Hamilton Harbour is One Lucky Harbour
BY Julie Vanden Byllaardt
ON July 5, 2018
Of the 12 Areas of Concern in Canada, Hamilton Harbour seems to get the most attention, research wise, and deserves it. With a lot of scientific focus on contamination hot spots (like Randle Reef), tracking pollution, fish habitat, and the animals that live in it, we’ve been able to make long strides in the Harbour’s clean-up.
There are an impressive 60+ projects contributing to and/or monitoring progress in this Area of Concern. At the Hamilton Harbour Remedial Action Plan (RAP) Office, we keep track of projects through a publication called the Monitoring Catalogue.
In a nut shell, the Monitoring Catalogue gives a summary of the types of things being studied that will help us meet our remedial targets. It does not include data, but information about data – what is measured, when it is measured, and why. If you are curious to see what the RAP is tracking and where, click here. The BARC library is a repository for RAP publications and every year we upload the newest version of the Monitoring Catalogue with the most recent field season’s information.
For example, you can learn about tracking fish movements in the Harbour, the substances a Waste Water Treatment Plant monitors before releasing water, and the colonial waterbird populations that are managed around the Harbour. Thanks to projects like these, we can locate the best places to create fish habitat, reduce the amount of contaminants releasing to the Harbour, and maintain a diversity of bird species.
Projects tracked through the Catalogue include those from Federal entities like Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) and Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), Provincial entities such as the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF), as well as the Municipal and Regional Governments (Cities of Burlington and Hamilton, Region of Halton), Conservation Authorities, Royal Botanical Gardens,
Industry (Stelco and ArcelorMittal Dofasco), and numerous Universities including McMaster, University of Toronto, and Redeemer University College.
Hamilton Harbour has come a long way, but we still have a lot of work to do before delisting as an Area of Concern. We encourage you to track our progress through our publications like the Monitoring Catalogue. The most recent version can be found here – learn the where, when, and why we track projects in the Hamilton Harbour Area of Concern. BARC’s Report Cards and technical reports also make their way into the library. Check back every couple months to see what’s new!
 The Remedial Action Plan is working to improve the Harbour for human and aquatic life. To know if the RAP has achieved its goals – we need to monitor them!
The 2017 Monitoring Catalogue explains some of the main issues, successes, and goals of the Hamilton Harbour RAP. Below are a few snippets of the issues.
An important goal in creating a healthier Hamilton Harbour is bringing back top predators to the food web. Below is a map from the Monitoring Catalogue showing where Walleye are stocked by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.
Some of the original problems in the Harbour were tumours on Brown Bullhead mouths and twisted beaks on cormorants. Environment and Climate Change Canada monitors the decline of deformities as water quality improves.
 Photo Credit: ECCC
Photo Credit: Jim Quinn
Algal blooms are frequent in the Harbour. As nutrient loads decrease, algal species and periodic blooms are being tracked by researchers at Environment and Climate Change Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
Author Bio - Julie Vanden Byllaardt
Julie Vanden Byllaardt is the Researcher/Report Writer at the Hamilton Harbour Remedial Action Plan Office
Julie Vanden Byllaardt is the Researcher/Report Writer at the Hamilton Harbour Remedial Action Plan Office

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