Lesley Flowers

Bob Rogers
Chair, Nickel District Conservation Authority Board
200 Brady St. Tom Davies Square
Sudbury ON P3E 5K3

November 30, 2011

Dear Mr. Rogers:

I would like to make the Nickel District Conservation Authority aware of a condition that emerged on the lower Vermillion River in early October of this year and ask for help to prevent a recurrence. During the warm weather with very low water levels, the river supported a considerable Blue-Green Algae bloom until plenty of rain and colder temperatures seemed to kill it. The bloom was in the current of the river, rather than in bays and shallow areas so it came in the flow as opposed to developing from nutrients coming from the shoreline.

The nutrients are likely a result of waste water effluent from the upstream sewage treatment plants and the weather was unseasonably warm and sunny. Hopefully in time, sewage treatment will improve but unfortunately climate change might not. The water level of the river at this time was very low since there was little rain fall and the waters flowing from the north were much reduced.

What might be worth looking at through the N.D.C.A. is the amount of water, in the Vermillion River north of Highway 17, that was available to the lower part of the river. The falls visible from Regional Road 55 under the railway bridge were reduced to a very small stream in the late summer and early fall. Could the possibility of a bloom have been mitigated if less water had been held back at Stobie Dam? Usually the stream from McCharles Lake and back to Junction Creek is diluted with this water from the north. Is this part of the N.D.C.A.’s mandate? Is water level monitored at all levels of the Vermillion River? Is it only flooding that is a concern and not low water?

I am unsure of the role N.D.C.A. plays in low water situations, although I did read the information on the website and on the website of the Ministry of Natural Resources which did indicate a protocol for low water problems. I just do not understand what would constitute low water and whether a Blue-Green Algae bloom would constitute reason for action.
I am writing this letter as an individual but I am a member of the community that lives along the lower Vermillion River and I will share the letter and response with the Vermillion River Stewardship. I hope that answers to my questions can help this community deal with this problem.

Lesley Flowers
Cc:  Paul Sajatovic, N.D.C.A.
Linda Heron, Vermillion River Stewardship

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