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Category Archives: Species at Risk

American Eel Engagement Workshop – Government Response Statement

As a potential next step for the Ottawa River, we recommend assessing a suitable location for a ladder at the Carillon Generating Station over the next 1-2 migration seasons coupled with a commitment to providing passage the following year. Studies conducted by Hydro QC and Milieu Inc. in 2001 and 2010 revealed that more elvers approach the southern turbines than northern ones; however, shorelines, the shipping canal, and the spillway were not assessed. It is reasonable to delay installing a permanent ladder until such assessments are completed; however, free passage should be provided by the 2019 migration season. Consideration should be given to translocating elvers captured during such assessments above the Carillon Generating Station. Continue reading


EBR-012-6266 – Government Response Statement for the Spotted Gar

Spotted Gar

Spotted Gar

The Spotted Gar is listed as threatened on the Species at Risk in Ontario (SARO) list, and is also listed as threatened under the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA). Fisheries and Oceans Canada has prepared the Recovery Strategy for the Spotted Gar in Canada in 2012 to meets its requirements under SARA. This recovery strategy was also adopted under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), with several additional survey locations included. Continue reading



10 Ontario Rivers Protected from 19 Hydroelectric Projects

Wabagishik Rapids – Vermilion River

MEDIA RELEASE:  For Immediate Release:  13 July 2016

10 Ontario Rivers Protected from 19 Hydroelectric Projects

SUDBURY:  The Ontario Rivers Alliance (ORA) is celebrating a major victory in the protection of 10 Ontario rivers that have been under threat from 19 proposed hydroelectric projects.   Actions taken by the ORA and its members have led to what was considered to be impossible – the termination of 19 Feed-in-Tariff (FIT) Contracts.

In 2011, ORA came into being to address a rash of 87 proposed hydroelectric proposals initiated under the Green Energy Act.  The offer of generous incentives to produce power during peak demand hours had proponents rushing to claim access to falls and rapids on rivers all across the province.  The number of proposals to actually receive FIT Contracts was soon reduced to 41, and of those, Xeneca Power Development Inc. had secured 19 contracts for projects involving 23 Crown sites on 10 Ontario rivers. Continue reading


Help save the American Eel by completing Survey

Help Save the American Eel

The American Eel of eastern Canada was recently designated as a threatened species by COSEWIC because of a dramatic decline in the species’ abundance over a substantial portion of its range, and as a result of ongoing threats that constrain recovery.  The Department of Fisheries and Oceans is conducting a Survey to ask for your comments and suggestions regarding the possible ecological, cultural, and economic impacts of listing or not listing this species under SARA.

Please help save the American Eel by completing the Survey located here before the deadline of 18 March 2016.

ORA has recommended: Continue reading


Hydro Impacts 101: The Trade-offs

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ORA’s report, Hydro Impacts 101: The Trade-offs, identifies some of the environmental impacts that can and do occur at dams and waterpower facilities. It will become clear that waterpower is seldom clean or green, and that some rivers should not be dammed at all. In addition, this Report recommends some ways of reducing the impacts, and of improving the regulatory process for waterpower in Ontario.  Read our report here…. Continue reading


Groundswell of support challenges plans to repair Sringbank Dam

Springbank Dam, Thames River, London, ON

Springbank Dam, Thames River, London, ON

The Thames River Anglers Association, with the support of the Ontario Rivers Alliance, has 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.

Continue reading


Springbank Dam Decommissioning

Springbank Dam, Thames River, London, ON

Springbank Dam, Thames River, London, ON

ORA and those listed below are writing in response to the recent settlement of the lawsuit over the Springbank Dam. We request serious consideration of our comments and recommendations regarding the future of the Springbank Dam, and its potential effects on public health and safety, on water quality, climate change, fisheries, and on the natural environment of the Thames River, Lake St Claire and Lake Erie, should it be returned to service.

Continue reading


Hydro Impacts 101 – The Trade-offs

MEDIA RELEASE
For Immediate Release:         5 November 2015

Hydro Impacts 101 – The Trade-offs

Significant environmental damage from hydroelectric power generation has been ongoing for many decades in Ontario and in other locations throughout the world, yet the public has been led to believe that it provides a clean and green source of energy because there is no smoke, no ash, and no radiation. Indeed, some mistakenly think that all hydro contributes positively to the climate change issue.  “This report will help to set the record straight on just how clean and green waterpower really is”, said Linda Heron, Chair of the Ontario Rivers Alliance (ORA). Continue reading


The Demise of American Eel….

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The Demise of American Eel in the Upper St. Lawrence River, Lake Ontario, Ottawa River and Associated Watersheds: Implications of Regional Cumulative Effects in Ontario

Abstract.—American Eel mortality has increased substantially over the past century due largely to significant cumulative effects of fishing and fish passage through hydro-electric turbines across their range.  Nowhere has this been more pronounced than in waters of the St. Lawrence River, Lake Ontario, Ottawa River and associated watersheds. We illustrate this by examining the cumulative effects of hydroelectric facilities on eels migrating downstream through the Mississippi River and Ottawa River, and outline further impacts eels encounter en route to spawn in the Sargasso Sea. The probability of a mature female eel surviving its emigration through the Mississippi and Ottawa River to the upper St. Lawrence River is estimated to be as low as 2.8% due to turbine mortalities alone (2.8–40%). Mortality risk increases as the eel attempts to run the gauntlet of fisheries in the lower St. Lawrence River and the probability of out-migration survival is estimated to be as low as 1.4%. Some mortalities could be mitigated through improved application of existing laws, development of policy requiring consideration of cumulative effects and improved integration among program areas responsible for sustainable management of fisheries, biodiversity, dams and hydro-electric facilities. We recommend changes to policy, procedures and internal organizational structures provided with clear directions, and call for increased accommodation of Aboriginal perspectives.
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MacGregor, R., T. Haxton, L. Greig, J. M. Casselman, J. M. Dettmers, W. A. Allen, D. G. Oliver, and L. McDermott. 2015. The demise of American Eel in the upper St. Lawrence River, Lake Ontario, Ottawa River and associated watersheds: implications of regional cumulative effects in Ontario. Pages 149–188 in N. Fisher, P. LeBlanc, C. A. Rose, and B. Sadler, editors. Managing the impacts of human activities on fish habitat: the governance, practices, and science. American Fisheries Society, Symposium 78, Bethesda, Maryland.

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