European rivers are negatively impacted by thousands of small hydropower installations and barrages, with many more to come if the power industry has it their way.
This survey ended on May 20, 2014. Prize winners were:
1st Draw Prize Winner was Diane Robinson
2nd Draw Prize Winner was Cornelia Granbery
Thank you to all those who participated in our Survey and Strategic Plan!!
ORA is engaged in a strategic planning process designed to make our organization more effective, more responsive to member needs, and to better enable us in our mission to address the issues that face Ontario river ecosystems.
Anyone completing the survey was included in a draw for a chance to win one of two Reproductions on Canvas by Brigitte Bere, a local Sudbury Artist.
A BIG THANK YOU TO MOUNTAIN EQUIPMENT COOP FOR YOUR SUPPORT!!
1st Draw Prize: “Gossip” – Reproduction on Canvas 10″ x 12″
2nd Draw Prize: “House in Kagawong” – Reproduction on Canvas – 10″ x 10″
Brigitte is an amazing artist, and has offered these reproductions of her work to help promote our survey! Thank you so much for your generosity Brigitte!
TransCanada is proposing to build the Energy East Pipeline which would carry tar sands oil in the form of DilBit or crude oil, from Alberta to New Brunswick. This would entail converting 3,000 kilometres (km) of existing natural gas pipeline in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario, and building over 1,500 km of new pipeline through Quebec and New Brunswick.
ORA’s Comments: Continue reading
“ORA respectfully offer our comments as prescribed in the Canada Gazette as listed above.
The proposed Regulations Establishing Conditions for Making Regulations under Subsection 36(5.2) of the Fisheries Act (Regulation) fundamentally alters the intent and enforceability of one of Canada’s most important federal laws. There has also been no meaningful, transparent and open process, or effort made to consult with the general public and stakeholders. As a result of the Government of Canada’s failure to consult with Canadians and those with expertise on this issue, both the Regulation and the supporting Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement are seriously flawed.
The sweeping changes to the Fisheries Act which were introduced in 2012 have weakened one of Canada’s most important and effective water and fisheries protection laws. This has provided opportunities for government to exempt industrial and resource development from federal rules.
The proposed Regulation lacks clarity and consistency, and amounts to an abdication of its federal responsibly for protecting fish, habitat and waterways in Canada. The contradictory regulatory scheme would make it impossible for any government regulator to fulfill the purpose of the Act, which is to “provide for the sustainability and ongoing productivity of commercial, recreational and Aboriginal fisheries”….. Continue reading
Posted 8 March 2014
This and other changes are underway thanks to a recent grant from Mountain Equipment Co-op.
In November 2013, ORA received a capacity-building grant from Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC). The $35,000 grant is enabling ORA to undertake several initiatives aimed at increasing our effectiveness as an organization. Project activities include strategic and fundraising planning, rebranding, website development, and outreach/membership development.
Developing a strategic plan will enable ORA to set priorities and goals based on our mission, and the needs of our member organizations. The planning process began in December with a survey of ORA members and others who have shown an interest in our activities. We are grateful to those people who shared their opinions and ideas, as the results will help inform the development of a draft plan. The draft will be refined by board members over the course of several months, followed by a consultation session at our General Meeting in June with invited stakeholders. ORA is working with the Sudbury Social Planning Council to complete the plan, and it will be finalized by the early fall.
Another goal of the project is to develop a fundraising plan to outline ways to ensure adequate resources are in place to meet the goals in the strategic plan. Those goals will require increased human resources. Since it was founded in 2011, ORA has operated almost entirely through the diligent efforts of volunteers. The MEC grant has made it possible to hire a consultant for some key functions, taking pressure off volunteers and making the organization more sustainable in the long-term. We have started working to increase ORA’s human resources, with two major grant applications under way. If successful, ORA will be able to hire a full-time Director of Rivers and a Communication and Outreach Coordinator.
The MEC funds are also supporting rebranding, website redesign and membership development activities, all of which are also in progress and are aimed at building and strengthening our support base for the future. Our new logo above was designed by Studio 123 – a talented design firm that is making its mark in the Sudbury area.
The capacity building grant is part of MEC’s larger Community Contributions initiative. Through Capacity Building grants ranging from $5,000 to $35,000, MEC supports grassroots conservation organizations and activity-based organizations by providing funding that will help strengthen their effectiveness. MEC’s Community Contributions program helps keep space for adventure by conserving ecologically and recreationally important places, and by inspiring and enabling Canadians to be active outside. As a member of 1% For The Planet, MEC invests one percent of its annual revenue to environmental causes.
A big thank you to MEC for this important grant!
ORA would also like to thank Marcus Clement for the great logo he created for us back in 2011. It served us very well for our first three years of operation! Thank you Marcus!
Everything is connected!
You can also check out a full-length documentary produced by PBS entitled “In the Valley of the Wolves” by clicking here.
posted November 12, 2013
by Thomas O’Keefe
California was accepting comments on whether or not it made sense to import dirty hydropower from Canada to meet renewable energy standards. Comments were specifically being called for on the draft report entitled “Including British Columbia run-of-river facilities in the California Renewables Portfolio Standards,” that included a March 2013 Consultant Report entitled “Analysis of regulatory requirements for including British Columbia run-of-river facilities in the California Renewables Portfolio Standards.” The prospects of importing British Columbia’s dirtiest hydropower to California are very dim, but the state was soliciting public comment on the report. (Notice of Availability and Request for Comments).
posted January 21, 2014
by Megan Hooker
On January 15th, 2014, the California Energy Commission adopted a final report that reaffirms the integrity of the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) regarding imported hydropower. After 5 years of hard work, American Whitewater and our partners in the California Hydropower Reform Coalition (CHRC) and river advocates in British Columbia are celebrating this important victory, which will have a reaching impact on rivers across the border.
What do rivers in B.C. have to do with California’s RPS? In 2011, the state legislature passed the California Renewable Energy Resources Act (Senate Bill X1 2), increasing the state’s RPS goal from 20% to 33% by 2020. In a rush to capitalize on this new standard in the years leading up to the bill’s passage, hydropower developers in B.C. and utilities in California pushed the idea of allowing new hydropower development in B.C. to be considered as renewable.
Preston Manning Argues Conservatives Should Support Carbon Pricing – CBC – The Current
An excellent CBC interview on “The Current” – Preston Manning talks about California rejecting of BC hydroelectric projects. He refers to hydroelectric with reservoirs as “dirty hydro” because of the methane that is produced by reservoirs – which is much more worse for our climate than carbon dioxide. He says there should be a price on power sources that damage the environment. Check out his interview here.
Excerpt: “Our intention in commenting on these bulletins is to help ensure that waterpower projects developed under the LRIA are not approved until the effects on the environment and aquatic ecosystems are fully identified, understood, and effectively mitigated. It is also vital that the public has a mandated role and a voice in these processes.
It is also disturbing that the MNR is considering all responsibility for fish habitat and fish passage as out of scope, and is divesting its interests by way of these bulletins, with no clear MNR role mentioned, to the Department of Oceans and Fisheries (DFO). This is at a time when the federal government has just announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the DFO and the National Energy Board (NEB) to relinquish much of its oversight of fish habitat along pipeline corridors. This news was quietly released just before Christmas, and only highlights the need for the Ontario government to look after its own interests and not rely on federal protection for any of our crown resources. Unfortunately many elements of these bulletins do the very opposite. It is even more disturbing that this deferral was carried out despite the Fish Habitat Compliance and Referral Protocols for Ontario which was approved by government and identifies and enables roles for MNR in the matters of fish habitat and fish passage.
The exercise of reviewing these technical bulletins has been very disturbing to say the least. It is as though the bulletins were written by the waterpower industry instead of MNR. This series of bulletins reflect an abdication of the MNRs responsibilities under the Lakes and Rivers Improvement Act (LRIA).
It is ORA’s view that this government must continue to play a strong role in ensuring effective mitigation of the impacts of development to meet their strategic directions for sustainable development; and certainly that will be what Ontario taxpayers expect. It is vital that these bulletins reflect a commitment for inter-governmental cooperation, in a holistic and collaborative way, to ensure there are no gaps in fulfilling all responsibilities and commitments legislated under LRIA.”
“American Eels were once abundant in the upper St. Lawrence River, Ottawa River, Lake Ontario, and their tributaries, and in fact were so plentiful that they were an invaluable source of sustenance to First Nation communities and early European settlers, and more recently supported thriving commercial and sports fisheries. This all changed with the advent of a multitude of hydroelectric dams constructed within the historic range of the species.
Key to the American Eel’s survival and recovery is its ability to migrate to its spawning area in the Sargasso Sea, near Bermuda. This is a perilous journey that only a very small percentage ever complete due to the cumulative effects of the numerous hydroelectric facilities that have killed, maimed, and cut off migration to their spawning area. Consequently their once thriving populations have been reduced to a mere one percent of their original numbers.” Continue reading