The water quality in the Ottawa River changes over time and place. There is no government agency or organization that does extensive water quality monitoring on the Ottawa River. The province of Quebec has done some water quality testing throughout the Ottawa River over time, but not since the early 1990’s. Municipalities are required to test water quality at the outlets of their sewage treatment plants and many municipalities test popular swimming sites for e.coli counts. E. coli is the primary indicator of a sewage-polluted beach, but it is not the only contaminant of concern. E. coli is often accompanied by chemicals, viruses, and pharmaceuticals.
Urban stormwater can have a significant impact on water quality. Individuals can help by conserving water, reducing fertilizer and pesticide use, cleaning up pet waste, keeping septic systems functioning properly, disposing of boating wastes properly and supporting laws that promote monitoring and pollution cleanup.
Call your local municipality or City Councillor and tell them you want to know what the water quality is like in your reach of the river. They need to know that clean water for swimming is an important issue for their constituents. Results from water quality monitoring (not just that done at beaches) should be widely available to the public. Ottawa Riverkeeper is investigating the results from all surface water quality monitoring done within the watershed and will make this information available to the public.
For those of you who are out enjoying the river in power boats or sailboats, there are a few easy steps you can take to minimize your impacts on the river. If you are replacing an old engine or buying a new one, consider a four-stroke engine. Older 2-stroke engines can dump up to 30% of their fuel, unburned into the water. Remember what you clean your boat with ends up in the river so be sure to use non-toxic and phosphate free cleaners. Be respectful of where you travel – stay out of ecologically sensitive areas. For quick facts on boat pollution and 10 tips for green boating, click here.
In Ontario some marinas are working responsibly to operate as green as possible. For more information about the Clean Marinas program and a list of Eco rated marinas in Ontario, click here. Whenever possible, give your business to a Clean Marina.
The Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) has completed their project evaluation of a proposal from Ottawa River Project Inc. to install boat launch facilities in the Ottawa River to facilitate a marine bypass around the Chat’s Dam. They have heard concerns from Ottawa Riverkeeper and the public and have recently issued a Notice of Completion for the project. This means that they believe all concerns have been adequately addressed and they are giving the project a green light to proceed.
Ottawa Riverkeeper still has outstanding concerns and we will proceed by requesting a Part II Order with the Ontario Minister of the Environment. There is a 30 day period open for public comment that will end on August 22, 2005. Concerned parties should contact the MNR and the Environment Minister before August 22.
The City of Ottawa is prepared to contribute $350,000 of taxpayer’s dollars to this project even though boats can already get around the dam on the Quebec side of the river. After hearing our concerns, City Councillors agreed that a proper environmental assessment should be completed. This has not been done. City Councillors need to hear concerns you may have about this spending – call or email them today! For a sample letter, click here
For more details on this issue and what you can do to make a donation, visit our web site.
After yet another public hearing in front of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, it was decided that the Atomic Energy Canada Limited (AECL) plan for decommissioning the Chalk River Laboratories site was not sufficient to grant a financial guarantee from the Canadian Government. Ottawa Riverkeeper, Meredith Brown presented arguments at the hearing and the response of the Commission to those concerns can be found in the record of proceedings that is posted on our website.
The official decision is as follows: the Commission decides to adjourn the hearing until a complete Comprehensive Preliminary Decommissioning Plan in support of the proposed financial guarantee, including decommissioning cost estimates, is available for consideration. The hearing will continue at or before the public hearing that the Commission will hold on the proposed renewal of the CRL site licence in 2006. The specific date(s) for the continuation of the hearing will be announced later in accordance with the CNSC Rules of Procedure.
On June 20, 2005 Ottawa Riverkeeper made an official submission to the Environment Minister, requesting the Province undertake an individual environmental assessment of the City of Ottawa’s proposed Carp River Watershed/Subwatershed Plan. Our primary concern that was not addressed by the City being that the City has struck a deal with developers to allow development in the floodplain, despite the flooding problems in the area and the recommendations of the Provincial Policy Statement (this statement recommends no development within a floodplain).
The Ontario Minister of the Environment has responded to our request by telling us that the City made an error by including the provision for a Part II Order request in its Notice of Completion. A Part II Order request cannot be issued for a Master Plan of which the Carp River Watershed/Subwatershed Plan falls under. The only recourse at this time would be to appeal the Planning Act decision to the Ontario Municipal Board. Ottawa Riverkeeper does not intend to pursue an appeal.
Bill 133, the Environmental Enforcement Statute Law Amendment Act, 2005, became law on June 13, 2005. Bill 133, which is intended to encourage spills prevention and get “tough on polluters”, was introduced last fall after widely publicized spills into the St. Clair River occurred from industrial facilities near Sarnia.
The MOE has indicated that the regulations will target industrial facilities already subject to the Municipal/Industrial Standard for Abatement regulations (that is, approximately 140 facilities in the petroleum refining, iron and steel, pulp and paper, metal mining, metal casting, organic chemical, industrial minerals, inorganic chemical and electric power generating sectors).
Key provisions of Bill 133 impose a new environmental penalties regime, expand directors’ and officers’ duties, reduce the adverse effect threshold, increase fines and require regulated industries to implement spill prevention and contingency plans.
Penalties can require payment of as much as $100,000 per day and will be assessed by the MOE and not by the courts. These penalties may be imposed by the MOE in addition to quasi-criminal prosecutions in the courts for the same unlawful discharge. The penalties regime also imposes liability regardless of fault. In other words, the regime is one of absolute liability and allows for the imposition of a penalty even if the corporation took all reasonable care to prevent the discharge. Due diligence will not be a defence and will only be considered to determine the amount of the penalty. Bill 133 also puts the onus on the corporation to
prove that the discharge did not have the potential to harm the environment.
Bill 133 provides a new definition of “deemed impairment” in the Ontario Water Resources Act so as to align it more closely with the threshold in the federal Fisheries Act. For example, the quality of water will now be deemed to be impaired if a scientific test indicates that the discharged material is toxic. This means that the Crown will not have to prove that the discharged material actually impaired the quality of the water into which it was discharged.
Two other important amendments that Ottawa Riverkeeper applauds are that the Ministry will now be required to publish annual and five-year reports and the Ministry will now publish every agreement made to reduce or cancel an Environmental Penalty on the Environmental Bill of Rights Registry. Together, these amendments will help to ensure transparency and efficacy of Environmental Penalties.
For more information on Bill 133, click here.
The Old Fort William Cottage Association is hosting a public dinner event on Saturday August 13th at The Hotel Pontiac, located in Fort William on the beautiful Ottawa River (across the river from Deep River).
Ottawa Riverkeeper presents The River Runs Through Us…Come and hear Meredith Brown, the Ottawa Riverkeeper speak about the Ottawa River and some of the threats that jeopardize the ecological health of the river. Learn about the projects Ottawa Riverkeeper is involved in and how you can get involved. Meredith will focus on issues that affect the cottagers and residents in this area such as the Chalk River Nuclear Facility, shoreline development and sewage effluent.
For more details about attending the presentation, please visit our website.
Ottawa’s Folk Music Festival will take place August 18th – 21st. Ottawa Riverkeeper, Meredith Brown, will be at the EnviroTent on the Saturday and Sunday and will be pleased to answer questions you may have on the Ottawa River. Open on Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5:00 pm, the EnviroTent
EnviroTent features interactive talks, educational displays and hands-on demonstrations. The EnviroTent is sponsored by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) and Arbour Environmental Shoppe. Come on down, meet the Riverkeeper and hear some great music!
The Heritage Riverfest Celebrations will be taking place (rain or shine) between 11:00am and 4:00pm on Saturday August 28th and Sunday August 29th at Pinhey’s Point Historic Site . This event will celebrate the Ottawa River and it’s role in developing the City of Ottawa. Visitors will travel through the history of the river by visiting displays and artisans that represent the geoheritage of the river, First Nations, fur trade, settlement and logging. The Mayor will be speaking on Saturday, as well as a representative from the Ottawa River Heritage Committee who will announce the nomination of the Ottawa River as a Heritage Site.
Ottawa Riverkeeper will be there both days, with extensive information and knowledge about the river. Why not come and join us for a paddle on the river and learn more about this amazing river and how it is constantly changing?
The Ottawa Valley Rendezvous is a weekend festival celebrating the culture and heritage of the Ottawa Valley from aboriginal times through the periods of exploration and settlement to today. With the natural surroundings of the Ottawa River, forests mountains and beaches they have incorporated exploration by canoe and sea kayak along with a camping option into the festival as well.
Ottawa Riverkeeper will be participating in the festival, check our website regularly as we will post details about our involvement soon.
Ideally we will be leading an interpretive paddling tour on the Ottawa River. For more details about the festival, click here.
We had a very successful annual general meeting on June 22 at Lakeside Gardens in Britannia Park. About 50 river enthusiasts were out to participate in the meeting. If anyone is interested in reading the minutes from the meeting, please contact Delphine, The Director of Outreach (firstname.lastname@example.org) and she will email you a copy.
We are thrilled to have John Bouza as our newly elected President and would also like to welcome 5 new directors to our board: Gordon Clifford, Debbie Ferrigan, Myles Frosst, Peter Levick and Dave Stibbe. For more information about our board of directors, please visit our website and read their biographies.
About 500 athletes participated in the first Annual Ottawa Riverkeeper Triathlon/Duathlon at Westboro Beach on June 18, 2005. Ottawa Riverkeeper raised over $2000 during the event. We would like to thank everyone for their support; the donations will be used towards our effort to protect the river we all enjoy.
Corporate teams entered two events (swim/bike/run and paddle/bike/run). The 2005 Champions of the Ottawa Riverkeeper Team Challenge are the Bridgewater Systems Team in the swim triathlon and the Ottawa Riverkeeper Team in the paddle triathlon. The Ottawa Riverkeeper Team challenges your team for next years event!
The event was a great success thanks to the participation and support of the athletes, Sommersault Productions, John Almsedt & Joscelyn Coolican, Moe’s Famous Restaurant, Kim Mann & volunteers (over 110 volunteer hours), Britannia Yacht Club & Fendor Docks, Bushtukah & Dot Bonnenfant, Dovercourt Community Centre, Westboro Beach Community Association, City of Ottawa Aquatics, and the National Capital Commission.
We are excited to have summer student Amy Williams working with Ottawa Riverkeeper for a couple of months. Amy has a Masters of Environmental Science from Memorial University and will be going back to school this fall to obtain an education degree. Amy is doing research and writing for the first annual Ottawa Riverkeeper River Report.
Thank you all for your interest in the health of the river. Please consider becoming a paid member of Ottawa Riverkeeper if you haven’t already.
Our voice gets stronger with each new member. If you no longer wish to receive this email, please respond to email@example.com and ask to
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Enjoy the river!
July 21 2005
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