LONDON – After several years of debate over whether to repair or remove the broken Springbank Dam on the Thames River, in a unanimous vote, London City Council decided to decommission the dam. City staff will now prepare a report to advise Council on whether to repurpose it as a footbridge or remove it entirely from the river. Eliminating the last man-made barrier between the forks and the mouth of the Thames River is a significant win for the environment and City residents.
Through a groundswell of support from several organizations, businesses and individuals, we were able draw attention to a river not just in recovery but thriving since the dam gates broke in 2008. We were able to change the conversation from the foregone conclusion that the dam would be repaired, to a unanimous vote to decommission Springbank Dam. A big thank you to City Councillors who were open-minded and receptive to our positive message. Continue reading
Springbank Dam, Thames River, London, ON
The City of London’s Civic Works Committee has made a decision on the recommended preferred option of a “Free Flowing River”. As the London Free Press said, “After a unanimous vote to recommend decommissioning the dam at Tuesday’s civic works committee, when and how to do it could be the next chapter in the city’s Springbank dam saga. There’s still a rubber-stamping needed from city council next week, but the writing clearly is on the wall”.
The Thames River Anglers Association and the Ontario Rivers Alliance have continued to lobby through many channels to achieve this preferred outcome. In January of 2016 we rallied the support of over 20 organizations representing more than 200,000 members to encourage the City of London to fully decommission Springbank Dam and protect the recovering riverine ecosystem. Again, on January 9th of this year we submitted a joint letter of support to the Civic Works Committee from 16 organizations, businesses and stakeholder individuals – see below: Continue reading
Trout Unlimited Canada and the Ontario Rivers Alliance are requesting the County of Wellington Warden and Councillors consider supporting the decommissioning of the Hillsburgh Dam with an offline pond, which is the preferred alternative from a natural heritage perspective. This would provide positive environmental benefits to the West Credit River ecosystem, provide resilience to climate change, and support a multi-species ecosystem-based recovery initiative for the long-term. Including updates: Continue reading
ORA is pleased to comment on the options being considered by the Town of Erin (Town) for the Hillsburgh Dam and Bridge located along Station Street, approximately 150m west of Trafalgar Road, crossing the Upper West Credit River, in Hillsburgh. The Town has initiated a Municipal Class B Environmental Assessment to review the options and identify the preferred alternatives to both the deterioration of the bridge and a permanent solution for the dam.
ORA recommends either of Alternatives C or D, Option 2, offered in the Preliminary Comparison and Ranking of Alternatives chart for the following reasons: Continue reading
Springbank Dam, Photo by Paul Roedding Photography
Since last December, it is difficult to recall a week that has gone by where some sort of new major twist hasn’t happened with this story. Late in 2015, the Thames River Anglers Association (TRAA) and the Ontario Rivers Alliance (ORA) brought together a coalition of 20 different organizations, representing over 250,000 members, to jointly sign on to two letters sent to the City of London’s Mayor and Council requesting decommissioning. Continue reading
Rudd Dam, West Credit River
Ontario Rivers Alliance (ORA) is pleased to announce its participation in the Rudd Dam Removal Project, on the West Credit River, a headwaters tributary of the Credit River, in Hillsburgh. In February, ORA was invited to become a member of a collaboration of partners that make up The Rudd Dam Steering Committee, consisting of the landowner, Martin Rudd, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, Trout Unlimited Canada, Credit Valley Conservation Authority, Isaac Walton Fly Fishing Club, the Town of Erin, and Greck and Associates Ltd. Continue reading
Springbank Dam, Photo by Paul Roedding Photography
For Immediate Release: 7 March 2016
The Ontario Rivers Alliances (ORA) and the Thames River Anglers Association (TRAA), along with the support of groups representing over 250,000 members, including the WWF-Canada, Ontario Nature, the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, and numerous other local angling and recreation clubs, are speaking up for the decommissioning of Springbank Dam.
The Thames River is a Heritage River with one of the most ecologically diverse riverine ecosystems in Ontario, with over 90 species of freshwater fish, including 11 that are identified by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife Canada (COSEWIC) as threatened or at risk, and is certainly worth conserving and restoring.
“The Springbank Dam falling out of service over 8 years ago was the best thing that could have happened to the Thames River and its wild inhabitants”, said Linda Heron, Chair of the ORA. In that short time the river has rebounded, with the presence of Queen Snakes, Eastern Hog-nosed Snakes, Mudpuppies, Mussels, Silver Shiners, Spotted and Black Redhorse suckers, Northern Map Turtles, Snapping Turtles and Green Dragon perennial wildflowers that are re-establishing themselves within its ecosystem. Continue reading