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Category Archives: Rivers at Risk

The Problem with Hydropower – Damnation Trailer

Ontario has hundreds, if not thousands of dams that are unsafe and no longer serving any useful purpose.  These dams are blocking fish passage, degrading water quality, fragmenting habitat, threatening species at risk and sensitive cold water species.   ORA is working to take them out.  Check out this excellent overview of the problems with hydropower:

This film explores the evolution of our national attitude from pride in big dams as engineering wonders to the growing awareness that our own future is bound to the life and health of wild rivers. Produced by Matt Stoecker & Travis Rummel Directed by Ben Knight & Travis Rummel.

Town of Erin Wastewater Treatment Plant – Concerns over Brook Trout and Fish Habitat on the West Credit River

Finally, the West Credit River is a headwaters tributary of the Credit River and is considered the crown jewel of coldwater brook trout fisheries in Ontario. This fishery significantly adds to the economic and social fabric of the province, with Ontario fisheries contributing a total of approximately $2.5 billion annually to the provincial economy.  MNRF’s own documents predict that climate change will reduce the number of watersheds in Ontario with brook trout by 50% by 2050.

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Congratulations to Aleta Karstad and Dr. Frederick Schueler – Recipients of the Glen Davis Conservation Leadership Prize

Painting by Aleta Karstad The Chute, Ivanhoe River

The Ontario Rivers Alliance (ORA) is pleased to report that the WWF-Canada and CPAWS have awarded the Glen Davis Conservation Leadership Prize to Dr. Frederick Schueler and Aleta Karstad for their outstanding conservation efforts and accomplishments!!  They truly are very deserving of this incredible Prize!!

A BIG CONGRATULATIONS TO Fred and Aleta!!!

We at ORA were eager to nominate Fred and Aleta for this important recognition of the significant sacrifice and contribution they have both made to science, conservation and the protection of freshwater ecosystems and land all across Canada.  They have also been long-time partners and contributors of the ORA.

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Mattagami River – Little Long Dam Safety Project

The effects of dams and hydroelectric facilities on fish populations and fisheries have been well documented over the past century and include the loss or serious decline of many iconic fish species, which are resources of importance to Ontario’s economy, biodiversity, and natural and cultural heritage.

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Fright & Flight Zone, by Laurent Robichaud

Since 1963 the Little Long Generating Complex on the Lower Mattagami River in Northern Ontario has been the source of an environmental crisis of immeasurable proportions. Thousands of Lake Sturgeon have been entrained through spillway gates and left stranded waiting to be captured and relocated back to their adopted man-made habitat, leaving waters not fit for survival. Adam Creek Spillway is well known province-wide as a thorn in hydro electric energy and should not be defined or qualified as GREEN energy.

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Calabogie Generating Station Redevelopment Project – Notice of Completion

The fact that Lake Sturgeon and American Eel no longer exists in this section of the Madawaska River, is all the more reason that OPG should make every effort to rehabilitate these populations and include effective fish passage for these and other fish species at this facility.  OPG is a provincial entity and as such should set the example as a beacon for responsible and sustainable hydroelectric facilities and operations in Ontario.

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Calabogie Generating Station Redevelopment – Madawaska River

Peaking operations, with the variable flow discharge and ramping patterns, the rate and frequency of water level changes, and the amount of time the station is at its maximum discharge level, can all have a significant impact on the degree of channel and bank erosion.

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Cost Comparison of Dam Repair/Rebuild vs Decommissioning + Before & After Pics

Jeff Graham, P.Eng., President, GSS Engineering Consultants Ltd., prepared this comprehensive table reporting on the cost comparisons between dam repair/rebuild vs. decommissioning.  These are actual completed projects, showing the before and after.   Check out the table: Continue reading


Bala Falls Small Hydro Project – Permit to Take Water

Area just below the Falls

Since this project was first proposed, a large percentage of the community of Bala Falls have been opposed to it.  Citizens have lobbied, marched, picketed, petitioned and railed against this abomination being built in the heart of their town.  Immediately downstream of the dam is a favourite public swimming and picnic area that draws local residents and tourists from far and wide.  This project will pose a public safety risk; however, there is no Public Safety Plan – it wasn’t included in the initial Environmental Report, nor was it adequately addressed.  It was unacceptable in 2012, and it’s still unacceptable – it should never have been approved in the first place.

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