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Mill Creek Weir Removal Project – Presentation by Krystal Lomas, Credit Valley Conservation

Krystal Lomas, Aquatic Restoration Technician, Credit Valley Conservation, was the project lead on the Mill Creek Weir Removal Project.  Krystal delivered the presentation below at ORA’s General Meeting.  We are pleased to report that ORA was a funding partner in this Project.  Mill Creek is a coldwater Brook Trout stream and 5 km of habitat was reconnected.

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ERO-019-8369 – Proposed Bill 185, Cutting Red Tape to Build More Homes Act, 2024

Vermilion River – Our grandchildren’s future with water!

The ORA is strongly opposed to the proposal to remove the public’s appeal rights for the adoption or amendment of Official Plans and Zoning By-Laws to the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT). These amendments are unfair as they undermine the public’s right to appeal local land-use decisions and deny access to justice. The public’s right to appeal has been a long-standing feature of the Planning Act, and there is no persuasive evidence-based reason by this government to revoke this important right. It is consequential when a municipality approves a project that would be environmentally damaging to a property owner or may cause public health issues to the local community, the public would no longer be able to challenge the municipality’s decision at the OLT.

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IESO Engagement – 2024 Annual Planning Outlook

Manitou River

Recent hydropower shortages in BC, Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan have highlighted its vulnerabilities in the face of the extremes of climate change. Hydropower is reliant upon water availability, so during the low-flow season or in times of drought, it can become intermittent and unreliable. As noted above, ongoing drought is already affecting hydropower output, and many provinces are being forced to import power or turn on the coal and natural gas facilities. Reliable hydropower does not bode well for the future.

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ERO No. 019-8320: New Minister’s Permit and Review powers under the Conservation Authorities Act – Joint

We, the 61 undersigned organizations, strongly oppose the proposed regulation regarding the Minister’s new permit and review powers under the Conservation Authorities Act. The proposed regulation, if passed, would enable the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry to override a very broad suite of permitting decisions issued by conservation authorities for activities prohibited without a permit. In such cases, rather than having permitting decisions informed by the deep local knowledge, technical expertise and watershed-health mandate of conservation authorities, they will be politically driven at the request of development proponents seeking to reduce their cost burden and proceed with otherwise prohibited activities regardless of risks.

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American Eel: Consultation check-in on listing under the Species at Risk Act (SARA) – Joint

American Eel

Like Pacific Salmon in the west, American Eel are critically important to Indigenous Peoples in eastern Canada – culturally, spiritually, and for food security. Unlike Pacific Salmon, however, little has been done to address their decline. Despite being assessed as Threatened by COSEWIC in 2012 — more than a decade ago — the species is not yet listed and consequently there is no recovery strategy in place directed at stemming further population decline or contributing to the recovery of this species. The need to implement recovery is urgent given the recent and rapid decline of American Eel in Canada and globally, including a 99% decline in the Upper St. Lawrence population. The decision on whether to add the American Eel to Schedule 1 of the Species at Risk Act has been delayed for far too long. This delay has hindered conservation efforts and the creation of meaningful partnerships to advance the recovery of American Eel.

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Request for Commitment of Continued Public Funding of Bacteriological Private Well Testing – Joint

There have been recent reports from various sources stating that Public Health Ontario has plans to phase out public access to free bacteriological testing for private water wells. The proposed “gradual discontinuation” of this important testing service was described in the Auditor General’s 2023 audit report as part of a “streamlining” plan that Public Health Ontario has been developing since 2017. Subsequently, Minister Jones has stated in the legislature that the private well water testing will continue.

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IESO Long-Term 2 RFP Engagement – April 4, 2024

The Chute, First Falls, Ivanhoe River – Photo by Mark Clement

Unfortunately, the hydropower industry, as well as all levels of government, have ignored the extensive body of evidence compiled over the last few decades, indicating that hydroelectric reservoirs contribute approximately 5 to 7% of global GHG emissions that, individually, can rise to the level of a gas-fired facility. Instead, the industry and this government greenwash it with disinformation by labelling it as non-emitting, low-emitting, clean or renewable to mislead the public into believing it will cut GHG emissions when, in fact, it will be adding significantly to global emissions until the dam is removed.

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ERO-019-4300 – Exempting 5 LRIA Orders from EBR Stakeholder Consultation Requirements

The ORA is in strong support of ensuring that MNRF is more efficient in issuing permits to remove old and unsafe dams; however, we are strongly opposed to exempting these five LRIA orders from the requirements to consult the public under Part II of the EBR. This would mean that stakeholders, the public and Indigenous communities would have no opportunity to be consulted and provide input on projects that could heavily impact their property values, quality of life, and other important landowner interests!

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Fullarton Dam Environmental Assessment – Alternatives

Full dam decommissioning and watercourse restoration comply with the preferred management strategy and criteria in the following ways:

  1. Removes all dam safety deficiencies and public safety risks.
  2. Removes dam monitoring, maintenance and management responsibilities.
  3. Removes the risk of floodwaters backing up behind the dam and flooding stakeholders.
  4. Restores stream flow, reduces stream temperature and improves water quality.
  5. Increases stream resilience to a warming climate.
  6. Increases the extent of uninterrupted fish habitat.
  7. Converts a GHG emitter into a GHG sink.
  8. A healthy, free-flowing river provides for the perfect family outing on a beautiful sunny day.

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Provincial Action on Road Salt Pollution of Aquatic Bodies – Sign our Petition

Road salts represent the largest source of chloride inputs into Ontario waters. Ontario makes up less than 11% of Canada’s landmass, but it is the biggest user of road salts in the nation. Your Ministry’s scientific data shows conclusively that salt has been and continues to be a threat to aquatic ecosystems which is increasing in magnitude over time.  SIGN OUR PETITION HERE!

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