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Between 1988 and 1998, different contributors to the St. Lawrence Action Plan led a number of studies on the environmental impacts of commercial navigation and recreational boating. Soon after, the Navigation Coordination Committee (NCC) was created, composed of representatives from the marine industry, environmental stakeholders, governments and the public.

In 2004, the NCC unveiled its first Sustainable Navigation Strategy for the St. Lawrence. The document encompasses approximately ten major principles which serve as guidelines to orient the committee's actions, as well as priority issues. A first action plan related to these issues was completed in 2010. Several projects indicated positive outcomes of the action plan, including the creation of a dredging activities planning registry, the application of a voluntary measure to reduce ship speed in areas sensitive to erosion, and the development of a study on the impacts of climate change on marine transportation. 

Subsequently, a second Sustainable Navigation Strategy (2012-2017, 2021 update) was published.

The framework of the Sustainable Navigation Strategy

The nine issues providing the framework of this second Sustainable Navigation Strategy are:

  1. Ensure cooperation between the economic, environmental and social stakeholders of sustainable development through the Navigation Coordination Committee
  2. Implementation of integrated management of dredging and sediments
  3. Evaluation of adaptation options for navigation with respect to fluctuating water levels
  4. Relative effect of the wake produced by ships and pleasure craft, one of the elements of the phenomenon of erosion examined in some sectors of the St. Lawrence
  5. Improvement of the management of sewage discharges and cargo residues for all types of ships and craft
  6. Reduction of risks of introduction and spread of exotic organisms by ballast water for all types of ships and pleasure craft
  7. Hazardous product and oil spill prevention and response
  8. Promote marine transportation in relation to its environmental and social benefits
  9. Protection of marine mammals

These issues will serve in identifying the objectives and projects to be collectively implemented by the NCC members. Some of these projects will be incorporated into the program of joint actions.

NCC Composition


Tourisme Québec

UsersPort of Montréal Administration
Ministère du Développement durable, de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiquesSt. Lawrence Ship operators
Ministère des transports, de la Mobilité durable et de l’Électrification des transports du Québec*Alliance de l'industrie nautique du Québec - Nautisme Québec
Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs du QuébecCorporation of Lower St. Lawrence Pilots
Fisheries and Oceans CanadaCorporation of Central St. Lawrence Pilots
Environment and Climate Change CanadaPower & Sail Squadron
Transport Canada*Quebec Sailing Federation
Environmental GroupsLes Amis de la vallée du Saint-LaurentShipping Federation of Canada
Stratégies Saint-Laurent
Réseau d'observation de mammifères marins (ROMM)Green Marine

* Co-chair

Committee on Integrated Management of Dredging and Sediment (CGIDS)

Dredging and sediment management have been the priority issues associated with navigation on the St. Lawrence since the establishment of the NCC. A sub-committee on integrated management of dredging and sediment (CGIDS) was eventually formed to address these issues

The CGIDS is mandated to improve the management of dredging activities in the aim of providing for adequate protection of ecosystems and public health while also allowing the development of navigation on the St. Lawrence River. To this end, the committee:

  • adds to scientific knowledge through applied research projects to support management of activities relating to dredging and restoration of sites with contaminated sediment;
  • develops tools and guides for various stakeholders involved in the design, planning, execution, assessment and monitoring of work relating to dredging and restoration of sites with contaminated sediment;
  • promotes cooperation and facilitates federal and provincial environmental assessment processes applicable to projects (e.g., assessment of fish habitat loss); and
  • enhances public consultation and participation processes as part of project review while also helping to build consensus among the various stakeholders involved in dredging and sediment management activities.

CGIDS Composition


Ministère du Développement durable, de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques du Québec*

  • Direction générale de l’évaluation environnementale et stratégique

  • Direction du suivi de l’état de l’environnement

  • Centre d’expertise en analyse environnementale


Port of Montréal Administration
Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs du Québec

Fisheries and Oceans Canada

  • Fisheries Protection Program

Environment and Climate Change Canada*

  • Environmental Protection Operations Directorate

    • Environmental Assessment

    • Expert Support

    • Contaminated Sites

Stratégies Saint-Laurent
Transport Canada 
Public Works and Government Services Canada
Canadian Coast Guard

* Co-lead