Using a GIS-Based Multi-Criteria Evaluation Model to Determine the Most Suitable Lake Sub-catchment for Treatment in Sudbury, Ontario.
Due to mining activity, the water quality of many lakes and streams in Sudbury, Ontario have been heavily impacted by air pollutants. This project identifies the most suitable sub-catchment to be reclaimed among two smelter-damaged lake catchments in Sudbury, Ontario: Daisy Lake and Baby Lake. These lakes have historically been severely damaged by smelter emissions, resulting in lake acidification and accumulation of heavy metals; these cause dramatic changes in lake food webs and subsequently lake ecosystems. It is important to re-establish land-water linkages through restoration to promote whole ecosystem recovery for the improvement to both the aquatic and terrestrial ecosystem. Using regression analyses and a multi-criteria evaluation (MCE) in a GIS based model, the sub-catchment with highest potential of reclamation is determined. Regression analyses were used to determine significant parameters (slope, normalized difference vegetation index, wetness, and stream power) by incorporating the water chemistry of the sub-catchments. These parameters were then used in the MCE model to identify the sub-catchment deemed most suitable for reclamation, which is sub-catchment C in Baby Lake. This type of research, using GIS in an ecological approach, provides an alternative to establishing recovery sites of damaged ecosystems and highlights the importance of regulation of future mining and smelting activities and further prevention pollution or contamination that may occur within the area.