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Conservation Committee News December 2023


The original draft Community Standards By-law circulated by the City of Kingston in July included a section:

6. Feeding of Wildlife

6.1 No person will feed or permit the feeding of wildlife, or leave food that is accessible by wildlife.

But with exceptions including

(h) a person feeding songbirds as follows:

(i) the food intended for the songbirds is placed in a bird feeding device that is sufficiently above grade so as to not attract or be accessible to wildlife;

(ii) the bird feeding device is located on private property, and the owner has given permission for the installation and use of the bird feeding device;

(iii) any food spilled from the bird feeding device is removed in a timely manner such that it does not attract other wildlife; and

(iv) the bird feeding device is kept in sanitary condition and in good working order.

I did not submit a response on behalf of the KFN as there was a split in opinions for/against the restriction expressed by members of the executive, that would no doubt also occur among our general membership.

Information about the proposed by-law was emailed to all KFN members in order that they could make individual responses to the City.

When the revised by-law was submitted to Council last month:

  • The reference to “songbirds” in section (h) had been changed to “birds”, partly because the term songbirds was vague, and definitely did not include woodpeckers
  • Section (iii) had been removed

During the debate on the proposed by-law, section (i) was deleted, partly because it was meaningless, since the City’s definition of wildlife includes squirrels, and it is impossible to place a bird feeder sufficiently above grade so that it does not attract squirrels!


As advised in my November Report, the owners have applied “to blast and remove approximately 15,000 m3 of Lake Ontario lake bed to build a dock for a tug and barge. From there, they plan to remove sand by the barge load for up to 40 years.”

I informed the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry that the KFN opposed the application as:

·      the project is situated in an area that has been designated an Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas by Birdlife International

·      and the sand-pit adjacent to the project has a well documented history as a breeding site for Bank Swallows, which are listed as a “Threatened Species” under the Ontario Government’s Endangered Species Act

·      but we have received no information on the anticipated environmental impact of the project, or on any mitigation measures proposed.


Kingston Waterfront Developments Ltd. have applied to Transport Canada for permission to build a 38 slip private marina and floating breakwater in Elevator Bay.

This is the latest step in the ongoing saga/controversy around the Admiral’s Walk development on the site of the old grain elevator in Elevator Bay.

The basic issues are:

1.         the proposed development seems “too big” for the site, and will overwhelm the neighbouring houses

2.         but permission for a large, ill-defined development on the site was given back in 1987, and nothing can be done to curtail the proposed development as it falls within the parameters granted then.

3.         a marina was included in the earlier proposals.

(For more information see:

City of Kingston reviews site plan for historic property at 1110 King West (kingstonist.com) and

From pier to posh: What exactly is 1110 King West? – Kingston News (kingstonist.com) (2021)

Planning Committee approves Site Plan Control for 1110 King West – Kingston News (kingstonist.com) (June 20th 2022))

I have informed Navigation Canada that the Kingston Field Naturalists are concerned about this proposal, due to its potential impact on the thousands of birds that frequent Elevator Bay.

I have requested that an Environmental Impact Study be carried out, and appropriate mitigation measures such as speed limits be required.

However, Navigation Canada seems to be concerned about obstructions to navigation., not problems that the marina may create. I do not expect that we will get a favourable response.


Thanks to FRESHWATER FUTURE for this information from their weekly newsletter.

Asian Carp

For twenty years people have been concerned about Asian Carp spreading from the Mississippi River into the Great Lakes.

The big concern has been that they would spread through the Chicago Sanitary Canal into Lake Michigan.

But now they have been discovered in Lake Erie! – For more information see

22-pound invasive carp found seven miles from Lake Michigan – mlive.com

PowerPoint Presentation (glc.org)

Some good news is that construction on an $860 million US Government project to enhance protections to prevent invasive Asian carp from reaching the Great Lakes through the Chicago Sanitary Canal. But: of the eight US states that border the Great Lakes, only Illinois and Michigan have agreed to contribute towards the cost of the project! – For more information see:

Michigan, Illinois propose $114M toward invasive carp fortifications – mlive.com

Water transfers

I am often perplexed by announcements about giant companies building giant new facilities in states like Texas and Arizona which have a water shortage.

I wonder when the proposals, and then demands, to pump water south from Lake Michigan will start building up?

The Great Lakes–Saint Lawrence River Basin Sustainable Water Resources Agreement, is an agreement between the States of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, and the Provinces of Ontario and Quebec, that is intended to stop water being diverted outside the Great Lakes- Saint Lawrence River watershed.

But there are exceptions, and Chicago has just made a 100-year, $1 billion agreement to sell water to Joliet via a 50 km pipeline from Lake Michigan!

Chicago sold Lake Michigan water to Joliet for $1 billion (jsonline.com) )

This may be allowed under the agreement, but I wonder whether it is “the thin end of the wedge”!

For more information contact Chris Hargreaves at conservation@kingstonfieldnaturalists.org