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Category Archives: Climate Change

Canada Water Agency – Discussion Paper

ORA supports objectives that involve clean, healthy, safe and sustainable freshwater management. Our lakes and rivers flow across many borders, including municipal, regional, provincial and country-wide borders. Therefore, it is necessary to consider a Canada Water Agency that uses an integrated watershed and basin approach in its core mission and mandate, acting as an oversight agency.

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Bradford Bypass – Request for designation under s.9 of the Impact Assessment Act – Support

A highly controversial environmental assessment study under the Ontario Environmental Assessment Act was completed 23 years ago. It concluded that the project would cause adverse effects to fish habitat including severe stormwater and groundwater impacts. The environmental assessment did not evaluate the impacts on species at risk, migratory birds or climate change. This study has not been updated. 

The provincial regulatory process is grossly inadequate.

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Reject Schedules 6 and 8 of Bill 229 to Protect Conservation Authorities and Species at Risk

Bill 229 is just the most recent in a long list of omnibus bills containing devastating amendments, exemptions and streamlining of key environmental policy and legislation designed to protect our environment and communities and provide the public and stakeholders with meaningful input.  These government actions have created a deep erosion of public trust and confidence.  It is unacceptable that it would mislead its citizens and bypass the norms by taking advantage of a world-wide health emergency to aggressively push their destructive agenda through.

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Proposed Comprehensive Project List under the EAA – ERO-019-2377

While the effects of large hydro projects (200 MW) have been well known and documented for over a century, small (up to 10 MW) and medium sized (10 MW to 200 MW) hydroelectric projects involve many of the same impacts per unit of power generated and, cumulatively, the environmental degradation can exceed that of large hydro projects.  Small and medium sized hydro projects are situated on smaller and often more sensitive riverine ecosystems; however, like large hydro projects, will also alter the river’s flow regime and can have significant impacts on the aquatic environment, as flow is a major determinant of a river’s ecological characteristics and its aquatic biodiversity.

A recent study examined scaled hydropower impacts in the Nu River basin of southwestern China, where the researchers calculated impact per MW of capacity across 14 metrics between small and large hydropower projects (with small being below 50 MW as defined in Chinese policy).  They found that small hydropower dams had greater impact per MW for 9 of the 14 metrics, including length of river channel affected and impact on habitat designated as conservation priorities.

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Media Release: Concerns over Brook Trout in the West Credit River

Brook trout spawning in a coldwater stream.  Film by Steve Noakes

Articles:
Groups concerned about Erin’s proposed plant effect on coldwater fish, by Keegan Kozolanka
Ontario Rivers Alliance says town has ‘dismissed’ plans to protect Credit River brook trout from Erin wastewater plant, by Alexandra Heck

The Town of Erin (Erin) is in the design phase of a new sewage treatment plant, and the Ontario Rivers Alliance (ORA) is concerned that the sewage plant effluent will endanger some of the most productive and highly valued brook trout populations in the West Credit River. Continue reading


Consultation: Improving the province’s resilience to flooding

As a basic, the province must have a comprehensive approach to watershed management through flood mapping, mitigation and hazard planning and protection, including services such as wetland protection, climate change adaptation and resilience, biodiversity health and land use planning.  In other words, we must be beefing up our public safety and environmental protection efforts, rather than gutting and streamlining key policy and legislation, as well as funding for our regulators.

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Gorrie Dam Failure, North Maitland River

Gorrie Dam Breach – Scour Hole

It has come to ORA’s attention that the Gorrie Dam on the North Maitland River failed as a result of flooding during an extreme rain event on 23 – 24 June 2017, and that Maitland Conservation is considering its options.  We understand that no one is more aware of the extremes of a volatile and changing climate than Conservation Authorities, and yours in particular; and we understand the pressure that Conservation Authorities and municipalities are under when communities rally to maintain their coveted mill ponds.  However, it is up to all authorities to take a leadership role that places public safety and landscape scale ecological integrity above local individual or group interests.

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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.