«Grey Bruce Health Unit 101 17th St E, Owen Sound, ON, N4K 0A5 Tel: 519-376-9420 Toll: 1-800-263-3456 What is in this ...»
Grey-Bruce’s State of the Environment Report
Grey Bruce Health Unit
101 17th St E, Owen Sound, ON, N4K 0A5
Tel: 519-376-9420 Toll: 1-800-263-3456
What is in this report?
This is the first assessment of the state of Grey-Bruce’s environment from a health perspective. This
report aims to capture and present information on the state of the environment for 2013 (unless
otherwise stated) in terms of: its condition, the pressures on it and driving forces contributing to those pressures, human health implications, and societal actions to address environmental concerns. The information in this report sets out baseline data as a yardstick against which to measure the changing state of our environment and its health implications for humans in future years.
The focus of this report is the natural and ambient environment; however we acknowledge that increasingly the built environment is considered part of the broader environment. The built environment of Grey-Bruce may be addressed in a future report. It is also important to note that this report is not yet a comprehensive report touching upon all the relevant environmental issues in Grey- Bruce, but rather a first step in bringing them together.
© November 2014 Grey Bruce Health Unit 101 17th Street East Owen Sound ON, N4K 0A5 2 Acknowledgements This report was researched and written by Steven Lam (MPH – University of Guelph). Alanna Leffley (Grey Bruce Health Unit), Bob Hart (Grey Bruce Health Unit), and Dr. Donald Cole (University of Toronto) conceptualized the report, provided direction, vision, and revision support; all of which helped shape the outline and content of the report.
The report is a cooperative effort of the community as represented by various individuals who provided valuable input towards the production of Grey-Bruce’s State of the Environment Report 2014. In
alphabetical order, these individuals are:
Andrew Barton, Grey Bruce Health Unit John Bittorf, Sauble Grey Conservation Authority Liz Buckton, Municipality of Meaford Rick Chappell, Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change Chris LaForest, Bruce County Ian Mitchell, Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change Angela Newman, Grey Bruce Health Unit Various individuals from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry Many thanks are extended to Virginia McFarland (Grey Bruce Health Unit) for her help with data analysis.
For further information, please contact:
Alanna Leffley, Senior Epidemiologist Grey Bruce Health Unit 101 17th Street East, Owen Sound ON N4K 0A5 firstname.lastname@example.org
Lam S, Leffley A, Hart B, Cole DC. (2014). Grey-Bruce’s State of the Environment Report 2014. Owen Sound, Ontario: Grey Bruce Health Unit.
This first state of the environment report for Grey and Bruce counties sets a solid base from which to monitor and evaluate the environment in future years. In this report, Grey-Bruce’s environment is described in terms of: its current condition, pressures on it and the driving forces underlying those pressures, human health implications, and societal actions to address environmental issues. The purpose of this report is to inform decision makers, planners, organizations and the broader community about the condition of the natural environment, whose health is essential to the well-being of residents of Grey and Bruce counties. As we gain a better understanding of the environment, its health, and its impact on human health, we can better protect our natural resources and human health.
There is a complex relationship between the environment and human health, and this report attempts to simplify this relationship into a set of indicators (environmental indicators and ecological indicators).
While indicators were identified for many aspects of the environment, much data required for a comprehensive picture was not available, incomplete, or not representative of the entire region.
Nevertheless, sufficient data were available to indicate that the Grey-Bruce environment was in relatively good condition and trends were identified where sufficient data were available (Table 1).
Environmental indicators include indicators of land, air and water quality. For land quality indicators, baseline energy consumption and greenhouse gas emission levels for Grey-Bruce were recently established in 2011, allowing for measurement of change over time. Waste diversion rates were increasing over time and some municipalities in Grey-Bruce have reached Ontario’s waste diversion goal of 60%. More than half of Grey-Bruce’s land remained as farmland which generates $672 million annually in gross farm receipts. Soil cover appeared to be increasing over time but there was no data on other soil quality indicators.
For air quality indicators, air pollution levels consistently met provincial air quality guidelines, the number of air pollutant exceedances above provincial standards was low, and particulate matter concentrations have decreased significantly over time (p=0.035); however, it is important to note that data came from just one monitoring station located in the town of Tiverton in the southern part of Bruce County.
For water quality indicators, Adverse Water Quality Incident reports showed that municipal drinking water quality appeared to be good; however private drinking water quality still presented concerns, as private drinking water samples submitted for testing have decreased over time. Surface water quality and beach water quality appeared to be in good condition. The number of exceedances above provincial beach water quality standards was low, with 2013 being the lowest in 5 years. Water levels of Lake 4 Huron and Georgian Bay appeared to be decreasing over the last 20 years with a record low in 2013, however water levels rose above-seasonal-average in 2014.
For ecological indicators, the incidence of vector diseases in Grey-Bruce has remained low over time.
Forests and wetlands appeared to be in good condition; however more monitoring data is needed to determine trends in their ecological indicators. The status of biodiversity and fish and fish habitat could not be determined due to insufficient data.
Driving forces affect many aspects of the natural environment and include population growth, economic growth and climate change. Population growth in Grey-Bruce was very low at less than 1% from 2006 to
2011. Economic growth generally leads to more resource use which can be accompanied by pollution from agriculture, industries and transportation unless managed well; however economic progress in the region could not be determined due to insufficient data. Grey-Bruce climate indicators showed steady averages over the last 20 years. The climate indicators studied in this report were not detailed enough to be able to draw strong conclusions but it appears that present driving forces do not exert large pressures on the environment.
Pressures on Grey-Bruce’s environment vary depending on the type of environmental health indicator one examines. For example, for water quality indicators, wetland condition indicators and fish and fish habitat condition indicators, the main pressures are sewage discharge, agricultural runoff, industrial leakage, and invasive species. Human health implications arising from the current state of the environment are documented throughout the report.
Initiatives to address environmental issues by the community, organizations and government bodies are documented throughout. With this report on the state of the environment, municipalities, organizations, planners, decision-makers and the broader community have an opportunity to better understand the natural environment and human health impacts. Regular updates to state of the environment reporting can help residents of the area stay informed and aware, and help governments and other stakeholders set priorities for action.
The conference was opened with the following prayer by Jimelda Johnston of the Southwest Aboriginal Health Access Centre who kindly agreed to share it for this report.
“WeyWeyNaaboozhoo, It’s great to be here, an honor to be part of this historical gathering in the Saugeen Territories, a land sacred to indigenous people around the Great Lakes.
Our ancestors are smiling today and happy to be included in such an important event as Healthy Communities.
One of our greatest values in life is relationship – right relationship – within Creation, our families, our community, our nation and beyond, nation to nation, community to community, family to family and self to creation.
Another of our greatest values in life is inviting ‘Zahweygizhemidoo’ (Our Creator) into the work, play, and relationships, so if we can for a moment before the event unfolds, focus and remember who we are
Boozhoo Mishomis, Boozhoo Nokomis, Ogimah Binesse Kwe is my name, Maang Dodem, I am Mediwiwin, I am Anishnabae Kwe Creator, maker and giver of all life, we turn to you at this time of Knowledge seeking and creating right relationship with each other and ask you to be among us… and we give gratitude for our life and all the ways you share your perfect essence, you’re most beautiful perfect Creation. We are grateful for the four directions and the spirit keepers of those directions: Waabanong, Zawhwenong, Negahbenong, Giwaydinong whom have been fulfilling their responsibility from the beginning of time Miigwetch, for giving us a Loving Mother that provides us with all that we need to enjoy and live a good life, to help us heal, help us grow, nurtures us, protects us, provides every medicine for us, and loves us like a Mother with a heart, we are grateful.
Miigwetch, for the water that flows through her, and is the essence of all life. We are grateful for the Thunderbirds that bring the purification and nurturing so essential for our babies and the water that surrounds them before their feet touch our loving mother, water that is so essential for future generations. We are grateful for the water, the water beings and the spirit keepers of the water, which are so essential to life for without water no life will survive. And for Grandmother Moon who in her waning and waxing works with the ebb and flow of water throughout Creation, both within and outside ourselves. We are grateful for our Grandmother Moon and this perfect essence of Creation.
Geezis, our Grandfather Sun’s movement is closer to our Mother giving warmth and balance, essential to life and sustenance in this beautiful Creation. We are grateful.
We are grateful for the winds and air, from our first breath to our last breath. We have been blessed with the touch both within and outside ourselves, experiencing YOUR gentleness and strength. We are Grateful for the winds of the four directions that are so essential to life… Miigwetch, for the animals and birds, swimmers and flyers, crawlers, those below and above. Gratitude for our Dodems, those ones that Honor us to walk with them, and speak for them as they cannot speak for themselves. We are grateful for our relatives, so essential to the balance and enjoyment of this Creation.
We ask, invite you into this time and place to acknowledge this life, which is not so much about our story, but your story and honouring the essence of healing, healthy relationships and healthy communities.
There is so much to be grateful for, we can’t even remember it all at this time, but know from our heart that we are grateful for everyone and everything in Creation.
Miigwetch, Zahweygizemidoo Miigwetch Zahweygizemidoo Miigwetch Zahweygizemidoo Miigwetch Zahweygizemidoo Neh Kahnegenah………All my relations” 9 Table of Contents Acknowledgements
List of Figures
List of Tables
Reporting and framework
Health Unit Counties Profile
What is unique about Grey-Bruce?
Population growth and economic growth
Drinking water quality
Surface water quality
Beach water quality
10 Fish and fish habitat monitoring
Challenges and Future State of the Environment Reporting
Appendix A – Saugeen Ojibway Nation Territory Map
Appendix B – Waste Disposal Information
Appendix C – Municipal Drinking Water Systems
Appendix D – Conservation Authority Grading System
Appendix E – Source Protection Area Map
Appendix F – Beach Information
Appendix G – Full List of Known Species at Risk
Appendix H – Definitions of Species at Risk Categories
Appendix I – Fishery Management Zones
Appendix J – Data Gaps
11 List of Figures Figure 1. The DPSEEA Framework.
Figure 2: Map of Grey-Bruce municipalities.
Figure 3: Map of Conservation Authority boundaries.
Figure 4: Total residential waste generated per person from 2008-2012
Figure 5: Percentage waste diverted from 2008-2012.
Figure 6: Area of land under tillage in Grey-Bruce from 2006-2011.
Figure 7: Annual amount of rainfall from 1992-2013.
Figure 8: Annual average summer temperatures (Jun, Jul, Aug) from 1992-2013.
Figure 9: Annual average winter temperatures (Dec, Jan, Feb) from 1993-2013.
Figure 10: Annual number of heat alerts from 2003-2013.
Figure 11: Number of emergency department visits due to natural cold and heat from 2003-2012. 33 Figure 12: Average annual ozone levels from 2003-2013.
Figure 13: Number of hourly ozone exceedances (80 ppb) from 2003-2013
Figure 14: Average fine particulate matter (PM2.5) levels from 2003-2013.
Figure 15: Number of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) Exceedances (30 µg/m3) from 2003-2013.... 37 Figure 16: Number of smog days for Grey-Bruce and Ontario from 2003-2013.
Figure 17: Overall surface water quality of watersheds in Grey-Bruce.