Open House Aims to Raise Awareness about Stormwater

The ecology of Thunder Bay’s waterfront and the remedial action plan will be brought into the spotlight Monday March, 18 at the North Shore Remedial Action Plan’s open house. The impacts of stormwater in Thunder Bay will be the focus of the event. Governing agencies, academic institutions, and local organizations are partnering to heighten awareness of this important, but often overlooked, environmental issue.

Jim Bailey is very familiar with the different environmental problems facing Thunder Bay’s waterways, including stormwater. Bailey coordinates the remedial action plan for Thunder Bay. He works with various partners to improve environmental conditions and expects the open house will be informative and thought-provoking. “Most people don’t think about stormwater much, but it is one of the biggest environmental threats to Lake Superior and the Great Lakes as a whole,” Bailey explains.

Stormwater has the potential to transport large amounts of contaminants into water bodies. Think oil drips and spills, road salt, lawn fertilizer and pet waste, to name a few. Also, excessive stormwater can overwhelm infrastructure and lead to flooding: the extreme weather events that hit Thunder Bay, Duluth and Wawa in 2012 were a wake-up call for many. From home-owners to government agencies, people are realizing that we need to take a serious look at stormwater management.

Guest speakers Matthew Child, from the International Joint Commission, and Bradley Doff, from SMARTGreening, will be giving informative talks on the issues surrounding stormwater. Information displays presented by local partners will offer practical tips on what individuals can do at home to reduce the negative impacts of stormwater. Information on rain barrels, rain gardens and the City of Thunder Bay’s Drainage Rebate Program will all be at hand. “It all comes back to the lake”, says Bailey, “whether the issue is stormwater, loss of fish habitat, beach closures, or whatever, we need to work together to protect Lake Superior.”

The Green Community, Clean Waters: A Positive Perspective on Stormwater Management event will be held at the Waterfront Baggage Building Art Centre, Monday March 18 from 4-8 pm. For more information, visit www.infosuperior.com/openhouse.