Blog

Photo by Linda HeronPhoto Credit

Update: Gorrie Dam on the North Maitland River to be Decommissioned

The Gorrie Dam failed as the result of an extreme rain and flood event in June of 2017.  The dam had failed before, so the ORA advocated for its decommissioning, rather than its repair.

Part of the earthen berm to the south of the dam failed in June 2017. In June 2019, after reviewing a study of alternatives for the dam, the Conservation Authority membership decided to begin the process of decommissioning the structure which is located at Gorrie Conservation Area.

It is crucial that we take action on infrastructure that would put citizens at risk, degrade water quality, threaten our fisheries, or that jeopardize the ecosystem services that healthy rivers provide.

The Maitland Conservation Authority has decided to decommission the dam and will move ahead with decommissioning in 2021.

Maitland Conservation Moves Ahead With Next Steps at Gorrie Conservation Area, 6 July 2020, by Maitland CA


ERO-019-1749, Developing GRSs for nine Species at risk under the Endangered Species Act, 2007

This ERO proposal describes the GRSs as providing “stringent protections for species at risk and their habitats under the Endangered Species Act”, but how stringent are these protections when the legislation can be so easily set aside? This means that protection and recovery under the ESA is uncertain for all species at risk.

Continue reading


Town of Erin Wastewater Treatment Plant – Concerns over Brook Trout and Fish Habitat on the West Credit River

Finally, the West Credit River is a headwaters tributary of the Credit River and is considered the crown jewel of coldwater brook trout fisheries in Ontario. This fishery significantly adds to the economic and social fabric of the province, with Ontario fisheries contributing a total of approximately $2.5 billion annually to the provincial economy.  MNRF’s own documents predict that climate change will reduce the number of watersheds in Ontario with brook trout by 50% by 2050.

Continue reading


ERO-019-1620 – Proposed amendment to a regulation under Endangered Species Act, 2007 relating to Forest Operations in Crown Forests

The wording in this Environmental Registry posting is very misleading when it claims that “Ontario is committed to providing strong protections for species at risk and improving outcomes by modernizing and improving the effectiveness of the Endangered Species Act, as committed to in our Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan”. This proposal is not improving the effectiveness of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), it is even doubtful it will increase the profits of private corporations. It will however be to the detriment of species at risk.

Please note that the Ontario government decision is to continue with the forestry industry exemption of the Endangered Species Act when logging in Crown forests:  “A decision for this proposal has been published as a Bulletin under ERO 019-1995 on June 29, 2020.

Ontario has extended the temporary approach for forest operations conducted in Crown forests under the Endangered Species Act for an additional year. This will help avoid additional regulatory burden and economic strain on the forestry sector while a long-term approach is being considered.”

Continue reading


Congratulations to Aleta Karstad and Dr. Frederick Schueler – Recipients of the Glen Davis Conservation Leadership Prize

Painting by Aleta Karstad The Chute, Ivanhoe River

The Ontario Rivers Alliance (ORA) is pleased to report that the WWF-Canada and CPAWS have awarded the Glen Davis Conservation Leadership Prize to Dr. Frederick Schueler and Aleta Karstad for their outstanding conservation efforts and accomplishments!!  They truly are very deserving of this incredible Prize!!

A BIG CONGRATULATIONS TO Fred and Aleta!!!

We at ORA were eager to nominate Fred and Aleta for this important recognition of the significant sacrifice and contribution they have both made to science, conservation and the protection of freshwater ecosystems and land all across Canada.  They have also been long-time partners and contributors of the ORA.

Read the Press Release: Continue reading


Monitoring of Mercury Near Dams – LRIA, Ontario Regulation 102/20

ORA is very concerned about the extreme deregulation that occurred with the recent waterpower exemption to the Permit to Take Water, and in this new Mercury Regulation where new and significantly redeveloped electricity producing dams have not been addressed. These important legislative requirements were designed to ensure hydroelectric facilities are held accountable for environmental and socio-economic impacts and risks to communities and riverine ecosystems.

Continue reading


Time to clean the swimming pool but where to drain the water?

MEDIA RELEASE:  For Immediate Release – 14 May 2020

Time to clean the swimming pool but where to drain the water?

It’s that time of year when you are likely thinking about getting the pool or hot tub ready for the summer season.  It’s a good idea to prepare by first checking with your local town or city to find out what you should do with the water when you drain the pool.  “Beware, that releasing pool or hot tub water containing chlorine or salt directly into the street or a storm drain could bring a very heavy fineThat’s because those chemicals would then flow untreated into a local stream, river or lake and could result in a fish die-off or be very harmful to aquatic life”, said Linda Heron, Chair of the Ontario Rivers Alliance (ORA). Continue reading


Mattagami River – Little Long Dam Safety Project

The effects of dams and hydroelectric facilities on fish populations and fisheries have been well documented over the past century and include the loss or serious decline of many iconic fish species, which are resources of importance to Ontario’s economy, biodiversity, and natural and cultural heritage.

Continue reading


112 Organizations offer Support for Conservation Authorities in Ontario

We, the 112 undersigned organizations, call on the Government of Ontario to retain the current mandate of the province’s 36 Conservation Authorities in protecting, restoring and managing the watersheds where 95 percent of Ontarians reside. Their functions and responsibilities with respect to land use planning and permitting, monitoring, stewardship and education must be maintained, for the reasons outlined below.

Continue reading


ERO-019-1599 – Temporary exemption of Proposals from EBR during Emergency – CELA – ORA Support

In effect, this overbroad exemption means that for the duration of the regulation residents of Ontario, including Indigenous community members, will not have knowledge of, nor a means to participate in, provincial decisions which may have significant effects on the environment.

Continue reading