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 →
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”.
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 →
Springbank Dam, Photo by Paul Roedding Photography
MEDIA RELEASE: 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 →
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.
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.
A presentation made at our June 2015 ORA General Meeting by Robert Huber, President of the Thames River Anglers’ Association in regards to the case for decommissioning of the Springbank Dam on the Thames River, City of London.
The City of London inspected the gates of the failed Springbank Dam, on the Thames River, City of London. Around $ 7 million in upgrades, including the installation of the steel gates that would make the dam easier to operate, were nearly complete in 2008 when one of the four gates was dislocated during testing. The Thames River has been flowing unimpeded through the dam ever since. A lawsuit is in the works.
“(The Thames) is actually getting healthier ever single year (the dam) has been left open,” said Rob Huber, president of the TRAA, told the Londoner in June. “The neat thing about what’s going on in London is we’ve actually (had an opportunity) to see what would happen if the dam wasn’t there for the first time in (over) 80 years.” Article here.
This drone flight shows the sludge already beginning to back up behind the gate that was lifted into place on Monday, the 13th of July. There are two upstream wastewater treatment facilities releasing treated, and sometimes untreated, effluent into the Thames.