StMarysBPACSt. Marys River BPAC members heard a unique presentation on Tuesday night.  It consisted of a feasibility study that would determine what bodies of water along the Area Of Concern would be best in creating new and enhancing existing aquatic habitats.  The study suggests that the best locations for this are at the base of Fort Creek — where the Gateway site is located — and on Whitefish Island.  Presenters say the work would range from the removal of weirs and beaver dams to channel improvements and strategic planting.  One idea is to establish a ‘wetland complex’ at the Fort Creek location, with a goal of also improving the quality of the water there.  The cost of that restoration work would range from 700 thousand dollars for Whitefish Island to as much as 30 million dollars for Fort Creek.  Garden River was another location that was considered, but it was decided that there was little that could be done for now.  But the study did suggest that the Lower Garden River will have an eye kept on it regarding any growth or effects on the lake sturgeon population there.  A final report on the study is expected to be ready to present to BPAC sometime in April.

BPAC members were also updated on a water quality study done on the St. Marys River last year. Project Field Technician Carrie Ginou made the presentation to BPAC members on Tuesday night. Overall, the study suggests the water at various locations is either standard or above standard.  The river was shown to have no odours or unnatural debris at all locations where the water was tested.  The colour and clarity of the water was clear at Gros Cap, Bell’s Point and at Bellevue Park.  But there was some turbidity and discolouration — light yellow to brown — at Echo Bay and Richards Landing.  Those levels were low and appear to be attributed to ‘natural’ activity through the stirring up of minerals and sediments.  PH levels were also measured at all five locations where the water was tested — and it averaged slightly higher than the provincial standard of about 7 — the middle of the normal range for stream water.  Another period of field work is scheduled for this year before a final report is due in 2016.