Great Lakes agreement to address Cornwall

In this April 24, 2014, file photo, a ship navigates the St. Lawrence Seaway near Glen Walter, Ont. (Newswatch Group/File)

CORNWALL – The provincial and federal governments signed a five-year agreement Friday which will take action on blue-green algae blooms, invasive species and pollution.

The Canada-Ontario Agreement on Great Lakes Water Quality and Ecosystem Health (COA) will also address the historical Areas of Concern in the St. Lawrence River near Cornwall as well as four other areas in Ontario.

Cornwall’s Area of Concern on the river is roughly 80 kilometers long, from the Moses-Saunders dam to the eastern outlet of Lake St. Francis.

The area was labeled in the 1990s over problems with mercury, PCB and fecal contamination, excessive growth of nuisance plants, exotic species and contamination that would cause health problems to fish and wildlife.

This latest agreement would appear to continue the work on the final stage of a remedial action plan for “delisting” the river. That decision has to be done by federal, provincial and remedial action plan participants, along with advice from the International Joint Commission.

Friday’s agreement is the eighth one signed since 1971 and lays out the priorities for eight federal departments and three Ontario ministries.

“The Great Lakes are vitally important to the people of Ontario. Our vision is a healthy Great Lakes for a stronger Ontario – Great Lakes that continue to be drinkable, swimmable and fishable. This agreement will help us implement Ontario’s Great Lakes Strategy,” said Environment Minister Glen Murray.

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