Proposed Hydro Energy Project Comments and Questions
Project: Ivanhoe River “The Chutes”, “Third Falls”
Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources Site Designation:
- 4LC18 The Chutes
- 4LC17 Third Falls
Project Time Frame Primary Target: April 2015 Turn Key Operation
Relevant OMNR Conservation Reserve: C1702
The following statements, comments and questions were prepared to establish issues that should be dealt with prior to moving forward on project development and environmental assessment directions and procedures.
I am against all new hydro energy projects below 20 megawatt because these projects will modify and disturb the existing health of our rivers ecosystems that were already heavily damaged and modified by man’s drive for energy beyond basic human needs.
Supporting Position Statements:
The Moose River Basin major tributaries have already been tapped for hydro energy. Ontario Power Generation North-eastern Group is in the process of upgrading all the hydro generating sites that OPG operates. The increased energy potential was estimated at 400 megawatts.
Most of the major MRB tributaries natural river features of rapids and falls have been wiped out and access locked down at historical features dammed during the first half of the 20th century. Leaving the less important features has kept some natural earthly designs for both human and aquatic inhabitant usage and appreciation.
Ontario energy rates are reaching levels that are not even affordable to industry. Timmins has just lost its biggest operation that was consuming 122 megawatts. This region’s new hydro projects would create an excess of useless energy production not necessary for decades and beyond.
OPG still owns major reservoir dam structures that could be either sold or upgraded to produce energy from the already existing and somewhat environmentally healed head ponds. Continue reading
Proposed Hydro Energy Projects
Location: Ivanhoe River – natural waterfalls Third Falls and the Chutes – near the town of Foleyet, Ontario
Statement: The following information from here on in is not new. It has all been put forward during both Open House, but there are still some questions that have to be addressed before judgments are passed. I feel that the natural resources will be greatly affected by these two dams. I am opposed to any construction of any hydro energy projects on the Ivanhoe River.
At this time, there are 45 dams proposed to be built on Ontario Rivers. All are a major concern to outdoor enthusiasts. It appears that over time, within the next decade or two, there will NOT be a natural water falls left in our province to view and enjoy, and there is no doubt this will fully impact our ecosystem and destroy some of our environment. The values of natural waterfalls have a different aspect to Northerners than Corporate Ontario. Tourist outfitters are dependant on natural resources as they are and not in the modified state to suite urbanites. Continue reading
Author: June 2009 (revised July 2009) Researched and written by Ecojustice Senior Scientist Dr. Elaine MacDonald and Staff Scientist Liat Podolsky with assistance from Communications Director Jode Roberts and Acting Communications Director Kori Brus.
Findings of Investigation
According to information obtained from the province of Ontario there are 107 combined sewer systems in eighty-nine different Ontario communities. In 2006 and 2007 there were 1,544 and 1,243 releases of raw or partially treated sewage reported to the provincial government respectively, although this information does not include all of the sewage treatment plants in Ontario.3
Of the incidents reported (see Table 1 below), we broke the data down according to ones reported to be caused by wet weather as well as incidents that included CSOs and bypasses.
A review of the reports indicates that if a sewage collection system is overflowing at several locations, each location may be counted as a separate incident. In most cases the duration of the bypass or overflow was unknown, but for the incidents in which the duration was provided, they varied from less than one hour to several days. The average length of incidents that were recorded was seven hours in 2007.
Sewage releases 2006 – 2007
Total reported sewage releases 1,544 1,243
Total releases reported to be due to wet weather 1,256 849
Releases reported to include combined sewer overflows 376 701
Releases that included bypasses 1,061 1,089 Continue reading
Kerr, S. J., M. J. Davison and E. Funnell. 2010. A review of lake sturgeon habitat requirements and strategies to protect and enhance sturgeon habitat. Fisheries Policy Section, Biodiversity Branch. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. Peterborough, Ontario. 58 p. + appendices.
Pages 4 to 8:
The decline in lake sturgeon across much of North America has been attributed initially to unregulated fisheries and, more recently, to habitat alteration and destruction notably by pollution, dredging and channelization, and the construction of dams and hydroelectric facilities. Dredging and channelization can alter lake sturgeon spawning grounds. Sturgeon have been impacted by many forms of pollution which can disrupt olfactory feeding behaviour. Dams and hydroelectric stations can have a negative impact on lake sturgeon by fragmenting their habitat, impeding migrations to spawning grounds and, depending on the type of operation, having a negative impact on egg survival and recruitment. Downstream migrants may also be impinged or entrained at hydroelectric plants.
Attempts to resolve some of these habitat impacts have included construction of fish passes at dams, establishing base flows or “run-or-river” regimes at hydroelectric facilities, creation or enhancement of spawning areas, use of downstream guidance and diversion structures, and improvements to water quality. There has been some success with constructing artificial spawning grounds for lake sturgeon. Sturgeon have also been shown to display a positive response to improvements in water quality and “run-of-river” hydrologic regimes at dams and power stations. The ability to design a fish pass suitable for fish with the body size/shape and swimming capabilities of lake sturgeon has proven difficult, however, and further research is required in this area. Many sturgeon populations are also impacted by “peaking” operations at hydroelectric facilities and the issue of facilitating downstream passage over artificial barriers also needs to be resolved. Continue reading
Author: MacGregor, R., J. Casselman, L. Greig, W. A. Allen, L. McDermott, and T. Haxton. 2010. DRAFT Recovery Strategy for the American Eel (Anguilla rostrata) in Ontario. Ontario Recovery Strategy Series. Prepared for Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Peterborough, Ontario. vii+ 78 pp.
Pages 23 to 24:
Barriers to Migration
Dams can severely impede upstream dispersal of juvenile eels in freshwater if no passage way is provided (Haro et al. 2000). It has been estimated that 85 percent of freshwater habitat for migratory fish in the United States has been lost due to barriers (Lary et al. 1998). In a 1998 study, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service determined that eels may have been eliminated from 81 percent of their historic habitat between Connecticut and Maine due to the construction of a large number of dams (ASMFC 2000). Barriers reduced eel densities by at least a factor of 10 on the Hudson River, and eel condition was significantly poorer above barriers (Machut et al. 2007). The situation appears similar in Ontario where at least 953 dams exist within the eel’s historic range (Figure 7). Hydroelectric dams generally pose the most significant barrier to upstream migration due their height. However, with the exception of one eel ladder at the Moses-Saunders facility on the St. Lawrence River, as of 2008 no provisions for upstream fish passage for any species have been made at any of the approximately 200 hydroelectric stations in Ontario. Negotiations with a few facilities are now underway to correct this situation for upstream eel passage.
Turbines at Hydroelectric Facilities
Hydroelectric facilities in Ontario pose significant challenges to eels (Larinier and Dartiguelongue 1989; Mitchell and Boubée 1992; Desroches 1995; Normandeau Associates Inc. and Skalski 1998; Haro et al. 2000; Dönni et al. 2001, in ICES 2003; McCleave 2001; Allen 2008 b, c, d), as they impart serious individual and cumulative mortalities at the watershed level to downstream migrants en route to spawn (McCleave 2001; MacGregor et al. 2009). There are 87 hydroelectric facilities within the historic range of eels in Ontario, and 30 within the post-2000 range (Figure 8). As of 2009, many of these facilities continue to cause annual eel mortalities (Community Stewardship Council of Lanark County 2010; A. Bendig, pers. comm. 2009; K. Punt, pers. comm. 2009). With the exception of recent trap and transport efforts at Moses-Saunders, mortalities due to turbines at all hydroelectric facilities in Ontario continue unmitigated on most watersheds. Continue reading
Author: Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. 2009. The lake sturgeon in Ontario. Fish and Wildlife Branch. Peterborough, Ontario. 48 p. + appendices.
The construction of dams, many for hydroelectric power generation, restrict access to spawning, nursery and feeding habitats thereby fragmenting their natural habitat (Figure 12). Hydroelectric development was identified as the greatest problem for
lake sturgeon rehabilitation at 12 of 21 historic Lake Superior spawning sites (Ebener 2007). The blockage of migration routes has been attributed as the cause for decline and a factor preventing recovery of lake sturgeon in many situations (Harkness and Dymond 1961, Haxton and Findlay 2008, Mohr and McClain 2001, Swainson 2001).
Hydroelectric power generation can have strong negative effects on sturgeon spawning downstream. Sturgeon recruitment is believed to be related to the volume of spring water flows. The artificial alteration of water levels and flows disrupts the natural
environmental cues associated with movements, spawning and downstream drift of larval fish. Constant flows allow large fish migratory access and triggers reproduction resulting in less time spent on the spawning grounds (Auer 1996b).
On the Kaministiquia River, Friday and Chase (2005) reported that adult sturgeon did not move to the spawning area at the base of Kakabeka Falls until flows reached 23 m3 sec-1. Water level fluctuations below dams can leave eggs susceptible to dessication (Brousseau and Goodchild 1989, Evans et al. 1993, Rosenberg et al. 1997). In some cases, sturgeon can become entrained and
stranded in pools downstream of hydroelectric facilities (Seyler 1996).
Download (PDF, 837KB)
Author: Golder Associates Ltd. 2011. DRAFT Recovery Strategy for Lake Sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens) – Northwestern Ontario, Great Lakes-Upper St. Lawrence River and Southern Hudson Bay-James Bay populations in Ontario. Ontario Recovery Strategy Series. Prepared for the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Peterborough, Ontario. v + 74 pp.
About the Ontario Recovery Strategy Series
This series presents the collection of recovery strategies that are prepared or adopted as advice to the Province of Ontario on the recommended approach to recover species at risk. The Province ensures the preparation of recovery strategies to meet its commitments to recover species at risk under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the Accord for the Protection of Species at Risk in Canada. Continue reading
Author: Wilton, M.L. 1985. Water drawdown and its effects on lake trout (Salvelinus ncmayaush) reproduction in three south-central Ontario lakes. Ont. Fish. Tech. Rep. Ser. No. 20: iii & 9 p.
Observations and data gathered from Bark Lake indicate that reproduction of lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) is no longer possible because of water drawdown of as much as 10 m annually. The fishery is now sustained by hatchery plantings. Data and observations from Mary Lake indicate that natural reproduction of lake trout may be severely curtailed at one of two shoals due to winter drawdown of as much as 0.83 m. Bella Lake has no dam or water level drawdown. Spawning occurs in less than 0.3 m but ice thickness lessens toward shore and as a result, there is no egg loss.
The area located between the Ottawa Valley and Georgian Bay, south of the French and Mattawa Rivers and north of the Kawartha Lakes, contains many oligotrophic lakes which provide suitable environments for lake trout (Salve-1-inus namayaush’) • Water control structures at the outlets of many of these lakes regulate water levels for hydroelectric generating stations downstream, as well as for cottage and recreational demands. Water drawdowns in these lakes characteristically occur during late fall and winter and coincide with the incubation period of lake trout eggs. The purpose of this paper is to document observations on lake trout spawning and water drawdown in three of these lakes.
Author: Kerr, S.J. 1995. Silt, turbidity and suspended sediments in the aquatic environment: an annotated bibliography and literature review. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Southern Region Science & Technology Transfer Unit Technical Report TR-008. 277 pp.
Summary: The impacts of siltation and suspended sediments on water quality and resident aquatic organisms is one of the most common problems facing resource managers today. Most construction activities in or near a watercourse have the potential to result in decreased shoreline stability and/or an increase in siltation, suspended sediments and turbidity.
This annotated bibliography was prepared in response to requests from several Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources biologists and technicians. Almost 1,200 references are cited. Abstracts, summaries or extracts of each paper are included whenever possible. Continue reading
For many years, Maude Barlow has worked tirelessly to protect our environment and natural resources, as well as our rights to water – the necessity for water to be treated as a “Commons”. She has generated a huge body of work and earned awards and acclamation for her many achievements.
There are two competing narratives about the earth’s freshwater resources being played out in the 21st century. On one side is a powerful clique of decision-makers, heads of some powerful states, international trade and financial institutions and transnational corporations who do not view water as part of the global Commons or a public trust, but as a commodity, to be bought and sold on the open market. On the other is a global grassroots movement of local communities, the poor, slum dwellers, women, indigenous peoples, peasants and small farmers working with environmentalists, human rights activists, progressive water managers and experts in both the global North and the global South who see water as a Commons and seek to provide water for all of nature and all humans. This paper describes the tense – and globally threatening – relationship between these two prominent narratives and points to ways that the life affirming water Commons can be used as a framework to bring water justice to all.
Report: Our Water Commons – Toward a freshwater narrative