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March Update 2024

Dear Friends of Kingston Inner Harbour,

First, thanks Ken Fisher for this picture showing erosion that typically occurs with hard-scaped shorelines due to rain and waves washing out soil between the rocks. This clear  example is in Anglin Bay. 
Once this design path is in place, rocks will need replacing continually – as in Kingston’s Outer Harbour.
In the 2011 tsunami in Japan, the hard-scaped shoreline gave way while the treed shoreline stayed.

We believe that the entire Inner Harbour shoreline should be planted with native species, not hard-scaped, and that the proposed dredging should not happen because dredging could create more harm than good.
This Tuesday at 6 pm at City Hall is a really important Environment, Infrastructure & Transportation Policies (EITP) committee meeting where Golder consultants (now WSP) will be presenting their $70,000,000 Inner Harbour clean-up proposal.  They are hoping the city will contribute $10,000,000 towards the clean-up costs. We will be doing a delegation pointing to problems with this proposal including the dredging and advocating for a natural shoreline throughout.

Do consider attending or at least watching both the delegations and the WSP presentation.
Details here:

1. Questions and Concerns about Golder’s (now WSP’s) 2023 Report entitled
“Conceptual Sediment Management Plan for Kingston’s Inner Harbour”
2. Our Livable Solutions Update -Now you can donate and receive a charitable receipt
3. Screening Room Special Event “Planet Soil: The Power of the Underground” – April 20, 2024
4. Work Commencing at King St. East Storm Outfall Project at Anglin Bay
5. Housing Update from the Providence Centre for Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation
6. Kingston Health Coalition Update
7. Seniors for Social Action Update
8. Free Boating Information from Parks Canada
9. Three Great Lakes Commissions Announce Partnership to Advance Restoration
10. Canadian and United States Coast Guards Recommit to Close Partnership on Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River during Minister Lebouthillier’s US Visit.

11. Toronto Wants Buildings to Tap into its Sewage for Heating
12. No, Overwintering Turtles Don’t Breathe through their Butts: Getting to the Bottom of a Popular Misconception
13. Life-Threatening Effects from Plastic Pollution
14. Introduction to Decolonizing and Unsettling: A Settler Perspective on Restoring our Relationships with Water – Zoom Presentation
15. Climate Reality Project Canada – Community Climate Hubs
16. How Do Halibut Migrate? Clues are in their Ear Bones
1. Questions and Concerns about Golders (now WSP’s) 2023 Report entitled
“Conceptual Sediment Management Plan for Kingston’s Inner Harbour”
 The following is a draft of what I will state at my delegation at EITP this Tuesday.
Conclusions are also included at the start for clarity of focus.

Six  Conclusions for Council Consideration:
1. No dredging should happen because risk to humans is negligible and risk to habitat is great. This is in keeping with Council’s recent signing of the Montreal Pledge for Biodiversity
All six Queen’s scientists consulted are opposed to the proposed dredging.
2. Capping should be minimized so as not to destroy habitat.
3. Timing. The storm sewer issues, the Tannery development, and the ownership issue be resolved before any work is done.
4. A natural shoreline should be created throughout the study area with mixtures of native plants suitable for all four levels of shoreline – from toe to terrace.  Money would be well-spent hiring local expert, Joyce Hostyn, to design and implement.
5. The city’s lawyers should examine possible legal ramifications
6.The city should not use $10,000,000 tax payer dollars to support this project in its current form. Other more important priorities exist.

What is being proposed?
Public servants in the federal department of Public Services and Procurement Canada want to clean up the legacy contaminants in the sediments of Kingston’s Inner Harbour in collaboration with the City of Kingston. The total projected cost is $70,000,000. They want the City of Kingston to contribute $10,000,000.

Transport Canada and Parks Canada own water lots along the western shoreline of the Great Cataraqui River south of Belle Park.
Other water lots in this location are owned by the City of Kingston and by private landowners.

 The proposed cleanup involves invasive dredging and capping of contaminated sediments as well as shoreline work.

Why is this being proposed? Liability and Money
Public Services and Procurement Canada initiated a practice of selling off its historic water lots several years ago. Liability and potential lawsuits are always a concern.  In addition, selling off water lots at fair market value has brought in money for the federal government.

Historically, water lots have existed for military purposes on the Atlantic, Pacific, and Arctic coasts as well as on the Great lakes. Most of the non-contaminated water lots have now been sold.  The remaining contaminated lots need to be cleaned up before they can be sold at fair market value.

Why I am qualified to speak?
I have been president of the Friends of Kingston Inner Harbour for twelve years and have a mailing list of close to 1000. I send out newsletters twice monthly.  
Some of our successes include: a) convincing the City to create the K&P Trail and its subsequent connection to the Trans Canada Trail, and b) community citizen-science work involving fifty volunteers each year for 6 years tabulating and submitting turtle data to inaturalist, three prestigious grants rerceived for: i) a capture/release protocol where we recorded over 130 turtles, ii) a radio- telemetry study where antennae were attached to 6 turtles to explore their range – important info for the Third Crossing, and for which we received an award from the US based environmental organization organization – Freshwater Future, iii) the community build of a traditional birch bark canoe led by an Algonquin Traditional Knowledge Keeper, and iv) We collaborate with and are the umbrella charitable organization for, the Indigenous group, the Belle Island Caretakers’ Circle.
We are deeply committed to the health, heritage, and environment of our community as well as that of the Great Cataraqui River and its thriving biodiversity.

Comments below are from our Science Subgroup of six retired and current Queen’s professors from Earth Sciences, Environmental Science, Biology, and Geography as well as from my own analysis of the analytical processes used by Golder (WSP). I have a PhD in Sociolinguistics, the study of thought processes and language use.

Some questions about Golder’s Processes
The first concern is with Golder’s use of the Canada Ontario Decision Making Process. In their initial report, Golder consultants were required to use of this excellent flow chart  It contains many choice points where researchers are given the option of saying no to continuing the project if danger to the environment might overwhelm benefits.  At several points in their analysis the data were insufficient to warrant proceeding.  One significant example is the benthic community. In some contamination hotspots they showed signs of contamination – in others not.  In short, the data were inconsistent. This should have been read as an indication to abandon the project.

A second very important concern was their calculation of “moderate” risk to humans from Inner Harbour sediments.  Danger to humans exists via two pathways: ingestion of fish and absorption of contaminants through skin.  Neither of these pathways constitutes an actual danger.  There is already a fish advisory in place. And, a person would have to walk barefoot in the contaminated sediments for two hours for sufficient contamination to enter the body through the skin. This never happens.  The risk to humans should have been recorded as negligible.
One gaping hole in their analysis is the lack of a survey of past, present, and projected future use of the Inner Harbour shoreline by community members.  If they had done this, they would have found that the liability risk was minimal.

A third concern with the initial Golder report is their acceptance of the 2014 RMC Environmental Sciences Group questionable assumption that all Inner Harbour creatures are contaminated. This is based on a truly horrific photograph of a “deformed” brown bullhead that is missing up to ¼ of its body.  Local fishermen will tell you that this “deformity” was most likely caused by a propeller. It is not unusual for fishermen to find fish like this in Lake Ontario. No studies have been done examining internal organs for contaminants. Such studies are needed to prove the existence of contamination. 
Furthermore, no comparison was made between Inner Harbour fish and fish in Lake Ontario. Most Inner Harbour fish spend most of their lives in Lake Ontario.
In addition, there is thriving diversity in Inner Harbour wildlife.  Hilbert Buist has documented and submitted to inaturalist the existence of over 1000 species on Belle Island alone. And Music Professor, Matt Rogalsky, has recorded the sounds of many creatures both on the Tannery land and in the adjacent water lot.

A fourth concern expressed by our scientists is the inadequate accounting of the depths of the contaminants. As a result, we can’t be sure how deep they would need to dig to get rid of the contaminants.
Dr. Kerry Hill has noted that more cores need to be taken to pin down the depth of contamination. SNC Lavalin researchers were hired to take four cores but analyzed them only for lead and cesium. Why just these and not a wider range of contaminants of concern?
Dr. Rob Dalrymple noted the apparent absence of any sediment analysis for hydrocarbon indicators, odd given the activity of the Queen City Oil Company near Anglin Bay.
Dr. Dugald Carmichael noted that a Masters thesis was written on Mercury contamination in the Davis Tannery but curiously no analysis of mercury was included in the Golder studies of contaminants.
Dr. Laura Cameron and members of the Belle Island Caretakers’ Circle have expressed concerns about where the cleaned-up contaminants will be taken.

Fifth and finally, are concerns about capping. What is the rationale for capping? How much will the capping inhibit natural re-growth? And for how long? Why not 20% organic matter throughout?  Questions unanswered.

Four timing concerns
1. The storm sewers are currently bringing in contaminants such as PCBs and PAHs during storm surges.These city-owned sewers should be fixed before going ahead with this project. Thankfully work is currently occurring but the time frame is too long. What is the point of cleaning up legacy contaminants if the same contaminants are still coming in? 
2. The Tannery development will potentially bring in unexpected problems with contaminants. The Tannery project, if it goes ahead, should be completed before this federal clean-up. The hearings of the Land Tribunal hearing on the Tannery development ended this past March 8. 
3. There is a question of ownership in one of the sections of the clean-up.  This should be resolved before proceeding. 
4. MetalCraft Marine is a thriving Kingston business.  To shut it down in any time other than winter would mean a huge financial loss for the company but the proposal is to do just that.

Liability concerns
What guarantees are there that if this project goes ahead and there is environmental damage that is measurable, is there an insurance policy to protect the people of Kingston?
This is a real concern given the large extent, depth, and lengthy time frame of the proposed dredging.

Dr. Kerry Hill has pointed out that the legacy chromium contaminant (Chromium 3) is currently mostly buried in the sediments.  Dredging would cause oxidization which would convert the buried contaminant into an active pollutant (Chromium 6) that is a known carcinogen. This carcinogen could potentially affect Kingston’s drinking water.

Dr. Jeffey Giacomin, a Queen’s chemistry professor who studies water flow patterns and edits the prestigious academic journal “Flow” has stated that, contrary to intuitive thought, water from the Great Cataraqui River flows west along the Kingston shoreline past Lake Ontario Park and then proceeds south to Rochester, New York, before heading down the St. Lawrence River.  Dredging could well release contaminants into the water that could contaminate Kingston’s drinking water. Despite reassurance from engineers, we all know that sloppiness happens.

Unmentioned Wildlife Concerns
Generally, there is a decided lack of information on the large number of turtles in Kingston’s Inner Harbour. For example, there is no mention of Anglin Bay turtles in their report.
Because of our work with turtles, we know that they are found routinely in Anglin Bay basking on the northern shore of the Anglin Parking Lot.  Every year, one or two turtles get stranded in the drydock and has to be rescued.  Also several turtles come out of Anglin Bay into the Anglin Parking Lot looking for a place to lay.  Sometimes they lay at the OHIP building.  Last year, one was run over there.  There is no mention of this turtle population in the report.
There is also no mention of a very obvious snake hibernaculum at the Rowing Club.

Expressed Indigenous Concerns
In a letter to WSP, Elmer St. Pierre, National Chief of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples states:
“We believe that all our water and shoreline rights should be protected. This project should not go ahead as it would affect not only our wildlife along the shorelines such as turtles, frogs, snakes, ducks, fish, and birds. It also brings the possibility of an environmental disaster causing the water in the river and Lake Ontario to be unsuitable for drinking and swimming for years to come. Dredging up the naturally sedimented toxins that Mother Earth has packed down into the bottom of the river where they are currently not affecting the waters should be left alone.”

Shoreline Concerns:
In the tsunami in Japan, the concrete shoreline collapsed while the treed shoreline survived.
We can learn from this.  Hard scaping actually increases erosion. This is clearly visible in Anglin Bay. Waves wash up in between the rocks and rain falls loosening the soil.  Plants preserve.
1. We would like to see the proposed naturalized shorelines expanded. The concepts of trees, shrubs and large woody debris that is stabilized with boulders is a good start.  Cobble beaches would be dangerous for hatchlings but pebble beaches could work – esp when water levels are very low as they are this year.
2. We would like to see naturalized shorelines in:
a) TC-AB where current hard-scaping is clearly eroding,
b) TC-OM and PP-OM adjacent to the proposed waterfront trail and bridge to Belle Park,
c)  TC-2A, where the current hard scaping that is so hard for the turtles could be removed, and
d) all along the south shore of Belle Park

Consultants’ collaboration with the City of Kingston and other organizations
We are grateful for Paul MacLatchy’s work in Belle Park and for his consultation with Golder(WSP).
We are also grateful to Dan Franco for the ongoing work on the King St. East Storm Outfall Project that has just begun including their concern for the local turtle population
We are also grateful to the consultants for their outreach to us, the Kingston Field Naturalists, River First YGK, MatalCraft Marine, and the Belle Island Caretakers’ Circle and their willingness to consider limiting the dredging as recommended by our scientists.

Six Conclusions for Council Consideration
1. No dredging should happen because risk to humans is negligible and risk to habitat is great. 
All six Queen’s scientists consulted agree.
2. Capping should be minimized so as not to destroy habitat.
3. Timing Concerns: The storm sewer issues, the Tannery development, and the ownership issue should be resolved before any work is done.
4. A natural shoreline should be created throughout the study area with mixtures of native plants suitable for all four levels of shoreline – from toe to terrace. Money would be well spent hiring local expert, Joyce Hostyn, to design and implement it.
5. The city’s lawyers should examine possible legal ramifications
6. The city should not use $10,000,000 tax payer dollars tosupport this project in its current form. Other more important priorities exist.

2. Our Liveable Solutions update – Donate for charitable receipt!!
Thanks to an agreement with the Community Foundation of Kingston and Area, Our Livable Solutions is now able to receive charitable donations
NOTE: This is the least we can do if we care about the plight of the homeless in our city. Do consider a generous donation.
“Our Livable Solutions (OLS) has entered into an agreement with the Community Foundation of Kingston & Area (CFKA) to create the “Our Livable Solutions Flow Through Fund”.  This Fund will enable OLS to accept charitable donations, with CFKA holding the funds and issuing charitable tax receipts while OLS pursues their own charitable status. CFKA will be able to release the funds to a qualified donee who works in partnership with OLS to help address barriers to housing, until OLS’s own charitable status is secured.  Should OLS not receive charitable status within a period of two (2) years, from March 13, 2024, monies in the Fund will be directed to The Marguerite Bourgeoys Housing Fund held at CFKA, an endowed fund which annually supports initiatives related to affordable housing in Kingston and surrounding area.
Our Livable Solutions (OLS) has entered into an agreement with the Community Foundation of Kingston & Area (CFKA) to create the “Our Livable Solutions Flow Through Fund”.  This Fund will enable OLS to accept charitable donations, with CFKA holding the funds and issuing charitable tax receipts while OLS pursues their own charitable status. CFKA will be able to release the funds to a qualified donee who works in partnership with OLS to help address barriers to housing, until OLS’s own charitable status is secured.  Should OLS not receive charitable status within a period of two (2) years, from March 13, 2024, monies in the Fund will be directed to The Marguerite Bourgeoys Housing Fund held at CFKA, an endowed fund which annually supports initiatives related to affordable housing in Kingston and surrounding area.”

3. Screening Room Special Event “Planet Soil: The Power of the Underground”
Received from 1000 Islands Master Gardeners March 19, 2024
What: “Springtails, woodlice, fungi, nematodes, mites, earthworms, slugs, spiders, or snail eggs typically don’t show up on the big screen in starring roles, but Planet Soil makes the invisible visible and is a rare tribute to the vast underground community on which plants and humans depend… The film not only captures moving images of the teeming micro-life beneath the soil surface — microorganisms like fungi and bacteria as well as species like springtails, nematodes, mites, and other small creatures — but also shows their interactions… The film’s microcinematography and brilliant time-lapse photography captured astonishing images of the behaviour of soil microorganisms.”
When: Saturday, April 20 at 1:00 pm
Where: The Screening Room
NOTES: Following the screening we’ll have a virtual Q&A with Producer and Co-Director Ignas van Schaick. Tickets are limited – we only have 100 – so get them soon!
We’ll also be drawing for a door prize of a Pocket Forest!

4. Work commencing at King St. East Storm Outfall Project at Anglin Bay
The following correspondence from Dan Franco, Projects Engineer, was forwarded March 7, 2024 by Councilor Lisa Osanic

“The King St East Storm Outfall Project is commencing next week.   
The work is being conducted in two phases for the next month with phase 1 being in-water work to install sheet pile at the outfall location Anglin Bay; and phase 2 being the tunneling work that will commence early April.  Phase 3 (roadwork) will start after phase 2 is completed.  

Our ecology team has developed wildlife protection plans to avoid harming wildlife during the work: 

  • In-water – vibrations and sounds will be performed prior to sheet pile installation into the riverbed to alert turtles that may be overwintering to move to another location; 
  • On land – wildlife protection fencing will be installed in areas that could be used by turtles for nesting or that may have existing nests.  The fence holes will be large enough to allow any hatchlings that haven’t hatched yet this year to escape to the water and the holes will be small enough to stop adult turtles from entering to lay eggs in the work zones. 

We will have ecologist onsite during the sheet pile work and will be conducting inspections of the turtle fences throughout the workday at a minimum of 4 times daily.  The ecologists will be on the lookout for turtle nests during nesting season and can add protections as needed. 

Let me know if you want to discuss in more detail.  
Dan Franco, P. Eng (He/Him/His)
Project Engineer, Major Projects Officer,
City of Kingston”

5. Housing Update from the Providence Centre for Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation
Received  March 18, 2024
Federal Housing Advocate Releases Final Report & Recommendations on Encampments in Canada
The Advocate’s report provides a clear picture of a two-fold human rights crisis:

  1. Encampment residents are at dire risk of harm due to the failure to uphold their basic human rights.
  2. Encampments exist only because of a larger, systemic failure to uphold the right of all people to permanent, adequate housing without discrimination. 

After having engaged with encampment residents, rights holders, and duty bearers (i.e.,government actors) from across the country, the Advocate’s final report calls for a National Encampments Response plan to address this human rights crisis. 
People living in encampments are all rights holders under the NHSA, yet every day is a matter oflife and death. Concrete measures must be taken by all levels of governments to fulfill their human rights responsibilities including:

  1. Upholding the dignity and security of encampment residents, and;
  2. Offering encampment residents adequate and permanent housing solutions as rapidly as possible.

More info?
Register for the Human Rights Solutions to Homelessness: A National Encampment Response Plan webinar on March 26 at 2pm.
For more information on housing issues visit their webpage

6. Kingston Health Coalition Update
Received from the Kingston Health Coalition, March 18, 2024
KHC March Meeting to plan May March
Please join us at our next Kingston Health Coalition meeting at 7:00 pm on Wednesday, March 20, 2024 online. 
Topic: KHC March 20, 2024
We will be planning our spring campaign to fight against for-profit healthcare.  This plan will include distributing leaflets, organizing buses to Queen’s Park for a march on May 30, and distributing lawn signs.
There will also be a follow-up on the KHC Report about the privatization of cataract surgery in Kingston and our invitation to Dr. Pichora to meet with us.

Kingston Health Coalition is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
Topic: KHC March 20 2024
Time: Mar 20, 2024 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 838 7523 7070

To register for May 30 KHC Bus to Toronto.

Reserve your lawn sign (arrival in June).

7. Seniors for Social Action Update
Received March 18, 2024
Solitary confinement – it is a term we hear used often when it comes to prisoners, and it has disastrous psychological and physical effects. National and international organizations, experts, and concerned citizens have raised this issue repeatedly in the media (CBC News, 2022). In 2019 the Federal government passed Bill C-83 putting an end to the practice of solitary confinement in prisons (Canadian Press, 2022).

But there is another kind of solitary confinement that is equally punishing, One that is experienced by low-income, isolated seniors.  We live alone (Canadian Press, 2022). Some of us have no family and, thanks to attrition, few remaining friends. Our health is failing. Many of us live with disabilities. Some of us are care-givers, supporting older parents or partners.  Many more have outlived their savings. We spend almost every one of the days and nights we have left alone. Christmas, birthdays, national holidays – unacknowledged and uncelebrated. Alone.

Our governments at every level have admitted that this is “cause for concern”. We have been assessed and studied ad nauseam. Papers and scholarly articles have been written.  Commissions and focus groups formed.  Funds supposedly allocated.
But nothing changes.

These same governments have decreed that solitary confinement – for prisoners – is essentially “cruel and unusual punishment” and should be limited to 15 days (CBC News, 2017). We would be grateful to share that sentence. Currently we are condemned to death. No doubt also alone.
We’ve asked for help. Begged. Pleaded. Demanded. Wept.
But offers of assistance are thin on the ground.
 And, all too often, what is offered is not what we need. The ‘phone never rings. No mail arrives. This is our reality.
Interminable day follows endless night. We can barely tell the difference. Week days, weekends – all the same. 

“But”, we are assured, “things are changing. Systems are being put in place.” “Procedures that will make your life more comfortable. Less complicated. Easier to bear.” Promises are trumpeted – in commercials on radio and TV, in brochures and multimedia ads. On podcasts and web sites. Personalized letters are mailed, often signed by high-flying politicians whose names we recognize – the same ones who ignore our letters and e-mails.
Doctors and hospitals are on-board. Social services and volunteer agencies, too. Surveys are sent out and filled in. Consumer panels are consulted. Results extolled (Canadian Coalition for Seniors’ Mental Health, 2024).
Year after year after year – all paid for by our taxes. Yet nothing changes.


  • Stop taking the scattershot approach, treating seniors as if we are isolated islands of need. We are a bloc. A voting bloc – one which is growing exponentially year by year.
  • Start with a senior registry – one that’s required reading for every senior services agency in every locale.
  • List all seniors seeking assistance, along with the specific services they require, on this system.
  • Stop the duplication of services between agencies. So many agencies are eager to help. Each one has its own ideas of what that help should be. And each agency assesses every client it tries to serve. This process, which a central registry would obviate, exhausts and frustrates seniors and wastes time for the social workers involved.I have been approached by many agencies over the past few years. Each new one assesses me using, as far as I can tell, the same criteria as all the others. Seniors are, tired, weak, vulnerable. Our time is short. Constantly answering the same questions from so many different sources, only adds to our exhaustion.
  • Each agency apparently offers the same services. In an era of increasing specialization, this seems strange to me. When we try to access the services we actually need, all too often they have waiting lists, sometimes one to two years long. We may not be around that long! Or the service may be discontinued due to lack of funding, staffing or facilities.

The government is supposedly aware of these lacks and has purportedly allocated funds to address the issue – funds that never, ever seem to reach the front-line workers who are responsible for delivering the services. Where does the money go? I posed that question to many people while writing this article. No-one had an answer.

We, the advance guard, are realizing that, in Canada at least, it is currently easier to achieve an assisted death than to receive help in actually living what’s left of our days in any kind of comfort.
Jennifer Brown is a member of Seniors for Social Action Ontario’s Editorial Committee, a writer, and former college instructor.  She lives in a long-term care facility in Toronto where she continues to fight for the rights of elders. Comments on this and other editorials can be sent to

Thursday, March 21, 5:30 pm. Climate Change Disinformation Teach-In

We will debunk myths about the energy transition and explain why we need to phase-out fossil fuel production in Canada. This in-person event will take place in room 1101 in the Biosciences Complex at Queen’s University. Our expert speakers will provide insights to help you understand the real impact of Canada’s fossil fuel industry and how to combat disinformation.

Saturday, April 6, 11:00 – 1:00. Nationwide rally in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en. At RBC, Princess & King.
On April 6 stand in solidarity with Indigenous Land Defenders resisting projects funded by RBC.
RBC is complicit in human rights abuses and genocide at home and around the world. This includes the Coastal GasLink pipeline violating Wet’suwet’en rights, tar sands extraction causing devastating health impacts, and weapons and surveillance technology used in the genocide in Palestine. They profit from land theft and war, ecocide and genocide. 
Please let me know if you would like to help organize the rally.
RSVP here to take action against RBC – Canada’s largest financier of genocide and climate chaos!
In solidarity,
Phillis Waugh, Chair, Seniors for Climate Action Now

8. Free Boating Information from Parks Canada
Free boating and general information packages are available by contacting the
Rideau Canal Office of Parks Canada at
or by email at:
(please include your postal mailing address in your email)
General Rideau info is available by calling the Parks Canada Call Centre at:

9.Three Great Lakes commissions announce partnership to advance restorationGreat Lakes Now, March 6, 2024.  The Great Lakes Commission, Great Lakes Fishery Commission, and International Joint Commission are all tasked with varying aspects of management in the Great Lakes.  On Wednesday, they all gathered ahead of a Washington, D.C. event honoring the region to sign a groundbreaking formal agreement.  Going forward, the three organizations will work together to protect local ecosystems and the economies that depend on them.

10. Canadian and United States Coast Guards recommit to close partnership on Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River during Minister Lebouthillier’s U.S. visit, Government of Canada, March 6, 2024.  The Honourable Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans, and the Canadian Coast Guard, met today with Commandant Admiral Linda L. Fagan at the United States Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, D.C., to discuss the close partnership between the two coast guards on maritime safety and protection.  This visit comes on the heels of the Canadian and United States Coast Guards signing an updated Memorandum of Understanding on February 15, 2024, renewing the two organizations’ coordination of icebreaking and buoy tending operations on the Great Lakes, connecting waterways, and the shared portion of the St. Lawrence River.

11. Toronto wants buildings to tap into its sewage for heating
Received from CBC What on Earth, Thurs, Mar 7, 2024,fossil%20fuels%20to%20keep%20warm.

12. No, Overwintering Turtles Don’t Breathe through their Butts: Getting to the Bottom of a Popular Misconception

Received from The Conversation, March 3, 2024 – Gregory Bulte, Carleton University
On a crisp February day, a filmmaker and I were walking across the 45-centimetre-thick ice covering Opinicon Lake, a small lake in eastern Ontario. We were heading for a very special spot where hundreds of northern map turtles coalesce every year to spend the winter months. The filmmaker stuck a camera attached to a long pole in holes drilled through the ice to capture turtles for a nature documentary.
As we spotted our first turtles on the monitor, the filmmaker confided that he would like to get a shot of a turtle’s rear end. Strange as it sounds, this request didn’t surprise me. The filmmaker wanted to show overwintering turtles breathing with their butts. I had disappointing news for him.
I can’t blame the filmmaker for expecting to observe this bizarre form of respiration in our overwintering turtles. A quick Google search turns up several stories about butt-breathing turtles, many from credible sources.
Our mission is to share knowledge and inform decisions.
About us
A handful of turtles can breathe through their butts — it’s called cloacal gas exchange — but they are distant relatives of the North American species often claimed to do so in winter. But as far as scientific evidence goes, North American turtles overwintering in ice-covered water bodies don’t survive by breathing through their butts.
Mysterious cloacal sacs
In turtles, as in other reptiles (including birds), the reproductive and digestive tracts merge into a single pipe called the cloaca. Some species of turtles have a pair of sacs sprouting from their cloacal passage. These sacs, called cloacal bursae, are different from the single urinary bladder.
The function of cloacal bursae has baffled anatomists and physiologists for more than two centuries. In 1998, C. Barker Jørgenson published a historical overview of the research on these structures since their discovery.
According to Jørgensen, the anatomist Hans Gadow was the first to invoke a respiratory function for the sacs in a 1901 book called Amphibia and Reptiles. Gadow wrote that “these sacs, which have highly vascularised walls, are incessantly filled and emptied with water through the vent, and act as important respiratory organs.”
This suggestion of a respiratory function, Jørgenson pointed out, became widely accepted without any
Evidence of cloacal respiration did eventually come from research on Australian freshwater turtles, such as the saw-shelled turtle and the white-throated snapping turtle. The inner surface of the bursae in these species is densely lined with tiny finger-like projections called papillae which are themselves packed with tiny blood vessels. The papillae appear to function like gills.
A turtle pumps water into its cloaca and the oxygen dissolved in the water is absorbed by the blood vessels in the papillae while carbon dioxide diffuses from the blood to the water. The turtle then expels the stale water out of its cloaca and pumps fresh water back in. Even when the water is warm and the demand for oxygen high, some of these Australian turtles remain submerged for hours, relying on their cloacal bursae to get the oxygen they need.
These findings are remarkable, but North American turtles do not have the same cloacal superpowers.
Full Article?,is%20nothing%20but%20hot%20air.

13. Life-threatening Effects from Plastic Pollultion
Received from the National Observer, March 8, 2024
This story was originally published by The Guardian and appears here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.
“Doctors have warned of potentially life-threatening effects from plastic pollution after finding a substantially raised risk of stroke, heart attack and earlier death in people whose blood vessels were contaminated with microscopic plastics.
Researchers in Naples, Italy, examined fatty plaques removed from the blood vessels of patients with arterial disease and found that more than half had deposits contaminated with tiny particles of polyethylene or polyvinyl chloride (PVC).
Those whose plaques contained microplastics or nanoplastics were nearly five times more likely to suffer a stroke, heart attack or death from any cause over the following 34 months, compared with those whose plaques were free from plastic contamination.
The findings do not prove that plastic particles drive strokes and heart attacks — people who are more exposed to the pollution may be at greater risk for other reasons — but research on animals and human cells suggests the particles may be to blame.
“Our data will dramatically impact cardiovascular health, if confirmed, because we are defenceless against plastic pollution,” said Dr. Raffaele Marfella, first author on the study at the University of Campania Luigi Vanvitelli in Naples. “The only defence we have available today is prevention by reducing plastic production.”
Because plastic pollution is ubiquitous, reaching across the entire planet, Marfella said even if society succeeded in the massive task of slashing plastic pollution, any health benefits from the cleanup would not be seen for years.
The doctors embarked on the research after noticing a rise in strokes and heart attacks in patients who would normally be considered low-risk. Marfella and his colleagues wondered whether plastic pollution might be involved in damaging people’s blood vessels by driving inflammation.
Writing in the New England Journal of Medicine, the doctors describe how they analyzed fatty plaques removed from 304 patients with atherosclerosis affecting the carotid arteries. The carotid arteries are the main blood vessels that supply blood to the neck, face and brain. The disease causes a build-up of plaque in the arteries, which substantially raises the risk of stroke. The plaques can be removed by a procedure called carotid endarterectomy.
Researchers in Italy examined fatty plaques removed from the blood vessels of patients with arterial #disease and found that more than half had deposits contaminated with tiny particles of #plastic.
Lab tests on the extracted plaques revealed polyethylene in 150 patients and polyvinyl chloride in 31, alongside signs of inflammation. On examination under an electron microscope, the researchers spotted jagged foreign particles in the fatty deposits, most less than a thousandth of a millimetre across.
The doctors followed 257 of the patients for an average of 34 months after they had carotid plaques removed. Those who had plastic particles in their plaques were 4.5 times more likely to have a stroke or heart attack, or to die from any cause, than those whose plaques were free from plastic pollution.
Marfella said the discovery of plastics in the plaques was “surprising” and that the likely effect on cardiovascular health was “worrisome.” The findings may explain what doctors call “residual cardiovascular risk,” he said, where 20 to 30 per cent of patients who have been treated for common risk factors, such as high blood pressure and diabetes, still go on to have heart attacks and strokes.
Further work is needed to confirm whether plastic pollution plays a role in strokes and heart attacks, but Marfella called for greater awareness of the potential threat.
“People must become aware of the risks we are taking with our lifestyle,” he said. “I hope the alarm message from our study will raise the consciousness of citizens, especially governments, to finally become aware of the importance of the health of our planet. To put it in a slogan that can unite the need for health for humans and the planet, plastic-free is healthy for the heart and the Earth.”
Holly Shiels, professor of integrative physiology at the University of Manchester, said the impact of micro- and nanoplastics on plaque formation and coronary heart disease needed greater attention. “It is conceivable that microplastics and nanoplastics, and the toxins they carry, could trigger events leading to the development of atherosclerosis,” she said.”

14. Introduction to Decolonizing and Unsettling: A Settler Perspective on Restoring our Relationships with Water – Zooom Presentation
Received from
We are seeing the words ‘colonization’ and ‘decolonization’ pop up more and more often in the environmental justice realm, and rightly so, but what do we really mean when we talk about ‘decolonizing’ and why is it essential to the water justice movement? Learn alongside cultural ecologist James Wilkes as he presents a settler perspective on decolonization, introduces ways to discuss colonialism in Canada, and provides tangible ways to begin your own journeys to confront colonialism in our lives. The session will include an opportunity to ask your questions about colonialism and decolonization through a moderated question & answer period. This event will not be recorded, so please make plans to attend the live event to learn together.

James Wilkes
James Wilkes is a treaty person and a guest in Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg territory, and he works to support the continuation of ecological and cultural diversity through action, teaching, and research. James is a cultural ecologist and contract faculty member in the Indigenous Environmental Studies & Sciences (IESS) program at Trent University, an instructor at the First Nations Technical Institute (FNTI) in Tyendinaga, and a PhD candidate in : A Environmental Studies at Queen’s University. James is a member of Decolonizing Efforts for Water (DEW) as well as Community Voices for Manoomin (CVFM) for the protection of wild rice in Nogojiwanong/Peterborough. 
When: March 28, 2024, 7 pm
To Register:

15. Climate Reality Project Canada – Community Climate Hubs
Received from the Cllimate realisty Canada community, March 21, 2024
Ontario Regional Community Monthly Call –  March 21st 6:30 pm

March Call: Featuring Garrett Johnson and Green Construction
Join us to learn from Garrett Johnson who will speak on green construction: the materials, how to be climate conscious in the industry and sustainable water management. He has an association with Plenty Canada  Plenty Canada – News and their OpenCampus. 
Register here:

What is a Community Call?
This space will be dedicated to telling stories of success, of struggles, and of simply what is happening in Ontario with CRLs, Hubs, and Campus Corps students. We want these spaces to be places of connection, inspiration, and empowerment for attendees. Each meeting will start with one or two people sharing their climate stories and lessons, or discuss a particular topic or campaign they are working on. After, there will be time to discuss amongst one another and break out into groups specific to different topics. These will vary each month, and will be chosen based on feedback of participants on what they would like to talk about most.
Ottawa – in person –  March 21st 8:00 AM – 1:30 PM EDT
Leaders Creating a Sustainable World

Leaders Creating a Sustainable World Tickets, Thu, 21 Mar 2024 at 8:00 AM | Eventbrite
An International Women’s Month, Pan-Ontario Scaleup Event Hosted by Invest Ottawa, Communitech and MaRS, IWM 2024 Title Sponsor, BDC Capital’s Thrive Venture Fund, and Event Sponsor, MDK Business Law.
If you aim to impact our world positively, economically, socially, or environmentally, this event is for you.
Join us for inspiration and actionable insight from true role models who translate vision into action and impact locally, nationally and globally.
Our event speakers are leading powerful initiatives, companies and investments that are making a difference. They’re accomplished and visionary investors, industry leaders, and entrepreneurs who directly support the UN’s sustainability goals and the objectives that underpin International Women’s Month.

Climate Cafe – March 26th 7 pm EST – virtual
A warm and welcoming space, with facilitators, where people concerned about climate crisis and related issues share feelings and thoughts.

Today in the New York Times … 
Can Climate Cafes Help Ease the Anxiety of Planetary Crisis? – The New York Times (

Come and experience the Carbon Conversations Climate Cafe co-facilitated by climate activists who have been trained by the Climate Psychology Alliance.
CCTO Climate Cafe – March 26th Tickets, Tue, 26 Mar 2024 at 7:00 PM | Eventbrite

4RGs – Peterborough Climate Reality Hub – 
Follow-up activity to January’s 4RG Meet on “Climate Aligned Finance”  
Please read the Following note , and help out if you can.
Hello fellow climate activists! 
If you are looking for an opportunity to inspire change and make a difference through positive climate action, join us in planning this simple, fun, and impactful event! The goal of this event is  to inspire people in public to take the quick and immediate climate action of calling a politician and urging them to pass the Climate Aligned Finance Act (check out the recording of the 4RG meets presentation on the Climate Aligned Finance Act to learn about this important climate solution). We will be providing short, user-friendly scripts, and all the enthusiasm needed to help people take this important action. The event will take place in a public space TBD outdoors in May or June, and we want to make it as fun and celebratory as possible! If you are interested in helping to plan and/or carry out this event, please email Theresa at to say you are interested. 
In Solidarity,
Theresa4RG events committee member

16. How Do Halibut Migrate? Clues are in their Ear Bones
Received from The Conversation, March 21, 2024

 So that’s it for March,
Wishing you a Happy World Water Day March 21 filled with gratitude for water in its many amazing and wonderful forms
– and also on the 21st a Happy International Day of Forests.  Hug a tree!

Hope to see you at EITP March 26, 
Mary Farrar, President