Canada; five others straddle the Canada-U.S. border. Two Canadian Areas of Concern have completed all their remedial actions and addressed their environmental problems.

The Niagara River is 58 kilometres long and flows from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario. The Niagara River Canadian Area of Concern extends along the entire length of the Canadian side of the Niagara River, and includes Niagara Falls and the Welland River Watershed. Most of the environmental issues on the Canadian side of the river are associated with excessive nutrient loads, such as phosphorous from agricultural run-off, inputting to the watershed, as well as wetland and habitat loss.

The following priority issues are being addressed to achieve delisting of the Canadian Niagara River Area of Concern: treatment of undesirable algae in the Welland River, restoration and protection of fish and wildlife habitat, management of the PCB-contaminated sediment at Lyon's Creek East, and the implementation of a monitoring plan to track water quality improvements over time.

The Government of Canada is taking action to preserve our environment. Together with our provincial, territorial and municipal partners and with all Canadians, we are helping ensure that Canada's communities and families can thrive in a healthy environment. With our partners, we are making great strides to re-establish healthy ecosystems across the Great Lakes Basin.

BACKGROUNDER

GREAT LAKES SUSTAINABILITY FUND

In the late 1980s, the International Joint Commission designated 43 Areas of Concern, or "pollution hot spots," within the Great Lakes Basin, based on significant environmental concerns in these areas. Since then, of the 17 Canadian areas, two areas have been fully restored and removed from that list, and one area is being monitored for recovery, because all clean-up actions in the area have been completed but time is required for natural recovery to occur.

While solid progress is being made in cleaning up the remaining Canadian areas, the Great Lakes Sustainability Fund (GLSF) was created to accelerate the work being done to restore the environmental quality of Canada's remaining 14 Areas of Concern.

Restoring Areas of Concern improves water quality, fish and wildlife habitat and population health. Funding is provided to initiatives that meet specific criteria and that serve to restore the environment. Such projects include fish and wildlife habitat restoration, contaminated sediment remediation, landowner stewardship, and control of pollution from municipal wastewaters and rural runoff.

The fund provides technical and financial support to projects that will reduce bacterial contamination of public beaches, an issue that leads to frequent beach closings. Environmental improvements lead to local economic competitiveness through the development of innovative technologies, and increased recreation, tourism and development opportunities in Area of Concern communities.

The fund is administered by Environment Canada in consultation with seven other Government of Canada departments: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Canadian Heritage, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Health Canada, Natural Resources Canada, Public Works and Government Services Canada and Transport Canada.

DELISTED CANADIAN AREAS OF CONCERN:
Severn Sound
Collingwood Harbour

CANADIAN AREA IN RECOVERY:
Spanish Harbour

CANADIAN AREAS OF CONCERN:
Thunder Bay
Nipigon Bay
Jackfish Bay
Peninsula Harbour
Wheatley Harbour
Hamilton Harbour
Toronto and Region
Port Hope Harbour
Bay of Quinte

BINATIONAL AREAS OF CONCERN
St. Lawrence River
Niagara River
St. Marys River
St. Clair River
Detroit Rive
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Solid Progress is being made in the remaining Canadian and Binational Areas of Concern. For further information on the Great Lakes Sustainability Fund, visit sustainabilityfund.gc.ca.

BACKGROUNDER
2009-10 Project List for Niagara River Area of Concern

RecipientProject TitleGLSF Contribution Total Project Value
Niagara River Restoration CouncilNiagara River AOC Fish Barriers$45,000 $157,600
Niagara Peninsula Conservation AuthorityWater Quality and Habitat Improvement Program for the Niagara River AOC$165,000


$600,000


Corporation of the City of WellandCity of Welland CSO Monitoring Study$25,000
$150,000
Bird Studies CanadaAssessing Progress to Restore Wetland Habitat in the Niagara River$18,500

$70,098

The Regional Municipality of NiagaraNiagara Falls Central Pump Station and High Rate Treatment Facility Performance Evaluation Program$40,000




$158,000




The Niagara Parks CommissionNiagara River Bank Stabilization Project - South End$18,000
$58,850
Niagara Peninsula Conservation AuthorityNiagara River Delisting Criteria and Stage 2 Update Implementation$15,000

$51,750


TOTAL FOR NIAGARA RIVER AOC
$326,500$1,246,298

(Egalement offert en francais)

Contact Information

  • Office of the Minister of the Environment
    Frederic Baril
    Press Secretary
    819-997-1441

    or

    Environment Canada
    Media Relations
    819-934-8008
    1-888-908-8008
    www.ec.gc.ca