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Habitat Watch # 283
Great Lakes United

Ontario to help create world’s largest freshwater reserve

In a move heralded around the world, on September 1st, Ontario Premier Ernie Eves and Minister of Natural Resources Jerry Ouellette announced that the provincial government is dedicating land and lakebed to the federal government to create the world's largest freshwater reserve. The transfer was an essential step for the establishment of the Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area.

The proposed Lake Superior NMCA will conserve a vast 2.4 million hectare corridor in northwestern Ontario. It will extend from Thunder Cape, at the tip of Sleeping Giant Provincial Park, to Bottle Point just east of Terrace Bay and the waters of Black Bay and Nipigon Bay adjacent to Michigan's Isle Royale. Ontario's contribution to the Lake Superior NMCA includes improved protection of the islands and shoreline of Lake Nipigon and the transfer of 1 million hectares of the western Lake Superior lakebed, unprotected islands and shoreline. This provincial commitment marks a huge gain for the conservation of Lake Superior for future generations, and protection of endangered species such as the woodland caribou whose critical habitat includes vast interconnected stretches of boreal forest.

For the provincial press release go to:
For details on the proposed NMCA, go to Parks Canada:

U.S. EPA won't regulate ships' ballast water

After a snail’s pace political process addressing a highly time-sensitive environmental crisis, the Bush administration announced on September 2nd that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will not regulate ballast water discharges from ships under the federal Clean Water Act.

Ballast water discharge from ocean-going ships is the source of 72% of recent invasions into the Great Lakes, and is a main source of new invasions across North America and the world. U.S. regulations require ocean-going ships to exchange their ballast water in the deep open ocean, but apply to less than 20% of ocean-going ships entering the Great Lakes each year. The remaining 80% ships accessing in the Great Lakes, and all ocean-going ships accessing U.S. coastal waters, do not have to comply with this regulation.

This final announcement came three and a-half years after environmental groups led by the Pacific Environmental Advocacy Center petitioned EPA to eliminate a regulatory exemption that prevents a vessels ballast water discharge from needing a permit under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System program. It is likely a lawsuit against EPA will follow.

For background see Habitat Watch #242:
For a recent article go to:

One-year reprieve for Marcy's Woods

A week after more than 150 protesters paddled their canoes from Point Abino on Lake Erie to Toronto on Lake Ontario and delivered a petition to Queen’s Park calling for the expropriation of Marcy’s Woods, the Ontario government has taken charge of the property. The province signed a rarely used Minister’s Zoning Order that stops any development of the site for one year. On September 2nd, the province banned work on Marcy’s Woods until an environmental consultant develops a long-term plan for the property. The province tapped the Nature Conservancy of Canada to select the consultant. The development freeze offers protection in the short-term to ensure no further damage will happen on the sensitive site, after heavy machinery was brought in to widen the road to the property’s rustic cabin, damaging trees in the process. The Ministers Zoning Order has political and economic clout, including fines ranging from C$10,000 to C$20,000 for cutting down a single tree.

For an article go to:

***Announced on September 2nd: Thursday, October 2nd is the date of Ontario's 38th general election***

Great Lakes United’s Habitat and Biodiversity Task Force produces Habitat Watch with support from the George Gund Foundation and GLU coalition members. The task force is committed to protecting natural areas, wildlife, and strong conservation laws across the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River ecosystem. To join the coalition, subscribe, or send stories, contact GLU at: (716) 886-0142; fax: (716) 886-0303; or email: Past issues of Habitat Watch can be found at:

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