Tag Archives: Environment Canada



The following excerpts are taken from “Our Great Lakes Commons: A Peoples Plan to Protect the Great Lakes Forever”, by Maude Barlow, National Chairperson, Council of Canadians.  I’ve also included some information from Environment Canada.

I encourage you to watch the video, “Incredible by Any Measure…the Great Lakes”, created by The Nature Conservancy, that I’ve placed at the end of this blog – a wealth of information and incredible cinematography.

The Great Lakes of North America form the largest group of freshwater lakes in the world, holding more than 20 per cent of the world’s surface freshwater and 95 per cent of North America’s. Add to this the groundwater underlying and feeding the Great Lakes or its tribu­tary streams and lakes, and the percentage is closer to 25 and 97 per cent respectively. The Lakes and the St. Lawrence River, which is their primary flow outlet to the Atlantic Ocean, are bordered by two Canadian provinces: Ontario and Quebec, and eight U.S. states…

The Great Lakes have a unique biodiversity and are home to more than 3,500 species of plants and animals. They were formed over 20,000 years ago when the last glacier continental ice sheet retreated. The Great Lakes provide life and livelihood to more than 40 million people and are the economic centre at the heart of the continent. They are, however, under serious threat from a wide variety of demands and sources… There is a misconception that the Great Lakes replenish themselves each year with rainwater. This is not true.

. . . we have built our economic and development policies based on a human-centric model and assumed that nature would never fail to provide, or that, where it does fail, technology will save the day. We have polluted, diverted and mismanaged the planet’s finite supplies of water to the point that they are now dangerously close to collapse in many parts of the world . . . The waters of the Great Lakes are no exception to this rule.

 The Great Lakes – some vital statistics

The five Great Lakes  hold one-fifth of the fresh water on the earth’s surface and 80 percent of the lake and river water in North America. The Great Lakes basin, including the water and land area that drains into the lakes, covers 766,000 square kilometres (295,700 square miles). The shoreline of the five Great Lakes and the connecting rivers stretches for 17,000 kilometres (10,200 miles), long enough to reach nearly halfway around the world. The water of the Great Lakes flows from the middle of the continent to the Atlantic Ocean.  The lakes contain the world’s largest system of freshwater islands, some of which are refuges for rare and endangered species. About five million people fish in the Great Lakes. Close to one million boats, mainly pleasure craft operate on the Great Lakes.

A few ways we can help keep the environment and wildlife species of our Great Lakes safe.

Keep hazardous materials out of the water. Purchase products that are produced in ways that have a low impact on the environment. Use safe disposal methods for insect and weed killers, paints, solvents, used motor oil, and other auto fluids. Take them to hazardous waste centres for disposal. Take used motor oil to a service station for recycling. Take medicines to a pharmacy for safe disposal. Keep litter, pet waste, leaves, and debris out of street gutters and storm drains. Avoid hosing dirt into storm sewers because it can reduce flow in them and be carried into lakes and rivers. Use low-phosphate or phosphate-free detergents. Use natural pest-control methods. Disconnect downspouts and direct rainwater into a barrel or onto your lawn or garden. Use separate stones and porous materials instead of concrete for walkways, driveways, and patios so that water will seep into the ground rather than draining into the sewer systems. Support car washes that treat or recycle their wastewater and dry cleaners that are using new “green” processes.

 Video – “Incredible by Any Measure…the Great Lakes”

 Links –




Posted on June 21, 2011

Photo: Liam Richards

Dr. Monique Dubé has won Canadian Geographic‘s 2011 Environmental Scientist of the Year Award for her contributions to aquatic ecosystem research. Dubé is the Canada Research Chair in Aquatic Ecosystem Health Diagnosis, an associate professor in the School of Environment and Sustainability at the University of Saskatchewan, and the leader of a CWN-funded project that assesses the cumulative effects of multiple stressors on aquatic ecosystems.

Dubé’s project assesses the cumulative effects of multiple stressors on aquatic ecosystems. She and her research team are developing a framework to conduct cumulative effects assessments across five Canadian watersheds. The results from this four-year study will be integrated into a decision-support software tool called THREATS — The Healthy River Ecosystem AssessmenT System—which will be used by researchers and conservation authorities to better protect and manage water resources.

“Our limitation is not science,” said Dubé at last April’s Munk School event on water management in the oilsands. “We know what needs to be done. But we are being ignored.”



Dr. Monique Dubé receives 2011 Saskatoon YWCA Women of Distinction Award

Dr. Monique Dubé has received the 2011 YWCA Saskatoon Women of Distinction Award in the science, technology and research category.

Dr. Dubé is an adjunct professor at the Canadian Rivers Institute at the University of New Brunswick and the leader of a CWN-funded project that assesses the cumulative effects of multiple stressors on aquatic ecosystems.

With CWN support, Dr. Dubé and her pan-Canadian research team are developing a framework to conduct cumulative effects assessments on lakes and rivers across Canada.

The results from the framework will be compared across watersheds and then integrated into a software-based decision-support tool called THREATS — The Healthy RiverEcosystem AssessmenT System — to be used by researchers and conservation authorities to better protect and manage our water resources.

“We are proud to honour women who are doing so much to strengthen our community,” said Barb Macpherson, executive director of YWCA Saskatoon.

“These incredible women remind us that each person has great potential and our role in this community is to support women and families to reach their potential and rise above challenging circumstances.”

Eleven Saskatoon women were recipients of the prestigious awards for contributions to the community and outstanding achievements in their respective fields.

Congratulations on a well-deserved honour, Monique!


Dr. Monique Dubé

Many of Canada’s rivers are being degraded through urban and industrial development and other human activities. What are the effects of dumping effluent into rivers? How much can these crucial lifelines withstand before they cross a critical line, a point of no return?

Dr. Monique Dubé – Canada Research Chair (Tier II) in Aquatic Ecosystem Health Diagnosis at the University of Saskatchewan – has created the Healthy River Ecosystem Assessment System (THREATS) to help answer these questions. This nationally recognized framework and related software can identify when important changes have occurred in the quality of the water in rivers and in the health of the river’s bugs and fish. Her approach also involves a mobile laboratory for use at ‘hot spot’ sites on the rivers in order to track changes over time. The ultimate goal is providing the information essential to forming policies to keep waterways healthy.

Dr Dubé is committed to teaching and training young scientists so they can make a positive contribution to protecting our environment.

Her commitment to keeping Canadian waters the treasures that they are is reflected in the numerous research projects and publications (over 50) she has undertaken. Dr Dubé has also received international recognition for development of bioassays for assessing effects of pulp mill, mine, and sewage wastes on river health, including most recently the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council‘s Synergy award.

Dr Dubé is also committed to teaching and training young scientists so they can make a positive contribution to protecting our environment. She has taught numerous University courses and developed an undergraduate course on water quality assessment, water pollution, wastewater treatment, and issues relating to environmental management and professional ethics. She is currently developing a graduate level course in experimental design and statistics.

Dr Dubé has also been described as an inspirational role model for young women scientists in research. She had two children while completing her Ph.D. and wants to help create a flexible learning environment so others can be equally successful.

In addition, Dr Dubé is known for working with communities, regulators, and industries to develop solutions to local issues. Her focus is on applying science to serving the public good.

  See also: http://www.usask.ca/crc/profiles/dube.php

Based on submission by Dr. Dubé’s graduate students: Carrie Rickwood, Jason Inkster, Allison Squires and Lauren Clarke.