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Archive for the ‘Mining’ Category

Assessing landscape and contaminant point-sources as spatial determinants of water quality in the Vermilion River System, Ontario, Canada

As part of the Lower Vermilion Source Water Quality Monitoring Project, funded through a 3-year Ontario Trillium Foundation grant, Carrie Strangway completed her Master’s Thesis in partial fulfillment of the requirements for a degree of Master of Science in the Faculty of Science, Applied Bioscience, University of Ontario Institute of Technology.  What follows is Carrie’s published Thesis:

Abstract The Vermilion River and major tributaries (VRMT) are located in the Vermilion watershed (4272 km2) in north-central Ontario, Canada. This watershed not only is dominated by natural land-cover but also has a legacy of mining and other development activities. The VRMTreceive various point (e.g., sewage effluent) and non-point (e.g., mining activity runoff) inputs, in addition to flow regulation features.

Further development in the Vermilion watershed has been proposed, raising concerns about cumulative impacts to ecosystem health in the VRMT. Due to the lack of historical assessments on riverine-health in the VRMT, a comprehensive suite of water quality parameters was collected monthly at 28 sites during the ice-free period of 2013 and 2014. Canadian water quality guidelines and objectives were not met by an assortment of water quality parameters, including nutrients and metals. This demonstrates that the VRMT is an impacted system with several pollution hotspots, particularly downstream of wastewater treatment facilities. Water quality throughout the river system appeared to be influenced by three distinct land-cover categories: forest, barren, and agriculture.

Three spatial pathway models (geographical, topographical, and river network) were employed to assess the complex interactions between spatial pathways, stressors, and water quality condition. Topographical landscape analyses were performed at five different scales, where the strongest relationships between water quality and land-use occurred at the catchment scale. Sites on the main stem of Junction Creek, a tributary impacted by industrial and urban development, had above average concentrations for the majority of water quality parameters measured, including metals and nitrogen. The river network pathway (i.e., asymmetric eigenvector map (AEM)) and topographical feature (i.e., catchment land-use) models explained most of the variation in water quality (62.2%), indicating that they may be useful tools in assessing the spatial determinants of water quality decline. Read the rest of this entry »

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Lower Vermilion Source Water Quality Monitoring Project – Final Report, by VRS

This is the result of a 3 year water quality sampling project on the Lower Vermilion River, within the Vermilion River Watershed.

A big thank you to the Ontario Trillium Foundation for funding this important Project!!

Another big thank you goes out to KGHM International Ltd. for their generous donation and for Conservation Sudbury’s in-kind contribution towards the extension of our Project into the 3rd year!!

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PRESS RELEASE – Lower Vermilion Water Quality Project extended into its 3rd Year

PRESS RELEASE – Lower Vermilion Water Quality Project extended into its 3rd Year

We are very grateful to the Ontario Trillium Foundation, KGHM International Inc. and Conservation Sudbury for supporting our organization and community in this important Project.  The health of the Vermilion River is very important to the thousands of people who rely on it for their drinking water, recreation, and family enjoyment” said VRS Chair, Linda Heron.

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Recovery of Chironomidae from metal contamination in a multi-stressor environment, by Zara Jennings, 4th year Thesis

Queen’s University student, Zara Jennings

In 2013, Zara Jennings, a Queen’s University 4th year student and her professor, Brian Cummings, undertook sediment core sampling on Wabagishik Lake.  Results indicated that the heavy metal contamination has steadily improved over the years; however,  heavy metal contamination is still well into the “severe effect level” and severe contamination lies within centimeters of the sediment surface.   Heavy metal contamination in the “severe effect level”, include nickel, copper, arsenic, lead, manganese, iron, cadmium and zinc.  Zara has provided an outstanding 4th year Thesis that will be a major part of the final project report for our 2-year Lower Vermilion Source Water Quality Monitoring study.

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Heavy Metal Contamination on Wabagishik Lake, Vermilion River – ORA presentation to MOECC

In July of 2014, the Chair of the Vermilion River Stewardship made a presentation to the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change staff regarding concerns about heavy metal contamination in the Vermilion River that was not properly addressed by the proponent in consideration of the Wabagishik Rapids Generating Station Environmental Report:

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Climate Changes in Metal-contaminated Watersheds: Implications for Water Quality and delayed Ecosystem Recovery, by Erik Szkokonan-Emilson, PhD Candidate

Erik made this presentation at our 15 January 2014 Annual General Meeting:

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Errington – Vermilion Mining Project – Presentation by Glencore

Glencore representatives presented at our Vermilion River Stewardship meeting on Wednesday, 12 November 2014, to inform our membership of the changes to their project.

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Xstrata Zinc – Errington and Vermilion Projects – Vermilion River

Xstrata Zinc called a meeting with the Vermilion River Stewardship (VRS) on Wednesday, 12 June 2013 to discuss their plans for their proposed Errington – Vermilion Project on the Vermilion River.    Below you will find the presentation informing about the scope of their proposed project.

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Sudbury’s City of Lakes – Presentation at Sudbury Voices event, by Linda Heron

Sudbury Voices – May 2013

A brief overview of the challenges the Vermilion River is facing, what the Vermilion River Stewardship is doing to address these challenges, and what you can do to help.

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Cliffs plays political waiting game – Northern Ontario Business – 22 February 2013

Bill Boor, Cliffs Natural Resources president of ferroalloys.
Bill Boor, Cliffs Natural Resources president of ferroalloys.
Cliffs Natural Resources could scale back its spending in the Ring of Fire if “uncertainties” associated with its chromite mine project in the James Bay lowlands aren’t ironed out with Queen’s Park.With provincial negotiations in a stalemate, the Cleveland-based miner is re-evaluating this year’s budget to advance its $3.3-billion Black Thor chromite project.

The company has set aside $60 million to complete its feasibility study of its proposed open pit mine, roughly 500 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay. Read the rest of this entry »

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THANK YOU ONTARIO TRILLIUM FOUNDATION, KGHM INTERNATIONAL & CONSERVATION SUDBURY FOR YOUR SUPPORT!!!

The Lower Vermilion Source Water Quality Program is a 3 year study to characterize the lower Vermilion River to identify all negative inputs and outputs affecting water quality, and to ultimately recommend a course of action to protect and restore water quality on the Vermilion River system.