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Category Archives: Climate Change

EBR 012-9499 – Naturally Resilient – MNRF’s Natural Resource Climate Adaptation Strategy

The focus of the Strategy’s five goals should not just be on “Natural Resources”, but rather on the resilience of the province’s natural heritage landscape, using a watershed approach, in consideration of the cumulative effects of all past, present and future development on our air, land and water. Additionally, the scope of the Strategy must be broadened to encompass a review of all policies, guidelines and legislation that do not support the resiliency, conservation and protection of our streams, rivers, lakes and wetlands in this warming climate. Continue reading


Climate Watch Shorts: The Elders’ Perspective – TVO

Indigenous communities who have fished, hunted, and lived in Ontario’s north for generations have a unique understanding of how their environment is changing. Elders pass down environmental knowledge that simply doesn’t exist anywhere else. The government and researchers are starting to recognize the value of what elders know and are launching projects to gather traditional knowledge.


Simon Lake Community wants Reprieve from Algae

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Simon Lake – Summer 2009

The VRS clearly recognizes the serious concerns of the SLCSG, however; we urge caution in the City’s approach to mitigating the algae issue. VRS agrees that action must be taken by the City of Sudbury to resolve the long-standing issue of algae blooms once and for all; however, we differ in the recommended approach.

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The Dark Side of Hydroelectric – Greenhouse Gas Emissions

One of the most popular energy sources for Canada and globally has been hydroelectric power generation, and the provinces of Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba, and British Columbia are big fans of this particular energy source. One of the main reasons it is so popular is due to the abundance of water in Canada in the form of lakes and rivers that run throughout the provinces.

There was an article by the Montreal Gazette written back in 2011 that took a look at the Romaine River in Quebec and how it was about to turn into one of the biggest construction sites in Canada with the installation of 4 dams, 7 dikes, several large canals, and 279 square kilometers of reservoirs, all at the approximate cost of around $8 billion. What decision makers in Quebec failed to realize or choose to ignore is that harmful greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are generated by reservoirs and they can be extensive and very damaging to the climate. Continue reading



Discussion Paper on Climate Change – EBR 012-3452 – ORA Submission

Water is a renewable, but finite resource. Climate change will impose some of its greatest effects on both the long-term availability and the short-term variability of water resources in many regions of this province. These effects have already been felt in many areas through increased frequency and magnitude of droughts, extreme rain and flooding, duration of accumulated snowpack, and changes in soil moisture and runoff. These effects have created havoc on municipal waste water treatment facilities that were never built with climate change in mind.

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Download (PDF, 450KB)


Canada’s Freshwater in the 21st Century, 2014, Dr. David Schindler

Freshwater is widely recognized as the most pressing environmental issue of the coming century, as roughly 2 billion humans suffer from scarcity of water for drinking or sanitation. Despite its abundance of freshwater, Canada is experiencing great pressure on both its quality and quantity. Despite impending problems, the Canadian government is de-emphasizing freshwater research, both in its funding for university research and its support for federal departments with a freshwater mandate. This lecture describe some of the current threats to Canadian water, and outlines what we must do to solve them.
This is an excellent presentation and it is beneficial to listen to it all; however, if you have specific interest in hydroelectric or pipelines:
Hydroelectric: go to 34:56
Pipelines and the tar sands:  go to 50:00

June 18, 2014 — Water Institute Lecture Series and Faculty of Science Public Lecture Series
Dr. David W. Schindler, Killam Memorial Professor of Ecology, University of Alberta, retired.



Ontario’s Fisheries: Significant Contributors to the Ontario Economy

Ontario’s fisheries contribute substantially to Ontario’s economy, with recreational and commercial fishing valued at more than $2.5 billion annually:

  • 41,000 person years of employment.
  • More than 1.2 million residents and non-resident anglers, contributing $2.2 billion annually to the Ontario economy.
  • A driving force for Ontario’s tourism industry and a key economic component in many communities, particularly in Northern Ontario, with 1600 licensed tourist operators generating hundreds of millions of dollars in revenues annually.
  • More than 500 active commercial fishing licences, contributing more than $230 million dollars to the Ontario economy.
  • 1200 commercial bait fishing licences are issued annually, with $17 million in direct sales of live bait.

Continue reading


Drought Induced Flux of Metals from Peatlands in Watersheds Vulnerable to Extreme Events, Erik Szkokan-Emilson

Erik J. Szkokan-Emilson, S. Watmough, and J. Gunn. – Cooperative Freshwater Ecology Unit, Living with Lakes Centre, Laurentian University, Sudbury, ON, Canada

Recently a study was published that is very relevant to hydroelectric peaking facilities that hold water back to produce power during peak demand hours.  When water is held back for up to 24 hours, large areas of the downstream can become dewatered and dry, only to be flooded again when water is released to produce power.  Also, when the headpond is depleted it can take up to 24 hours to refill the headpond, depending on river flows, and shorelines and adjacent wetlands can become dry, only to be rewetted when the headpond is filled – this goes on daily in a peaking facility.  Check out the study:

Abstract:

“Climate change is predicted to cause an increase in frequency and severity of droughts in the boreal ecozone, which can result in the lowering of water tables and subsequent release of acidic, metal-contaminated waters from wetlands. We believe that in areas where historical deposition of metals and sulphur was severe, these episodic pulses of metals could reach concentrations sufficiently high to severely affect aquatic communities in receiving waters and cause a delay in biological recovery. The objective of this study is to evaluate the impact of drought on the chemistry of water draining from two Sudbury peatlands with widely contrasting peat organic matter content to determine the response of stream water chemistry to drought from peatland types in the region. Stream samples were collected using ISCO™ automated water collectors from June to November 2011. Following a period of drought, there was a decline in pH and a large increase in concentrations of sulphate and metal ions (Al, Co, Cu, Fe, Mn, Ni, and Zn) in water draining both peatlands, with extreme concentrations occurring over a period of about two weeks. At the site with the higher peat organic matter content there was an increase in metals that have a high affinity to bind to DOC (Al, Cu, and Fe) during the onset of drought. This study demonstrates a dramatic response to drought at two sites that differ in metal and nutrient pool sizes, hydrology, and topography, suggesting the potential for a majority of peatlands in the region to experience this response. Efforts to restore aquatic ecosystems and protect freshwater resources must take into account these processes, as disruptions to biogeochemical cycles are likely to become more prevalent in a changing climate.  Click here for more.

Also, below is a slide presentation relating to this study.


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