March 28, 2005

MNR invites comment on environmental objectives for Lake Huron

Ontario's Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) is seeking public comments on draft Environmental Objectives for Lake Huron, including Georgian Bay and the North Channel. Working under the auspices of the binational Great Lakes Fishery Commission (GLFC), a dedicated working group developed the objectives as an element of the GLFC's Joint Strategic Plan for Management of the Great Lakes Fisheries.

The working group is proposing four specific environmental objectives.

1. Spawning and nursery habitats: The document calls for the maintenance, protection and restoration of wetland, tributary and reef spawning, nursery and feeding areas throughout the Lake Huron basin.

2. Shoreline processes: This objective seeks to protect and rehabilitate nearshore habitats and re-establish the beneficial structuring forces of natural water exchanges, circulation and flow that they provide.

3. Food web structure and exotics: The working group advocates the promotion of native species diversity and abundance, together with the avoidance of further exotic species introductions, in order to protect and where possible, restore or enhance fish community structure.

4. Water quality: This objective calls for the protection and restoration of water quality throughout the Lake Huron basin and reduction or removal of contaminant burdens from the basin's fish communities.

The environmental objectives are intended to support the Strategic Plan's fish community objectives by setting out the biological, chemical and physical needs of desired fish communities. The draft document may be viewed on the GLFC Web site, www.glfc.org/research/reports/Liskauskas.pdf. Comments are due by April 15, 2005. The proposal has been posted on the Environmental Bill of Rights registry, reference No PB05E3001 (www.ene.gov.on.ca).

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