Lower Trent Conservation is celebrating its 50th anniversary! To commemorate this milestone occasion, we have released our ’50 in 50′ historical blog series. This special series features 50 articles highlighting some of the achievements, milestones and events of the past 50 years. We hope you enjoy them!
The Bay of Quinte was designated an Area of Concern in 1985 by the International Joint Commission (a Canadian-American Great Lakes watch dog), under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement between Canada and the United States. Areas of Concern are communities, bays, and rivers on the Great Lakes system where human activities have severely damaged the quality of the environment. There were 43 Areas of Concern around the Great Lakes, 17 are on the Canadian side, and 5 of those are bi-national. Each Area of Concern must develop a Remedial Action Plan (RAP).
Before the Bay was designated an Area of Concern, research and monitoring on environmental issues was already underway by a multi-agency program called Project Quinte, which started in 1972. The formal Remedial Action Plan process started with the establishment of a multi-agency Coordinating Committee in 1986. Its task was to define the Bay’s environmental problems and report on findings.
In 1990, a document defining the environmental conditions and problems was compiled. It outlined four ecosystem problems: excess nutrients, bacterial contamination, toxins, and loss of fish and wildlife habitat. In 1993, another document was written that listed eleven environmental challenges and made 80 recommendations for remedial actions to complete the Bay’s rehabilitation and protect it from future damage.
Public involvement has always been an integral part of the Remedial Action Plan process. In 1988, a Public Advisory Committee was formed to involve the public in the decision making process for remedial actions. As the Bay’s restoration program has evolved, so has the public’s contributions to the process.
Since 1997, implementation of recommended actions for the Bay of Quinte has been facilitated by members of the Bay of Quinte Restoration Council. It is co-chaired by Lower Trent Conservation and Quinte Conservation and comprised of federal and provincial agencies, municipalities, Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte, CFB Trenton, and the public.
Over the years, there have been numerous initiatives to help restore the water quality in the Bay of Quinte. There have been sewage treatment plant upgrades, stormwater management plans, rural water quality programs, water treatment plant upgrades, habitat and shoreline restorations, fish management plans, industrial abatement strategies, community stewardship projects, and natural heritage strategies, all designed to rehabilitate the Bay’s ecosystem.
Today, most of the environmental challenges have met their criteria and most of the recommended actions to rehabilitate water quality in the Bay have been completed. One final action is the development and implementation of a Phosphorus Management Strategy.
Today, the Bay of Quinte is a healthy and vibrant ecosystem. Now, we must focus on keeping it that way. For more information about the Bay of Quinte Remedial Action Plan, visit http://www.bqrap.ca.